It is only after these past ten years spent in recovery, rebuilding, and training to assist other victims that I am finally able to share my story. The fact that my mother and stepfather encouraged, allowed, and actually invited groups of grown men to come into our home for late night parties with their young developing child, whom they had trained to tolerate such ugly acts; it is still a troubling part of my history. In truth, I had to accept the complete disregard I suffered throughout twelve long years of repeated molestations, beatings, rape, physically scarring neglect, and at the age of eleven my stepfather commonly sold or traded me out for sick pleasure or the price of a couple of beers.
This all sounds extreme, and you may not want to believe it all, however back then, it was all a ‘normal’ process for me and something my mother and stepfather did on a regular basis. How was I supposed to know I had any other value as a human being or that I could refuse what was forced on me by the parents who had all the control of my very survival?
When I speak today, I use my voice to raise the dark curtain about how our parents, who are protected by their given parental rights, insist we endure deviant acts. Remember, a child has no voice that others respect; this was true back in the 1970s and sadly yet an ordinary way we teach our children through family secrets and tolerance today.
My mother’s permission led to the sacrifice of me, her middle child, to this monster for his use. His use, however, whenever and wherever he wanted. She ignored me, her own daughter and as he took over control of my life; she chose to treat me as less than human. Our family had the best health insurance back then, but yet the only time I ever saw a doctor was to put me on birth control at the age of fifteen. She allowed the community, who knew me so well, watch as he began to take me to bars. Eventually, this started the collecting of a few dollars from every adult man who wanted to come to our house for their late-night-entertainment. These men were allowed to get me high, feed me alcohol until I could hardly walk, and then traded me from lap to lap as they probed and used the child who should have been sleeping for school the next morning. He took me out to tugboat parties with the workers he met at his common bar stop where my mother worked. My parents took me on their private dates and looked for adult men who wanted entertainment by a child who was then, just twelve years old. My stepfather repeatedly through parties at our house where schoolmates were invited for marijuana and alcohol, then as always, I was the prize & entertainment. Some of these nights included me giving everyone oral sex or allowing them to take me into my own bed. The price of refusal was a beating or his own sadistic acts as I lay in fear each night. I still have nightmares today. Nightmares about these parties, especially when it was more than one single person at a time, but I have learned through research & therapy my stepfather was a sociopath and my mother a narcissist; neither of whom could care less about what they did to this one middle child.
The school personnel of Freeburg, the law enforcement, family friends, and even schoolmates were lured into his dark circle of trafficking his stepdaughter; they all knew who I was and who my parents were, yet not a single person ever questioned my care. There was many who avoided any physical contact with me, a child, whose skin covered with ugly puss filled sores, which left me today with deep pitted ugly scars. They said nothing about the rotting, broken black fangs, hanging in my mouth, which should have been my young beautiful smile. They saw vicious bruises, witnessed beatings in the street. or heard the screams from my house as he beat me for the slightest infraction or late response to answer the ring of that little brass bell. These signs of extreme abuse and evil against me, the blue-eyed little girl, growing up in the middle of this family. Yet, not a single person felt I was worth saving or heard my silent screams for rescue.
The reason I am sending this out now is because I have done a lot of work in my recovery but, unfortunately, the trafficking has been the most difficult part of healing. This dark training of permitting multiples of men & boys to use and probe the child I was, it all created a lifelong pattern of extreme violence and degradation from boyfriends & husbands. I endured more than thirty years of severe physical battery, which almost ended in death. Through these vicious relationships, I was threatened with weapons, an attempted drowning, strangulation, concussions, broken ribs, broken collar bones, and constant fear. The impact of living in these types of relationships eventually left its own twisted pain and fear in my children’s lives. It wasn’t until my oldest child was fourteen years old that I finally found the courage to fight for my life and to give my children the safety of a loving home that they deserved. They spent their young years watching and hiding while I was beat beyond recognition. They heard repeatedly how ugly, stupid, and useless I was. Today my children still see a lot of the same horrible things in this woman who loves them more than they possibly know. I have watched as the evil inflicted against the little girl I used to be, now invades the lives of my children and leaves them suffering their own dysfunctional relationships. It is now in trying to parent their children and develop safe, and healthy lives that they are repeating some of those same behaviors which had become so normal for them.
Above I have attached a photo of myself along with a picture of the memoir I published back in 2011, sharing my voice for the very first time and explaining to my children why their world disrupted by the repeated vicious attacks and disregard of just one human life. The story “My Justice,” is the true account of what happened in the protective window of the family. It is a written apology to my children for how the trained acceptance of these crimes was such a huge part of my life and indeed it was my life. There was never any person who made me feel I was worthy of being rescued or that anything being done to that child was wrong. As a result of what became so ‘normal’ in my behaviors continues to cycle through, and now my grandchildren’s lives are still being impacted by the behaviors which become engrained in our being.
In my healing, I have become a strong advocate for those crimes which exist within our homes and our family unit. Along with a team of volunteers & incredible voices on our Board of Directors, we have built a not-for-profit, self-supported, organization which focuses on providing hope, help, & healing for victims, survivors and families while educating community resources about these atrocities and how we can prevent this continued cycle of evil. You will find our blog talk radio network, Butterfly Dreams Talk Radio, which is our community outreach education & awareness to empower other survivors to speak up. Also, to help educate the adults in our communities to remain vigilant and take the initiative to prevent these acts of harm so commonly overlooked. Our society can no longer trade out our children for drugs, food, beer or the sick pleasure of deviant thoughts. These are people’s souls we are destroying when the community of family, friends, teachers, and others blame and condemn the child victim rather than protecting them. Or, when these same people see them less than worthy of help rather than reporting to the proper authority, we are partly responsible for the destruction of who that person should grow up to become.
Today we are a new generation in charge, and we know just how dark the dangers inside our homes can become. We have study after study about the many emotional disorders left on the child victim. Most often the adults who grow up inside this pattern of life cannot seem to escape and continue to live in the aftermath of Complex P.T.S.D, Depression, Anxiety, and extreme personality disorders. The required treatments and medications, which usually aren’t affordable by the survivor become the burden and responsibility of our society. The Center for Disease & Control estimates these costs to be approximately $124 BILLION in the lifetime recovery cost of a survivor today.
Please review the report on Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery, which is the research from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data Systems, (NCANDS). This report, along with the allowance announced by Congress, (For every-one report made about child maltreatment & sexual harm, there are at least three others that are not reported.) The balance of this report proves that at least 1 in 3 children are being forced to endure the brutal acts in heavy silence and keep the family secrets every single day in the U.S. alone.
Now is the time our children need us to hear their voices more than ever before. We have generations of dysfunctional parents wounded by these vicious, ugly acts, so when will it be enough that we finally begin a true and active prevention within every family circle, every community school, every law enforcement training, and definitely throughout our entire medical provider services. We must begin to spot the silent children who endure every single day in the terror of their parents or other close family members. This support and strategic planning of protection for all children will only be possible when we stand strong as a united human society, making a choice today to teach values in every person and empower every child to believe they deserve safety, love, happiness and that we will end the acceptance of these violent crimes within our very homes.
I do hope you will check out the website and organization of Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery to find out more about my story and the stories of many others like myself. You will find a campaign we are leading to create your own ‘Family Defender.’ It is with a prayer that you will hear my voice and help the many developing grass-root sources provide an understanding of just how common it is for those in our home to be the most dangerous to a child. Together, with the support of many incredible people, today I am proud of who I am, and I am learning to see just how important my survival and healing has been. This is the path so that I could encourage others to be the ones to help end the cycle of harm we have been teaching through silence and tolerance within our homes.
Thank you for any time or consideration you have given here in what I’ve shared. You can contact me personally by emailing, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org . You will find links below for the organization of Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery & Butterfly Dreams Talk Radio. I am begging every single person who reads this to please visit the link at the bottom of our homepage and take the pledge today to become your own ‘FAMILY DEFENDER.’ Spread the message through telling your own survivor story or by sharing the truth of how dark the evil can become inside this man-made hell for children. We cannot allow these ongoing crimes of human destruction. Please stand strong, be proud, and be a voice in ending the repeated generational teaching of silence and tolerance within our family unit. We have a duty today, the knowledge, the studies, the many thousands of adult survivors who share the horror they endured. How many more human beings will we permit to be used, sold, traded out, and forced into a life-long pattern of self-destruction. Please pass this on and help our society understand
1. What they can do to prevent these crimes,
2. How every living human being deserves to be happy,
3. Know the feeling of love
4. Most of all sleep in safety without fear of the hand covering their mouth and taking away their most powerful protection, the power of their own voice.
Together we are empowering our society to defend our children, connecting hearts & holding hands of help around the world.
Patricia ‘Trish’ McKnight
Owner/CEO: Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery & Talk Radio Programming
Author: ‘My Justice’
Advocate/Keynote Speaker/Radio Host/’Steps to Recovery’ Trainer/Survivor
Crisis Support & Mentor
Artwork by www.michalmadisonart.com
Artwork by www.michalmadisonart.com