Sunday, October 16, 2016

Your words matter!

I hate politics. Usually I completely ignore what everyone has to say about the issues and candidates, research for myself, and then vote. This election cycle has been brutal. I honestly don't care who you vote for, but please read the following before you spew stuff all over Facebook or any other form of social media.

Your words matter! Please think before you post. Trump's words were not "locker room banter" they described assault. They were incredibly triggering for so many people who have been victims of sexual assault. I have many friends who are amazing people who would never knowingly hurt someone and their posts have demeaned those who would be offended and belittled some of the most courageous people I know, survivors. Friends, THIS IS RAPE CULTURE. When we make light of sexual assault, even if it just the description, we are part of the problem. When we claim someone who would say such things is a moral person and defend them, we are part of the problem. When we compare this person's morality with that of another, we are part of the problem. Rape is a serious issue in our culture. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience sexual assault before they turn 18. Reality is you probably know several victims of this horrible crime without even realizing it.

Many victims never tell what happened to them. I probably never would have told if the police hadn't called me 13 years after the fact. Please understand that victims feel ashamed and don't want that shame publicly broadcast so they often never tell until years later, if ever. Please don't discount someone's story just because they waited years to tell.

Please understand that this is not a Trump bashing post. This is my heart to help protect those that are not only being hurt by his words and actions, but also the words and actions of many who seek to defend him. There is no defense for assault, or even joking about assault. It isn't "locker room banter", it is wrong and it is hurting many people.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

When Mother's Day Hurts...

I HATE Mother's Day. There, I said it. I have hated it for years. I go through the motions and act like everything is great for my children, but deep down I hate it.

For years a HUGE part of my heart was missing because I didn't have contact with my oldest daughter. I'm so grateful to be able to have her back in my life! I will admit that this was part of why I disliked Mother's Day, but it was only a very small portion.

Here's the real conundrum for me. My own mother. I love her deeply, and have done what I can to love and protect her. Yet it seems she doesn't return that love. One of the 10 commandments in the Bible is to honor your father and mother. My big question is HOW? How do you show honor to someone who has disowned you because of your stand to protect your children? How do you show honor to someone who stands by the person who brutally abused you as a child? How do you show honor to someone who wants no part in your life?

So for me, Mother's Day is brutal. I love and cherish my children and am beyond grateful for them, but there is still a big hole that may never be filled.  I guess what I need to do is focus on being the best mother I can be for my children. I hope and pray that God will help me be the best mother I can for my own children, and that my children will never have a reason to question my love for them.

This week I will be striving to remember that God can be and is both a mother and father to the parentless. I'm meditating on Psalm 27:10 "When my father and mother forsake me the Lord will take me in". God has always been faithful and I know He will continue to be through the tough days!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

PLEASE inform yourselves!

I got into a very heated discussion with someone this week and in the end we had to agree to disagree. The discussion was about sex offenders and keeping our children safe from them, an issue that I am passionate about! It has been 4 days since this conversation, but I'm still fired up about it.

The part of the discussion that was the most frustrating for me was when this person claimed that I was not leaving room for God's power to change a person if I would never again trust someone who was a child sex offender. This website on pg 16 quotes an offender and shows why it is so important not to easily trust: “I considered church people easy to fool…they have a trust that comes from being Christians…they seem to want to believe in the good that exists in all people…I think they want to believe in people. And because of that, you can easily convince, with or without convincing words” (Anna Salter, Predators, p 29). (I would recommend that you read the entire talk because it is very informative) My belief is that if an offender has truly changed then they will understand that for the rest of their life there will be consequences for their past actions. Some of those consequences should be safeguards being set up so that they don't have contact with children. That is for everyone's safety! If you have hurt a child in this way you have NO business ever being allowed (or wanting to be) near children again.

Part of our discussion involved the grooming process. This is such a misunderstood concept! The process that a sex offender goes through to groom a child can be very subtle! It can be as simple as giving a child special privileges, showing favoritism, finding common interests with the child, or buying them simple gifts. This website gives even more behaviors that sex offenders use to groom potential victims. Basically they get the child and even you as the parent to trust them so that they can have access to your child.

I implore you if you have children to please be vigilant!  Protect your children at all costs, and PLEASE DO NOT TRUST a sex offender (or allow them to be near your child) just because they tell you that they have "converted or been changed by God". I can't even begin to tell you just how easy this is for people to fake. Please educate yourself about the dangers of these offenders and how to protect your children! Our children are FAR too precious for us not to do all in our power to protect them!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Broken System part 2

There are 3 things I think need to be noted about my recent experiences with our broken justice system. I'm convinced that I need to speak out because if this happened to me it is inevitably happening to others. These are things that absolutely NEED to change!

First, our system needs truth in sentencing. For criminals, especially those that are violent or sexual offenders to be able to get out of jail after only having served 2/3 of their sentence is completely unacceptable. My abuser got out of jail on "good behavior". He is a child sex offender, there are no children in prison, of course he could have good behavior. It is ludicrous for any violent offender to receive that large of an amount off their sentence.

Second, victims MUST be notified when their offenders are going to be released. It is traumatizing for victims to know that those who have inflicted so much harm upon them are out of prison, it is even much more so when there is no notice that it is going to happen. Victims need time to mentally prepare and put safeguards in place before their abuser is free.

Third, my perpetrator is finally on the sex offender registry, but it took a solid week AFTER he was released for this to happen. I wonder if it happened that quickly because I caused a stink when I found out. This is completely unacceptable! Sex offenders should not take one step out of jail until their name and picture is on that list! The sex offender registry was created to help protect innocent people from these monsters that so often do NOT change. If it takes a week or more to get them on the list they have no accountability during this time.

I wish I knew how to make my voice on these matters heard by someone who could make a difference. I would love to see our laws changed so that victims are protected in these ways. Going through the trauma of prosecuting your abuser is hard enough without having to wonder if it was really worth it when all is said and done.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Broken Justice System

This weekend I learned through the grapevine that one of my abusers was let out of jail significantly before they were supposed to be let out. Unfortunately, the justice system once again failed to notify me like they are supposed to. Time and again throughout this hard process information that I should have found out from the prosecutor's office or the victim's advocate within that office has been told to me by the media or through the grapevine. This is NOT ok.

Our justice system is woefully broken. This is the reason that so many victims aren't willing to go through the extreme trauma that comes with prosecuting their abusers. It simply often isn't worth the price that the victims pay.

After finding out that this criminal was let out of jail after just 8 months I attempted to do some research. As of the publishing of this blog post he is not listed either on the NH prison database or on the sex offender registry. WHY????? I do happen to know that he had been listed on the sex offender registry BEFORE this conviction. Our justice system is failing not only me by this move, but also other potential victims.

We NEED harsher laws in this country. We need to be protecting our children. They are our future! If we do not protect them from these predators who will? We need to speak out and do whatever we can to demand harsher penalties for these criminals who so often re-offend.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What matters most

There are many times I question my abilities as a mother, and feel like I fall so very short. My kids are overall pretty good kids, but they fight like crazy. They often whine when asked to do something, and aren't afraid to voice their opinion and question me. I think that allowing our children to ask questions is important so we can teach them the why behind what we say. I don't want robots, but at times I feel like a failure because of how disrespectful they come across. (For the record I do think that learning appropriate tone is a process.)

As I was sitting back and contemplating my mothering skills (or lack thereof), I began to think of what the most important things I would have wanted from or remember about my own mother now that I'm an adult. There were 3 things that stuck out to me in my contemplation...

1. Time ~ I wish my mother had spent more time with me. In the end I didn't care so much about gifts and stuff, but I really wish she had spent more quality time with me. 

2. Support and Belief.~ I wish that when I was a child my mother would have believed me and supported me not only in the big things, but also in the day to day stuff of life.

3. Putting your Child's needs and safety above your own comfort. ~ There are so many times that I wish my mother had loved us enough to protect us from the monster that hurt us so badly rather than thinking of her own desires. 

As I sit back and look at the things that I would have valued most and what I felt that I needed as a child it changes my perspective of how I'm doing as a mother. I am not perfect, and have a very long way to go, but I know my children are loved, valued, supported, believed, and I would do anything I could to protect them. We make it a point to take both family time and time with the kids by themselves so they know we want to be with them. I hope these things mean as much to my children as they would have to me. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Encouragement for Abuse Survivors

Recent news stories have brought back into light the problem of sexual abuse, and how it often happens right within a home. So much has already been written about the Duggars, and I don't want to rehash it. What I would like to do is to is to encourage not only the Duggar girls (if they ever read this) and any others who have gone through the trauma of sexual abuse.

First, if you are a victim please know that the abuse was NEVER your fault! The guilt and the shame belong to the abuser alone! Your scars do not make you damaged, or less of a person.

Second, healing takes time. Please don't be afraid to get counseling! A good licensed therapist can help you work through the vast emotions that come with being abused. Don't lose hope!

Third, forgiveness does not equal reconciliation. Forgiveness is for you as the person who was hurt, not for the offender. Forgiveness does not negate consequences, nor does it mean you ever have to trust the person who hurt you.

Lastly, please know you are not alone! Know that there are people who understand what you are walking through, and they care. If you are struggling please reach out for help!

There is so much more I could say, but I will keep this short. I know there are a myriad of emotions and struggles that come from being hurt by those who you should be able to trust. When you see a glimmer of hope hold on to it and don't let it go!