Believe it or not it could happen to you too!
I knew this time would come sooner than later. (deep breath) For almost two years I have tried my best to continue life with a smile on my face…joking and laughing all while masking the hurt and pain caused by someone who we trusted.
This is my daughter, my life and reason for living: Miss Olivia a.k.a. “Mini Me” at 1 yrs old. with a fake movie star birthmark above her lip. 🙂
Before I continue, I will say this: Olivia is a brave, smart, sassy and remarkable young woman!
Before you judge or wonder why would she bring such a personal and private yet devastating experience out into such a public forum…Think about where we are in this day and age. Technology, although annoying at times, is our best means of mass communication. It is about “HEALING!” Sharing your life’s experience in the efforts to help others learn from it. This is her choice for her healing process and I will always back my daughter in any decision she makes!
Please see her blog post before reading below: “It’s not a bad word” at Rants & Raves of a Teenage Soul.
Three Core Values: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do has been engraved in my head from day one as an Air Force member of almost 16 years. My job, ironically involves investigating federal level crimes like child pornography. Prior to Olivia’s counselor disclosing the life altering news, I often wondered why was I put on earth. What was my purpose? I feel I am a pretty decent investigator and interviewer. I know I am damn good with people. My compassion and ability to deal with pain and suffering is unmatched. God has blessed me with the gift of strength, understanding, empathy and getting people to a calmer place to disclose the reasoning behind their actions or express the hurt and sometimes happiness they have experienced. He also has blessed me with the ability to build or rebuild confidence through make-up artistry.
But, how do you heal a child who’s innocence was ripped from her soul? Especially from a sick, pathetic, and poor excuse for a human being her own (female cousin) family member. How do I get my baby girl back? I DO NOT! I CANNOT!
While I was away, protecting our freedom and US dignitaries, I believed Olivia was safe and cared for. Instead, she was misled, abused, and molested! Unfortunately, now, I pick up the pieces…alone, scared, worried and continue to pray that God gives me the strength to keep her motivated.
She is so intelligent! An honor roll student all her life. She is so independent and I am grateful for her creativeness and the enthusiasm she shares about her future with NYU! Her courage brings me to tears but strengthens me at the same time!
Above photo: Olivia and her Uncle (my baby brother) John in Puerto Rico with my Grandma in 2011.
Well, we continue onward and upward! I tried everything but the West Virginia legal system would not prosecute because of their laws. Trust me, if I could, the “Child Molesting Perpetuator” would be in jail for life! For now… I wait… watch… and help others learn from us. I continue my investigative and beauty passions and hope to help others heal, learn, and share.
Resources are available at: http://www.childmolestationprevention.org
What are the first three facts you can tell others?
Fact one: Today, 95 percent of child molestation can be prevented. We have the knowledge to stop it.
Fact two: Today, living in the United States, there are 39 million adults who have survived child sexual abuse.
Fact three: Today, more than three million Americans are victims. Most of them are children struggling alone, believing there is no adult who can help them. To help prevent child molestation from happening to the children closest to you, begin by telling others the basic facts. We Start By Speaking The Same Language!!
If we’re going to work together to stop child sexual abuse, we have to speak the same language. We have to mean the same thing when we say “child molester,” “child molestation,” and even “child.”
Moreover, all of us have to understand the basic facts: What exactly is child molestation? How many of our children are sexually abused? How seriously are they damaged? What are the characteristics of a child molester? What causes someone to sexually abuse a child? Which of our children are most at risk?
A child molester is any older child or adult who touches a child for his or her own sexual gratification.
Child molestation is the act of sexually touching a child.
A child is a girl or boy who is 13 years of age or younger.
What’s the age difference between a molester and a child? It is five years, so a 14-year-old “older child” sexually touching a nine-year-old is an example. This is the accepted medical definition.
Sometimes, a professional will consider that a molestation act has occurred when the older child is only three years older – a sixth-grader with a third-grader, for instance. The crucial element here is the lack of equality between the two children; the sixth grader is clearly bigger, more powerful, and more “adult-like” than the third-grader.
We avoid definitions that are ambiguous by sticking to the medical definition. We define “child molester” as an adult or child, who is at least five years older than the child he or she has molested.
If we’re going to protect our children from sexual abuse, all of us have to understand exactly what we mean by the act of sexual abuse. Why? Because one of the greatest obstacles we face is people’s fear of the facts about child molestation. Hugging is not molesting. A sexual touch is when an adult fondles the child’s chest, buttocks, or genitals with the direct purpose of sexually exciting himself/herself or the child.
Resources are available at: http://www.americanhumane.org
Touching sexual offenses include:
- Making a child touch an adult’s sexual organs; and
- Penetrating a child’s vagina or anus no matter how slight with a penis or any object that doesn’t have a valid medical purpose.
Non-touching sexual offenses include:
- Engaging in indecent exposure or exhibitionism;
- Exposing children to pornographic material;
- Deliberately exposing a child to the act of sexual intercourse; and
- Masturbating in front of a child.
Sexual exploitation can include:
- Engaging a child or soliciting a child for the purposes of prostitution; and
- Using a child to film, photograph or model pornography.
What Are the Effects of Child Sexual Abuse?
The effects of sexual abuse extend far beyond childhood. Sexual abuse robs children of their childhood and creates a loss of trust, feelings of guilt and self-abusive behavior. It can lead to antisocial behavior, depression, identity confusion, loss of selfesteem and other serious emotional problems. It can also lead to difficulty with intimate relationships later in life. The sexual victimization of children is ethically and morally wrong.
What Should You Look for If You Suspect Sexual Abuse?
Children who are sexually abused may exhibit behavioral changes, based on their age.
Children up to age 3 may exhibit:
- Fear or excessive crying
- Feeding problems
- Bowel problems
- Sleep disturbances
- Failure to thrive
Children ages 2 to 9 may exhibit:
- Fear of particular people, places or activities
- Regression to earlier behaviors such as bed wetting or stranger anxiety
- Victimization of others
- Excessive masturbation
- Feelings of shame or guilt
- Nightmares or sleep disturbances
- Withdrawal from family or friends
- Fear of attack recurring
- Eating disturbances
Symptoms of sexual abuse in older children and adolescents include:
- Nightmares or sleep disturbances
- Poor school performance
- Substance abuse
- Running away from home
- Fear of attack recurring
- Eating disturbances
- Early pregnancy or marriage
- Suicidal gestures
- Anger about being forced into situation beyond one’s control
- Pseudo-mature behaviors
What Can You Do?
Protect your children. Teach your children what appropriate sexual behavior is and when to say “no” if someone tries to touch sexual parts of their bodies or touch them in any way that makes them feel uncomfortable. Also, observe your children when they interact with others to see if they are hesitant or particularly uncomfortable around certain adults. It is critical to provide adequate supervision for your children and only leave them in the care of individuals whom you deem safe.
Support child abuse victims. Children need to know that they can speak openly to a trusted adult and that they will be believed. Children who are victims of sexual abuse should always be reassured that they are not responsible for what has happened to them. Offer encouragement for victims by supporting organizations that help victims of incest or by simply reassuring victims of sexual abuse that they should not feel shame or guilt. It is important to understand that troubled families can be helped and that everyone can play a part in the process.
Teach others about child abuse. Help make others aware of sexual abuse by arranging for knowledgeable guest speakers to present to your organizations or groups. Encourage your local school board to establish programs to educate both teachers and students about the problem.
Report, report, report. If you suspect sexual abuse and believe a child to be in imminent danger, report it to the local child protective services agency (often called “social services” or “human services”) in your county or state. Professionals who work with children are required by law to report reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect. Furthermore, in 20 states, citizens who suspect abuse or neglect are required to report it. “Reasonable suspicion” based on objective evidence, which could be firsthand observation or statements made by a parent or child, is all that is needed to report. Remember that you may be the only person in a position to help a child who is being sexually abused.
Please do not hesitate to message us! We are here too! Please protect your children! Law Enforcement is working as hard and as fast as we possibly can!
Other resources available at The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children!
XOXO God Bless,