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December 2012



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A message from the Founder Thomas Paine said on December 23 1776 “THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my children may have peace.� There is a war raging, men and women who hold Absolute power over those in their care are exercising such power unjustly and cruelly by blatantly abusing their victims for years, months, days or even for one night today I stand with Thomas Jefferson when he said "I have sworn . . . eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man". Many persons do not look at abuse as a tyrannical act but it is. As the year is quickly coming to a close many are getting ready to make those New Year’s resolutions, I stopped making resolutions for the New Year many years ago for they are like ropes of sand. The past months have not been easy however they have been worth it, they have been trying months however they have built and shaped my character, they have been months of anxiety but they have also taught me patience, they have been months of bitterness but they have also thought me love, the past months have been months of separation but they have also taught me togetherness, restoration, and reconciliation. There were days when I considered throwing in the towel and packing it all up but then I remembered that poor nameless child who is being victimized and abused and pain of silence is eating away at the heart and soul of that child like a cankerworm. 6

Even with all the setbacks and disappointments both in my personal life and with the organization, with all the tears I have cried and the disbelief of acknowledging how cruel and hateful people can be and become, something or someone kept pushing me to continue, pushing me to advocate for the victims of abuse and today I know that the something is faith and the someone is The Creator. Closing up shop was not an option it may have been a thought a thought which was never realized for when I reflected on that wife who has to walk on egg shells around her husband not knowing when she would receive another blow which would send her to the emergency room. I reflected on that young man who is ashamed to speak of his abuse because society has taught him that if he speaks of such things then he is less than a man and weak, if I were to throw in the towel then I could not live with my conscience. “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant” There is a bitter cup of persecution, trial, hate, deceit, envy, jealousy, lies, character assassination, and faultfinding which each advocate has to drink from the ingredients within this cup is bitter to taste, and bitter in the stomach yet we have to drink it down without murmuring and complaining, and while we drink with tears and brokenness of heart many times we wonder and ask ourselves. Where is God in all this? However we are made strong by the bitterness of the cup and we are thankful for the experiences which has allowed us to see the character traits of others, such traits we would never emulate but it has also made us pity and feel sorry for those who only find joy and peace in tearing down others because of envy and fear and their own shallowness. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King, Jr.7

During the past months many of us can be thankful for family, for reconciliations, restoration, and repairing the breach which was broken. We were thankful for friends who stood with us and those who left our side, thankful for new friends who encouraged us to continue for they see the blessings beyond the horizons. It is said that the pioneers gets the most licks, I remember telling a close friend if this is true “I would prefer not to be a pioneer” she promptly reminded me that this is not my decision to make for destiny has already chartered my course, and no one else can travel or endure my journey. O.A.B.I. continues to move forward we will not shun the war for with the victory of each battle we are that much closer to winning the war not by ourselves for it is impossible to win this war alone, but as we continue to join forces with other advocates and organizations to move on and triumphantly win battle after battle. In June of 2008 what began as a simple personal campaign to bring awareness, education, and share resources has swelled into a Jordan and continues to rise. Despite the obstacles, setbacks, those who tried to discredit the organization it continues to flow and flourish because its foundation was set in truth and from a pure and noble place. “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” Martin Luther King, Jr. In the past months we have cried with many, and laughed with many, we have grieved with many on the passing of their loved ones and we have rejoiced with many at the birth of a loved one. We read and listened to inspiring stories of courage and hope. To all those who have connected with O.A.B.I over the months and years from the O.A.B.I team we say thank you from the heart and mind, to those who will connect with us in the near future we the door is always open. 8

Let us continue to encourage one another as we advocate, let us never forget our mission, vision, and purpose for if we forget or lose sight of them we would of lost sight of ourselves and also lost the battle. We have come too far to give up now, we have fought too hard to lose, and we have spoken too much to be silenced. “For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.� ― Elie Wiesel


Contributing Writers


Saeed Al-Hashil Angelica Harris Julie Federico

Sherna Alexander- Benjamin Natasha Bain And team

Dr. David Crenshaw Grace Constantine Denise Stephanie

On the Cover Dr. Maha Al-Muneef

Founder and Executive Director of the NFSP

Debbie Naylor Cox Healing Gods Men Erum Kamran Blair Corbet Ruth Jacobs XlondonCallGirl Stella Rhea Misa Leonessa

A Child hotline operator of the NFSP

Rachel Grant Jenny F Sherna AlexanderBenjamin


December What’s in THIS ISSUE A message from the Founder .............................................. 6 Saeed Al– Hashil ............................................................... 16

Featured story The National Family Safety Program NFSP ..................... 21

Article Life Wracked With Pain .......……….…….…………….. 48

Julie’s Corner Julie Federico and Ending Child Abuse……………….. 54

Article Robert Syslo ...........………..........................……………. 60

Priceless Advice from Dr. David A. Crenshaw “We

Forgot to Feed the Baby” .......................................... 86 11

Featured story Denise Stephanie .….…………………………………..... 96

Articles Trailing On The Blood Of Christ .......…………………. 128 Importance of Awareness .................................................134 The Emotionally Abused ......……………………….…...148

Featured story Breaking the Chains of Abuse; Ark of Hope for Children ................................................ 152

Articles In her own words...Interview with a London Call girl .... 162 Sex Work-There is no such thing .................................... 166 Freedom is Glorious ........................................................ 170 Second Chances .............................................................. 173 12

The Coach is in with Rachel Grant Believing Healing is Possible ......…………………...… 174

A Survivors Story My History of Domestic Violence ....................……….. 178

Dear S.B .................................... 194 O.A.B.I Voices

United Radio Network ..………...…….. 198

Rape Crisis Society Of Trinidad and Tobago .…...…….. 200 Magazine Volunteer Openings ...………...…….............. 201 Website: Radio Show: Contact us: Email: Send Articles to: Information: 13

Contact Mr. Kelvin Caraby 1.868.744.8681


Contact Mr. Kelvin Caraby 15



Saeed Al– Hashil Written by Sherna Alexander– Benjamin Robert Hall once said “A friend should be one in whose understanding and virtue we can equally confide, and whose opinion we can value at once for its justness and its sincerity” I believe when he spoke those words of wisdom he spoke of Saeed AlHashil. There are few persons who can speak of having a true friend and even writing this brings sadness to my heart for each of us need and deserve a true friend, for it is our human rights. Somehow I have been privileged to have some wonderful people come into my life I did not go looking or seeking and I value every moment I spend with them. There are some friends who you can share your life with and feel such comfort and ease that it marvels you, you can share all your joys, pains, sorrows, anxieties, distress, and aspirations. When you are in their company, you value every moment, you cherish every chat, Skype call, and communication. If someone had told me years ago that one of my closest friends and confidant would be a Muslim I would have asked them very politely but with expedient urgency “Are you insane?” I was taught by my religious scholars to keep Muslims at an arm’s length because their very nature was corrupt, they knew not the way of peace, and they will kill you in the blink of an eye. Such blatant ignorance was taught to me and I lapped it up and lived those teachings as I reflect, I can say many of my teachers said these things out of fear, fear of a people and fear to reach out to understand the people, and fear of receiving the knowledge that they may be wrong. Even while in school if I saw you get to that religious instruction class which was taught by Muslim’s I avoided you at all cost, while working if I knew you were a Muslim I just gave the courtesies of the day and held my corner. 17

I feared a people and did not even reach out to them all because of the ignorance and illiteracy which was handed down to me, I claimed to be a child of God while segregating and despising Gods own creation so during those times even my worship was a farce, and today I take this opportunity to publicly apologize for my ignorance, disrespect, and illiteracy to a people I never gave a fair chance to get to know. My eyes began to open when I saw that the “Christian” community had such hate, bitterness, disrespect, un-forgiveness, divisions, and verbal slaughter for each other while they would go into the synagogue and lift up “holy” hands and shout to the Lord while they hated their brother, despised their sister, sought not the path of reconciliation and healing and cherished wounds of the past like a golden vessel of priceless worth. I said to myself “if you speak against a people, then it is only logical, honest, and fitting that you by your example, actions, thought, and behaviour be better and supersede those whom you speak against” sadly most “Christian” organizations and groups have failed miserably and continue to fail. I would be foolish and completely blinded to negate the fact that there are elements of good and bad in every religious organization, there are extremist in every religious organization there are persons who do atrocious acts and these will be magnified in the public’s eye. Shall we paint everyone with the same brush because of the negative actions of a few? I THINK NOT. For if we do such we shall miss out on golden opportunities to get to know a beautiful people or person. Many of us have looked at, spoken of, and embraced the negative reports of the Muslim countries in the Middle East for so long that we can see no beauty in them and we believe that nothing good is happening in those countries. Today I beg to differ, no longer am I that fearful, ignorant, intolerant person for I have seen the good reports. I have heard the good things which 18

are happening, it is sad that many on the outside have closed their eyes so they cannot see the good which is taking place, and if they do see they would not acknowledge it because of fear, stigma, illiteracy, a painful experience, and bias. Saeed Al-Hashil is a young man with a passion and drive to make a change and be the change, he is determined to show the good and not focus on the negative. He is highly intelligent, educated, fair in judgement, and wise he is gentle and a perfectionist at the things which he is passionate about but most of all he is a devoted and cherished friend. His morals are very high and he is devoted to his family, a bit shy however he has raised the bar very high for a future bride and I tend to agree with him on this point and many others. So girls yes he is free, single, and available, now that is just by the way and might I add fun to be around and communicate with. Saeed Al-Hashil and I have been communicating for some time however he officially joined the OABI team a couple months ago and this has only increased our understanding, respect, communication, and support for the work which is so dear to our hearts and for each other. Not many times do I take delight in writing, but I write this brief introduction with great pleasure, I write about my ignorance with remorse, but I write about the future with hope and endless possibilities. I share with you the reader, Saeed Al-Hashil from Saudi Arabia as he writes to enlighten the world about the happenings inside the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I have a hope to see the good side, hear the good stories, and meet the good people of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East and not 19

only to hear, see, and meet but to document their richness of culture, morals, and progress to the world. Showing the world that good things and people can be found in the Middle East, and these good people are doing great and extraordinary things. I applaud the government of Saudi Arabia for working hard to raise the value of its people, to enlighten its people with justice, compassion, empowerment, and the implementation of laws and policies to protect the human rights of its citizens young and old. I applaud Saeed Al-Hashil for his boldness and compassion to take a stand to speak for his people and to share with the world that his people and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is far advanced and have been setting things in place to benefit and help heal the broken. I believe if we focus on the good even though we may have to highlight the bad , I firmly believe that we will find beauty and something if not many things to appreciate and cherish in the wonderful country and kingdom called Saudi Arabia. Evil exist this is true but let us begin to magnify the good so that the good will outshine the evil which so often take the forefront and lead. Let us look for endless possibilities in humanity by looking for the good. In closing let us all remember the following words “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.� ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey 20


Breaking Silence in The Kingdon How one organization is taking on abuse in Saudi Arabia; an interview with NFSP’s Dr. Maha Al-Muneef


I was harbouring a deep concern. Having spent the last four years in Saudi Arabia, I would often think about the various forms of abuse happening behind closed doors and whether in a conservative country, like Saudi Arabia, this is being tackled – for the open discussion of abuse is seen as a taboo subject here. Having grown up in England, I was fortunate to witness the various support groups, education programs and public discourse on the subject of abuse – this I suppose raised my expectations, I was seeking parallels to ease my anxiety. I recently decided to address these concerns and seek to understand the depth and range of abuse in Saudi Arabia. Early into my search, I was fortunate to discover the National Family Safety Program (NFSP). The NFSP is the leading organization in Saudi Arabia advocating against abuse. It also operates the Saudi Child Helpline Dr. Maha Al-Muneef is the Founder and Executive Director of the NFSP. She has established herself as one of Saudi Arabia’s leading advocates on the issue of domestic violence, abuse, and the empowerment of women. Her advocacy has supported the implementation of numerous policies and laws to support victims of abuse, and is a prime example of how Saudi women leaders are significantly contributing to the development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Dr. Al-Muneef was recently recognized in Forbes magazine as a ‘Woman Changing the World’, due to her contribution to public policy. She is also an advisor to the ‘Shura Council’, the consultative assembly of the Kingdom. Here, Dr. Al-Muneef shares with us key insights into the work the NFSP is doing, and addresses the leading challenges in combating abuse. *Saeed Al-Hashil, a recent NFSP volunteer arranged this interview. 23

Tell me about your position at the National Family Safety Program? And what is your mission statement? I am the Founder and Executive Director of the National Family Safety Program (NFSP), a semi-governmental organization based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that aims at establishing a safe, collaborative, and cooperative environment that resists domestic violence and child maltreatment, respecting the rights of individuals especially those who are most vulnerable such as women, children, the elderly and people with special needs. Our mission is to become a centre of excellence on family violence in Saudi Arabia by raising awareness, building capacity, and building partnerships with public and private agencies, and with international organizations, in addition to providing prevention programs and endeavour advocacy to foster a safe family environment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Who do you serve? The National Family Safety Program serves the Saudi community in general and families in particular through its several departments: Research, Community Service & Awareness, Prevention and Training, Public Relations & Media, Operations & Project Management, and the Saudi Child Helpline (SCHL). The NFSP serves children below 18 specifically through The Saudi Child Helpline, which is a toll free number that serves children, parents and care providers through telephone consultations on issues related to violence and abuse, psychological and mental health, family relations, school problems, sexual problems, child labour, child substance abuse and neglect. The SCHL also provides referrals to relevant national entities. Women also receive several awareness programs on empowerment and 24

domestic violence that are provided by well-trained professionals (social workers and psychologists) through lectures, workshops and group discussions. We also offer specialized training services to professionals in different fields such as courses on domestic violence and child abuse for health care providers, doctors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, counsellors, lawyers, criminal investigators, and law enforcement personnel. In addition, the Program initiates many national projects through collaboration with other governmental and non-governmental agencies in the country to protect and serve the victims of domestic violence, such as the annual experts’ meetings on domestic violence and child abuse which are organized by the NFSP and renewed annually in partnership with a different entity or ministry every year, such as the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Social Affairs to actively advance the domestic violence agenda. The partnership formed with the Ministry of Education takes the form of campaigns, special workshops and lectures presented to school teachers, counsellors, parents and children to promote awareness of child sexual abuse and bullying among other school problems. How can people access your support and services? The general public may access our services and communicate with the National Family Safety Program through the website, our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube), and through the phone (NFSP’s direct line and the Saudi Child Helpline). However, victims of abuse and maltreatment especially children and women may visit the Emergency Room at King Abdulaziz Medical City in National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA), that we are affiliated with, in urgent situations, or come to the clinic where the SCAN (Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect) Team; an interdisciplinary team of physicians, psychologists and social workers receive cases of abuse for evaluation and treatment. 25

The clinical team also provides referrals to outside entities such as Ministry of Social Affairs and charitable societies in addition to the police according to the procedures adopted. A follow-up program is also provided through the clinic. This service is copied in major hospitals throughout the regions of the country via the widely distributed Child Protection Centres (CPC). What are your goals for the NFSP? I could summarize NFSP goals as follows: 

Strengthen the role of Saudi Arabia in the humanitarian field by working on the national legislations and policies to end domestic violence and child abuse in Saudi Arabia. Prepare future strategies and national action plans to end domestic violence and child abuse based on scientific evidence obtained from social surveys and statistical studies conducted in all regions of the kingdom. Raise the level of awareness among the individuals and institutions regarding the cost and outcome of domestic violence and child abuse and their negative effects on society in the long term. Promote partnership and solidarity with the concerned government sectors, NGOs, and international organizations in order to unite efforts and organize joint national action, and at the same time to overcome obstacles and duplication in the objectives and performance. Prepare and implement prevention programs throughout the Kingdom in addition to counselling and referral services to children and their families. 26

Since the Inception of the NFSP, what have been the key findings and understanding of abuse in Saudi Arabia? Abuse and assault were not considered as real social issues in Saudi Arabia and still thought of as taboo subjects, however domestic violence exist and the problem should be addressed medically, socially, and legally. And just as child rights and safety are a concern in many countries around the world, Saudi Arabia is no different. Recent developments within the Kingdom have brought about programs that highlight the priority of promoting attention to domestic violence and child abuse and neglect. These efforts led to the establishment of the National Family Safety Program following a Royal Decree on November 18th 2005. According to statistics collected by the NFSP, the rates of child abuse and domestic violence within the Kingdom have increased multiple folds between 2005 and 2012. This does not necessarily indicate an increase in abuse or maltreatment attempts/rates yet probably an indication of increased awareness to report these injustices or abuse cases. Women are more aware of their rights and they are breaking the silence and professionals are recognizing abuse and reporting it to official agencies more effectively. Also of note, is the increase in the number of child protection centres in Saudi Arabia from only four centres in 2009 to 41 in 2012, which contributed to the rise in the rate of reported cases. Are there any other programs or agencies in Saudi Arabia advocating against abuse? Yes, there are other agencies and entities advocating against abuse in Saudi Arabia. The Ministry of Social Affairs is one of them, which has 19 social protection centres for families located in all provinces of the Kingdom. The Ministry of Health also initiated health-based Child Protection Centres (CPC) across the Kingdom. The Human Rights Commission and Society aims to protect human rights in Saudi Arabia and apply these rights based on Islamic Laws. 27

Also, there is the National Commission for Childhood and importantly, several charities providing community services and promoting and advocating for prevention of abuse and domestic violence all around the Kingdom. Do you work alongside any international agencies? I.e. International Justice Mission? Yes, we work closely and in conjunction with international agencies that have offices in Saudi Arabia such as UNICEF and AGFUND (The Arab Gulf Program for United Nations Development), in addition to other international organizations that we collaborated with such as ISPCAN, the Child Helpline International, the WHO, and the WWSF. For example we have been working with ISPCAN since 2006 in delivering training courses to professionals in various fields in order to build their capacities in the management of abuse cases. What major challenges does the Program face in achieving its goals? We are facing multiple challenges at family level, the community level, and the country at large. Some of the major challenges that anyone who works in the field of domestic violence will face, is first of all, the culture; while family violence in the country is a relatively new issue, it is also considered a taboo topic. Most people and especially victims of abuse are not willing to talk about it, thinking or/and believing that it is private to each family and not to be shared with others. There is also the notion that corporal punishment is considered parenting or disciplining rather than abuse. At community level, lack of awareness on parenting, women and children rights is a major challenge and it will take a while to change the perceptions regarding violence, rights and relationships. Furthermore, the access and the availability of community services for the victims are adding on the challenges, given the very large geographic area of the Kingdom. 28

At the country level, the fact that there are no specific laws governing children safety and family protection in the Kingdom forced us to follow the general laws and legislations and even when those exist, the rules and regulations for each law are not strictly followed or are not accurately implemented in consistent fair ways. The lack of data on incidents, risk factors, and consequences due to the limited number of studies pertaining to abuse and violence in Saudi Arabia is also considered a major challenge to the development of solutions or programs based on evidence. Another challenge we have faced at the NFSP is the duplication of roles with other organizations or agencies providing similar services and poor collaboration between these agencies. There is confusion regarding the specific services that each agency is providing.


What laws are there for the physical or sexual abuse of others, and do you believe more laws are required? Saudi society is based on the Islamic faith and adheres to the Holy Qur'an. It also follows the Sunnah, which are the documented practices and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad - Peace be upon him -. This governs a lot of human relations and related adjudications. There are other general laws and regulations in Saudi Arabia governing the issue of abuse such as criminal justice law, Informatics crimes laws, special needs laws etc. Furthermore, specific laws addressing physical and sexual abuse have been drafted and approved by the Shura Council; an Advisory Council to the King, and awaiting their introduction by the ministerial cabinet. These laws are: the Child Protection Act and the Protection from Violence and Abuse Act. There are also many regulations that address human rights such as the Social Services Regulations. Specific laws are definitely required and of equal importance is the commitment, implementation and follow through of these laws. To what extent can the NFSP help rescue individuals from abusive situations? And how does the NFSP support or rehabilitate victims of abuse? The NFSP does not provide direct rehabilitative services to victims of abuse. However, these victims are supported through counselling and immediate referrals to specialized channels and entities as well as through the follow up programs provided by the SCAN team in NGHA and the Saudi Child Helpline. We focus on prevention rather than protection especially given that immediate intervention is provided by the Ministry of Social Affairs, police, and hospitals. Our aim is to empower the governmental organizations and NGO’s to serve people by advocating best practice, initiating national projects, building capacities and providing human and technical resources. Therefore, we focus on partnerships and collaboration with all governmental agencies. 30

Are individuals aware of their rights and what is being done to promote and reinforce this? I would say that a lot of efforts are being made by the government of Saudi Arabia, and several non-profit organizations to promote and spread awareness about human rights in general and children and women rights in particular. A specific example might be child abuse. In Saudi Arabia, although the Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified 15 years ago, addressing the issue of child maltreatment has recently emerged, and legislation addressing the matter has recently been developed. However, I still think that society requires a lot of collaborative efforts to educate and raise the public’s awareness regarding their rights. Thus, various awareness campaigns and programs have been and are still being conducted by the NFSP. What can regular members of the public do to raise incidents or suspicions of abuse? Well, just like reporting of abuse cases is mandatory for healthcare providers, and school teachers, I believe that every individual is held responsible for raising any incidents or suspicions of abuse. This could be done through calling the Ministry of Social Affairs Hotline 1919 which covers all cities of Saudi Arabia and deals with cases of abuse for both women and children of all ages. They are also encouraged to call the Saudi Child Helpline (SCHL), 116111 which is also a toll free number provided by the National Family Safety Program and which receives the concerns of children and youth as well as the parents and caregivers where an abused case can be referred to proper channels and followed up to make sure services are provided appropriately. We encourage everyone to speak up. Silence is never golden in this case. 31

I was pleased to discover the various workshops the NFSP deliver to schools, as well as the books that delicately broach different forms of abuse and bullying. How important is the education and empowerment of children to the program? We at the program are firm believers that this group of individuals (children and the youth) requires a lot of attention and care. Lots of our publications focus on this group specifically to serve a very important objective of the program, which is to provide the children and youth with a healthy and safe environment that will positively reflect on their future. An example of NFSP’s initiatives to empower children and youth is the Amaan Youth Committee which is a group of young, vibrant, and enthusiastic male and female adolescents (ages 12-17) representing children’s and adolescents’ rights in Saudi Arabia. NFSP provides a training program for this group conducted on monthly basis to develop their basic skills such as: dialogue and communication, logical thinking, problem solving, execution of tasks, human relations and leadership skills. We also prepare and enable them to spread children’s and adolescents’ rights through empowering them to participate with NFSP staff in certain community activities and encourage them to be young agents of change in their own communities. Can you tell me more about the Child Helpline? The Child Helpline started operating in 2010. Since then, it has been receiving an average of 400 phone calls a day. Children complaints vary to include the following issues: abuse & violence, family relations, school problems, neglect, corporal abuse, peer relations and legal issues or queries. These issues are addressed by professional counsellors at the Child Helpline who are trained agents with social work & psychology backgrounds. They receive the call, listen, offer counselling and psychological and social support to children and/or their care providers then refer urgent cases 32

that require immediate intervention to appropriate channels such as: Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Interior and the Police. Agents also follow up the service delivery to the child to ensure that he or she has received the needed attention as quickly as possible. The line is still under trial period and at the beginning was operating 8 hours and now we moved to 12 hours with the aim to be 24 hour toll free service in early 2013. The line has been launched officially on November 20th 2012 (the child rights day). In the UK, Childline transcends its purpose as a call centre offering counselling and support services to children, it has become a champion of change as well as establishing major events to promote its services and engage children. Do you believe the Saudi Child Helpline can have a similar impact? We definitely hope so, yet we need to keep in mind the difference in timelines. UK Childline has been established earlier than the Saudi Child Helpline, which as I mentioned has only been inaugurated in 2010 with a few number of agents and only 8 working hours. Now, the SCHL working hours has been extended to 12 hours in preparation for 24 hours / 7 days a week in 2013. The Saudi Child Helpline is moving gradually, even in terms of services. Currently, the SCHL offers counselling, advice and proper referrals, In the future we hope for more. Do you feel the work the NFSP is doing dispels any misconceptions of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East at large? Domestic violence and child abuse & neglect are global problems that exist everywhere and Saudi Arabia is part of this world. Our efforts at NFSP aim at addressing abuse and domestic violence in Saudi socially, medically and legally this way we are serving our people and our country. 33


What are your thoughts of a Gulf or Pan Arab wide program? Most countries in the Arabian Gulf face situations of domestic violence and child abuse similar to our society’s i.e. the subject is newly addressed. We try to reach out to professionals and people who support the same cause and we have an e-mail group and a network that we share information with. However, there is no official program or society that links us together. On the Pan Arab wide program front, the Arab-ISPCAN society already exists. It was initiated in 2004 and since then has organized lots of Pan Arab conferences, which we at NFSP greatly support. The last conference for instance was conducted by NFSP in 2009 in Riyadh where more than 1600 delegates attended from all 22 Arab states and international agencies. Upon visiting the program, I noticed a high number of female employees, many of whom have completed higher education. Has that been an emphasis or strategy of yours? Well it is not a strategic objective. However, several factors contribute to the fact that most NFSP staff is female employees who hold university degrees. One of these factors is global; all over the world women stand for women and children more than men therefore we see females occupying positions related to human rights in general and women and children rights in specific. It also has to do with the Saudi culture; community tend to associate family safety with women and children. Finally, in five years from now, what would you like to say the NFSP has further achieved? I hope that NFSP shifts from protection to prevention and specifically establishes evidence-based prevention programs that cover all provinces and serve Saudis nationally. 35

I also hope that we continue on building capacity, increase awareness, and focus on women empowerment and the well-being of children. Family is and will continue to be our focus since it forms the nucleus of society that affects any country at large. For more information or queries, please use the below contact details Dr. Maha Al-Muneef Tele: (+966) (1) 804 00 22 Fax: (+966) (1) 801 11 11 Ext. 40103 E-Mail: NFSP Website: Facebook Group: National Family Safety Program Twitter: @NFSP1 LinkedIn: National Family Safety Program Saudi Child Helpline Tele: (+966) 116 111


Country statistics

Total Population: 27.1M Saudi Nationals: 18.7M (68.9% of total population) Foreign Residents: 8.4M (31.1% of total population 60% of population under 25 years of age Unemployment rate: 10.5% GDP Per Capita: $21,000 Saudi Gender Distribution: Male 51.1%/Female 49.9% Non-Saudi Gender Distribution: Male 70.4%/Female 29.6% Country Religion: Islam From Saudi Central Department of Statistics & Information, and other various sources 37

Child Abuse Statistics, Saudi Arabia Reported cases of child abuse by the National Family Safety Register (NFSR) between October, 2010 and February, 2012. Gender: 51.1% Males/ 48.9% Females Age Distribution: Less that 1 year 16.4%, 1-5 years 36.0%, 6-12 years 38.4%, 13-18 years 9.2% Types of abuse: Physical abuse 64.4%, Neglect 46.4%, Sexual abuse 22.0%, Emotional abuse 12.3%. The full report can be found at:



Human trafficking is modern-day slavery,

This publication was made possible in part through Grant Number 90XR0012/02 from the Anti-Traffickin 40 the responsibility of the authors and do not nec Human Services (HHS). Its contents are solely

Refugee Resettlement, or HHS.

and it’s happening right here in the United States.

National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) 1-888-3737-888 email: TOLL-FREE | 24 Hours/day, 7 Days/week

WHO ARE THE VICTIMS? Victims are forced to provide labor or commercial sex, and can be: • U.S. citizens or foreign nationals • Men, women, or children

WHERE DOES HUMAN TRAFFICKING HAPPEN? Human trafficking can happen in many situations, including in: • Commercial sex industry (street prostitution, strip clubs, massage parlours, escort services, brothels, internet) • Factories (industrial, garment, meat-packing) • Farms, landscaping, or construction • Peddling rings, begging rings, or magazine crews • Private homes (housekeepers, nannies, or servile marriages) • Restaurants, bars, and other service industries (nail or hair salons)

Call to report a potential case, get information or resources, request training or technical assistance, or receive referrals. FOR MORE INFORMATION:

ng in Persons Division, Office of Refugee Resettlement, U.S. Department of Health and

41 cessarily represent the official views of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, Office of








Life wracked with pain—four words I have grown to embrace and four words that set me free. The poem you will read at the end of this article was written last year. At that time, I was writing my memoir, Living With Rage - A Quest for Solace (Round Table Companies, 2011), my personal journey through domestic violence and sexual assault. This, however, was not the first book I wrote. Before this, I penned three historical fiction novels about King Arthur in which my female protagonist, mild-mannered Arianna Lawrence, becomes empowered by the relic sword Excalibur, which helps her unleash her voice in the sixth century. Arianna was my alter ego, my constant in unleashing my voice in modern times. In my first book, The Quest for Excalibur, I revealed that 20 years prior, I was brutally date raped by my boyfriend. It was the first time I shed some of the pain I had harbored for so long. Years later, the social issues I wrote of in my next two novels were fast becoming more important to my listeners at lectures and book signings. Instead of talking about King Arthur, Merlin and Arianna, I was talking about my life and about how writing allowed me to reveal the truth about the abuse in my youth. My publisher, Corey Michael Blake, proposed to me that it was time to begin my memoir. I had already penned blogs, articles and poems about my abuse, and my readers were asking more and more questions. With the love and support of my publishing team, I began outlining my memoir. Corey knew the depth of the horrors I’d endured and assigned editor Katie Gutierrez to help me sort out my life on the page. Katie was my constant aid as we built on the outline—week by week—until we found workable chapters. 48

And she was an encouraging voice, reminding me how important my memoir would be to those who suffered as I did. Though it was painfully difficult, I was able to write about being molested by my uncle from age 11 to 14 and about the three separate times my mother, at knifepoint, attempted to kill us both. And then it came time to write the chapter about how my boyfriend raped me. The memories of that day haunted me to a point that I could not write any longer—my mind shut down like a safe, refusing to reveal the contents inside. I remember telling Katie that I was vexed so badly by the memories that I didn’t want to finish the book. She was kind and gracious and, despite the miles that separated us, she held my hand over the phone and tried to lead me back to the keyboard. Her words, however, were not powerful enough to battle my demons. And though my story desperately needed to be told, I was terrified of the memories and the guilt. You see, my rapist had impregnated me, and, afraid of my mother, I sought an abortion. I could not write that down. I had already condemned myself in front of Christ—how could I also condemn myself in front of others? That day, I took a long walk to drown my pain with the music blasting from my iPod. But instead of music, I distinctly heard words crying out from my heart: I am not worthy of His sight. Blood on my hands, blood on my hands, blood on my hands. Those words were black demons taking their form on the streets. I tried to push them away, but another line struck me: my soul jailed in violence, jailed in violence, jailed in violence. I stood at the gates of the nearby cemetery and felt the tombstones calling for my death, but on the stones, the names of the dead became these words: My soul jailed in violence Blood on my hands I am not worthy in His sight 49

My hands chilled as the words continued: I will wash you in my blood. I knew that Christ was talking to me, and I knew I had to rush home and write the poem that wanted so desperately to be heard. Without even taking my jacket off, I grabbed my laptop and settled deep into my couch. My cat Rocky, whom I rescued at four weeks old and bottle-fed back to health, nuzzled close to me, purring softly, knowing I was lonely and in pain. A wave of calm filled me, and my fingers flew across the black letters of the keyboard. A surge of healing heat fueled me, and I ripped off my jacket and completed the poem. As I wrote the last stanza, courage and conviction washed over me. The moment I read the words, I knew that I could reopen my manuscript and write the story of my rape. I wrote voraciously that day and all night, pouring the crimes of rape and abortion onto the page and removing them from my body. That day, I felt as though the fabric that bound me for years was torn to shreds. Four months later, the memoir was a complete work. What began that fateful day as a block that nearly finished me became a poem of healing. I hope you find solace in it as I did. LIFE WRACKED WITH PAIN By Angelica Harris Š Angelica Harris Inc 2011 Life Wracked With Pain My body, my soul aches Does anyone hear my plea? Does He, the one above hear my voice? My soul jailed in violence Blood on my hands I am not worthy in His sight 50

Visions of death cloud my mind My body, my soul in peril Who wants me—am I alive My soul jailed in violence Blood on my hands I am not worthy in His sight Does He even want me? Am I worthy in His Sight? My life, a life not lived Trapped by the chains of abuse and hardships My soul jailed in violence Blood on my hands I am not worthy in His sight Jesus, are you there? I am alone and afraid A soul wild and unharnessed in the streets My soul jailed in violence Blood on my hands I am not worthy in His sight Jesus, can you hear me? Beaten and broken, no one cares Darkened alley, soul ravaged Nothing but despair My soul jailed in violence Blood on my hands I am not worthy in His sight 51

Lord, can you see me? Torn and tattered Naked in the wind Unworthy soul drenched in fear My soul jailed in violence Blood on my hands I am not worthy in His sight Daughter of my heart You are my child My love, my likeness I hear thy plea I heard your voice Come and sit with me My soul jailed in violence Blood on my hands I am not worthy in His sight I will wash you in my blood And clothe you in my robes Here, take my heart For it is yours My soul jailed in violence Blood on my hands I am not worthy in His sight I am Jesus, your brother, your friend Rise and come with me I am the breath of your life I am the light in your soul I AM You are free 52


Julie’s Corner Written by Julie Federico

The challenges single parents face when handling body safety and child abuse issues with their children. Why is it important that single parents in particular talk to their children about personal boundaries? According to the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse: “Living with married biological parents places kids at the lowest risk for child buss while living with a single parent, and a live in partner increased the risk of child abuse to more than eight times that of other children” 8 times. The number is a little overwhelming to say the least. First do not beat yourself up over this static. Single parent homes can be superior to having children raised in a horrific marital environment. I believe that knowledge is power and with the knowledge I give you today you can keep your children safe from unwanted touch. The most important words I have to say to you today are prevention, prevention, and prevention. Reasons why single parents need to be vigilant about this topic are obvious. Your children are not always under your watchful eye. In two parent families one person may take on a chief child care role. In a single parent family this role is usually provided by a nanny or other child care provider. Children spending large periods of time at daycare need this information months before they arrive at the daycare. Many time this is impractical as some children enter daycare at six weeks of age. Parents who are divorced have a more difficult time monitoring who comes into their child’s life than a parent who is not is not divorced. Children whose parents are divorced spend time at both parents’ houses and are not always under the same level of supervision. 54

Divorced parents send young children out of state at times for extended holidays and summer vacation. It is not possible to do background checks on all of the people your children will be spending time with. You are not there to observe your children with these other people and have no way of knowing how they interact with your child or even if they should be interacting with your children. Both sexes are in danger when discussing child abuse. Boys often thought to immune to these issues are not. Boys are at risk for childhood sexual abuse almost as much as girls. According to From Darkness to Light a child advocacy foundation. 1 in 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 18 and 1 in 6 boys. It is imperative to have conversations with boys as well as girls around body safety. No child is safe from unwanted touch. What should parents say to their children and at what age should these conversations begin? It is easy to talk to children about these issues because they do not have the same feelings that adults do around this subject. The message you send to your children is “Your body is your own. It is not okay for anyone to touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.” Keep it simple and straightforward. What most parents are completely shocked bout is how early you need to start talking about this topic. I say babies as young as one month old can have the body safety book Some Parts are Not for Sharing read to them. I say this because the average age kids are first approached is at the tender age of 4 years old. Four is not even formal school age yet so parents can not depend on school officials to introduce this to your children. Many parents protest at this point and say “This is too young I do not want to talk to my baby about this!” I can tell you with 100% certainty that prevention is fun and easy. Spend you time preventing your child from this awful crime. It is much easier and less heartbreaking to do prevention than remediation. It is also important to repeat this message to children multiple times. Once is not enough. 55

In conclusion what parents need to remember is it is never too early to start talking to children about body safety. When I “talking” I mean even just reading Some Parts are Not for Sharing or another body safety book. I wrote Some Parts are Not for Sharing to help parents keep their kids safe, it also gives parents age appropriate language to use. The book is for children age’s 0-7 years old. My personal goal is for every child everywhere to have the book read to them. Keep talking about this topic because kid’s brains are always changing. I believe most child abuse is preventable if kids had the necessary information before they were approached. Most children are harmed by someone they know. 90% of kids who are raped know their perpetrator. Lastly, do not be afraid to talk to kids about this. The only thing to be fearful of is if you choose to say nothing. The key to success is to remember prevention, prevention. If you are a single parent remember prevention, prevention, prevention. A special thank you to O.A.B.I for giving me a prevention platform. I am honored to be a part of their organization. To read Some Parts are Not for Sharing visit: KINDLE LINK





Robert Syslo The Cinematographer, Photographer, and Survivor.


Robert Syslo is a young man with extreme talent, from childhood he had a passion to become a photographer and a videographer, he envisioned himself doing great things, using the lenses of the camera and video camera to highlight various social and health issues which plague humanity and violates a person’s human rights. But fate did hit a tremendous blow at a tender age a blow which sent this young man on an emotional tsunami which caused him to question his vision, talent, abilities, spirituality, and even himself. Verbal, emotional, and physical abuse entered his life and stripped him of everything he knew and accepted as a foundation for growth and development. Instead of receiving genuine and healthy love he received the scolding of the tongue like a Cobra’s sting, instead of receiving the tender touch of caring hands to bring comfort he received the physical attacks of bites and slaps. In place of solace and serenity he received chaos and confusion, for years he felt comfortable and accepted these conditions as he knew no other way. However there was a raging battle within his mind for he always felt that something was wrong, that this is not the way someone should be treated. Overtime he gained the courage to leave his abusive foundation and the abusive relationship which he was in; he sought help and decided to go to therapy he thought that therapy would off been smooth sailing, however he did not anticipate the pain of the triggers, the vivid flashbacks and the moments of utter helplessness. There are moments when he is strong and can move mountains and moments when he feels so weak that he can barely move. These feelings has not stopped him from moving forward on the contrary he is pushing the more for he has experienced freedom, felt genuine love, learn to trust, and knows what it feels like to have friends to give him support. 61

Robert’s life is not a perfect one but it is much better than where he was when he had to endure years of abuse. With each passing day he aspires to be better and to become emotionally, socially, economically, spiritually, and physically strong thus he will be able to live a healthy life. He is committed to tell the stories of those who are silenced and show to the public how abuse damages the mental state of an individual and brings on mental illness which if not caught early can bring on catastrophic damage to the individual and other innocent persons. Robert is an inspiration to men and boys across the globe and he encourages them to break their silence and the vicious cycle of abuse, he encourages parents, caregivers and family members to intervene when young boys are being abused as he remembers his abuse as a young boy which made him into a damaged young man. Robert wants men to know that all is not lost, there is hope beyond the horizon, healing is sure and there is always someone who is willing to listen, believe, and help. On his healing journey Robert has taken a year off from school, he is pursuing his BA in English language and Literature, to work on a project which will help many identify with the pain of abuse and the victory of healing after abuse. He studied Cinematic Arts and Astrophysics at the University of New Mexico, he speaks Spanish as a second language and specializes in documentaries, and he is a professional Cinematographer, editor, digital colourist and has been certified by Apple. Robert Syslo continues to excel and is not allowing his past to affect his future yes he has days when he feels like crap emotionally however he continues to push not only to survive but to live and enjoy living while becoming a successful survivor. Robert uses photography as therapy and I encourage you to feast your eyes on some of his work. Mr.Syslo’s contact information is listed below. 62

























Dr. David A. Crenshaw earned a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He is a licensed psychologist in New York. Dr. Crenshaw has the distinction of being Board Certified in Clinical Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)and a Fellow of the Academy of Clinical Psychology. He is a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor by the Association of Play Therapy. He is listed in the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. He is Past President of the New York Association for Play Therapy. His memberships have included the American Psychological Association, the New York State Psychological Association, and the Hudson Valley Psychological Association. Dr. Crenshaw has served on the Legislative Committee of the New York State Psychological Association. Dr. Crenshaw is in private practice since 1977. In addition, he has been the Clinical Director, Director of Training, and Director of Internship Training at the Astor Home for Children in Rhinebeck, NY; on the staff of hospitals and schools; faculty member at Southern Illinois University, University of Missouri, and Washington University; and a consultant at Bard College. Besides numerous articles in professional journals, Dr. Crenshaw is the author of several books: "Bereavement: Counselling the Grieving throughout the Life Cycle" (now in its third printing); "Engaging Resistant Children in Therapy: Projective Drawing and Storytelling Techniques," and two books (he co-authored with John B. Mordock, Ph.D., ABPP to be published by Jason Aronson in 2005), "Understanding and Treating Aggressive Children: Fawns in Gorilla Suits" and "Handbook of Play Therapy with Aggressive Children." He is featured on a videotape "Grief: How to Help Children Feel, Deal & Heal" containing practical advice. Dr. Crenshaw's play therapy and projective techniques using drawings and storytelling and puppets are especially designed for defiant, oppositional, and aggressive children. 87

Frustrated by the challenges of helping defiant, oppositional, aggressive children? Dr. David A. Crenshaw shares successful techniques he has developed during more than 30 years as a clinical child psychologist.

Chronically angry children may look like strong, fearless gorillas on the outside. Inside, they are like fearful, wary fawns at the edge of the woods. They crave contact with others, but fear being hurt again. They may have been hurt by loss, whether by divorce or death, and are struggling with grief. They may have been hurt by violence and abuse. Perhaps, they never had a secure family life to develop trust early on. The art of healing fawns in gorilla suits requires not taking their anger personally, but realizing anger is how they protect themselves. They hurt deep inside from invisible, yet very real wounds. To help such children feel safe, become trusting, and deal with intense emotions, Dr. Crenshaw developed special play therapy techniques. He teaches his techniques to clinicians, school personnel, and others who work with angry children. 88

Dr. David A. Crenshaw is a highly credentialed and respected clinical psychologist, who is Past President of the New York Association of Play Therapy. He has dedicated his career, Center, books, videotape, projective techniques, and leadership to helping aggressive children. He and his Rhinebeck Child and Family Center, LLC are available for: Child and Family Therapy  Consultations  Training  Presentations  Workshops Broadcast and Print Media Interviews 

Mailing Address

Office Address

P.O. Box 286 Rhinebeck, NY 12572

23H East Market St.Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Phone: (845) 876-3400


"We Forgot to Feed the Baby!� By David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP


In my role as a clinical psychologist, I have spent almost four decades working with abused and traumatized children and their families. In one electrifying moment in a therapy session with a young boy in a residential treatment center who had been exposed to extreme domestic violence and deprivation, he was preparing a pretend Thanksgiving feast and when he brought the food to the table, he "froze" his eyes on a baby doll in a high chair in the corner and he exclaimed, "Oh, my God! We forgot to feed the baby!" Metaphorically, he was telling me the story of his life experience. His family was overwhelmed with their own problems, poverty, alcohol and drug addition, violence, so no one had time or energy to "feed the baby." He had just returned from what he had anticipated would be a "Thanksgiving feast" with his family. Instead, he had spent the holiday weekend in a shelter for abused women and their children, because the mother's boyfriend had severely assaulted her the night before his visit home. The shocking and appalling headlines of another child beaten to death send chills through our spines. Her step-father, the newspaper reports, has been charged with her death. Still another unconscious child is found living with siblings in a room cold as a result of a broken window. There was no food in the refrigerator. By the time the 4 year-old child reaches the hospital, he is declared dead. Who do we direct our outrage towards? Do we make scapegoats out of the Child Welfare department and their overloaded caseworkers or do we look inward at our own and outward at society's priorities? Have we as a society forgotten to "feed the baby?" As the most developed society in the world how can we allow children and families to live in unsafe, crowded, cold apartments with no food in the refrigerator? Children are voiceless. They have no vote. They have no lobby. But their voices can be heard if we listen carefully. Far too many are asking in a barely audible voice, "Have we forgotten to feed the baby?" Copyright Š 2006 by David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP. All rights reserved. 91






Denise Stephani Book Interview - “In The Wings Transformation of an Alien Ballerina” By Misa Leonessa Garavaglia Denise Stephani is a director and honorary adviser to O.A.B.I.: Organization for Abused and Battered Individuals. The Cambridge Who’s who, the business network organization of Donald Trump Junior, had this to say about Denise Stephani: “Throughout her 40-year career first as an amateur, then professional, she has worked as a performer, dance director, choreographer, producer, entertainment consultant, community artist and educator. She is a survivor of the Apartheid Regime in South Africa; dance was a means of escape from the abuse. She also credits dance for helping her to develop valuable life skills. She created Butterfly Haven Castle – a center for Youth and Survivors and was the Mentor and initiator of the first Chapters of the International Network Free the Children in South Africa. For the past five years, Ms. Stephani has worked as the director of the BYCIA Dance and Mixed Media Company. She creates educational programs to teach others to use dance and the arts as tools for citizenship and to overcome personal issues. On a daily basis, she is responsible for planning social improvement projects and conducting educational workshops. Ms. Stephani’s contributions to the dance field have earned her various awards and honors, including the Royal Academy of Dancing Solo Seal Award, International Vision of Top Talent Award, FNB Vita Award and Most Outstanding Dancer recognition. She is affiliated with Foundation of Community Dance, National Dance Teachers Association and Federation for Small Businesses. As someone who believes in the power of knowledge, she has studied psychology and screenwriting at The University of Edinburgh as well as Therapy, Philosophy, Quantum Metaphysics, Personal Development, Counseling and Transformation Facilitation, Spirituality and Healing 97

(Photo from still shoot of Oscar listed documentary film The Perfect Fit for 2013) 98

How did you begin dancing and why? (Dancing in Heaven?) I think I was born dancing. A dancing spirit. Better to be a dancing spirit for peace than a fighting one – don’t you think? Apparently I used to hold onto the cot rails to boogie and bop to music even when I was a baby. One day when I was two years old I came home from nursery school and said “Mommy – I’m going to be a barellina” I couldn’t even say ballerina properly – but I knew my destiny. It didn’t feel like something I wanted to do. It was something I had to do. Like breathing. Part of a pre-destined plan. I knew my life and soul purpose from very young. I knew that I was going to dance and write. I loved music and interpreting it through dance. It made me happy and I loved sharing it with others, bringing them joy too. I was born into a very conservative society where dancing could be frowned upon – but to me dance is a spiritual expression and prayer. There was a joke about certain areas that they wouldn’t allow sex standing in case it led to the sin of dancing. I used to say: “Well- if I can’t dance in heaven I don’t want to go there!” But I was just joking too. I was always very convinced that music and dance is a key part of creation and is a heavenly activity and can be a prayer. Maybe dance got me approval from my grandparents and mother. I was an unwanted product of rape and was not always a welcome addition in the home. My father raped my mother and that is how I was conceived. When my grandmother found out that my mother was pregnant she dramatically thrust her arm through a glass window shattering it, and she exclaimed: “Die Voeljties van die hemel het hulle gatte op ons gedraai!” She spoke Afrikaans. The English translation is: “The angels of the heaven have turned their backsides on us!” 99

Maybe I wanted to redeem myself and be their dancing angel and bring light and joy to make up for the dark way in which I had made my entrance into their world? It wasn’t my fault or my shame, but my family made me feel the guilt anyway. I tried to be a bright presence in their lives till the age of five when my father came back, charming and conning my mother into marriage - and basically abducting us, taking us over a thousand miles to the other side of the country away, from any family protection or intervention.

This is me, age 5, just after the ‘monster’ turned up. Base make-up and pink tights were covering my bruised legs and rear. I was already well trained to put on a mask and smile through the pain. Shut up, put up and stiff upper lip… (From the book ‘In The Wings’: Trials and Transformation of the Alien Ballerina 100

You have written a book called In the Wings: Trials and Transformation of the Alien Ballerina, that is due to be released any day. Would you share that story with us? Here is a brief synopsis: “Dance saved my life. It helped me survive and escape after 16 years under the Regime of a Psychopathic Dictator - my father.” Within the South African Apartheid Regime, Denise was locked into domestic slavery – a box within a box. She was only allowed to go to school, ballet and her parent’s places of work when it suited him: to create an impression of normality. Like the Austrian Fritzl girl, she had to play his sick game and fight him off every day. The boxer needed a sparring partner. If her father had the money to build a soundproof cellar she may well have found herself in one… but the invisible walls and chains were there. He was obsessed with Hitler and ran their home like a torturous brown concentration camp. Every day was hell, a constant threat of death. But she found coping strategies… She wore the mask, educated herself and danced using humour to still the pain. Denise created a miraculous and inspiring self-transformation to become a Ballerina, community worker and reformer. But all the while she had her dark, obsessed ‘Phantom of the Ballet’ waiting in the wings… She shares her timorous story of survival and dancing into success - out of extreme abuse and poverty within a Depression and harsh Patriarchy. She also offers funny African Theatre anecdotes, travel notes on Scotland, early Film Scripts - and social commentary through the thought provoking ponderings of outrageous friend, Jasmine Rose. This book can be ordered at: 101

This book is best suited for adults, but I wanted to have a book to help and educate children regarding violence and peace efforts. This youth section of my efforts is called ‘Letters to Mandela’ and information can be found here: All my books and films have messages for a new Fair World Order and call for the end of the gender war and abuse of children and world environment for the greater good and evolution of the community of humankind. Proceeds go to The Butterfly Haven Children’s Fund for further education and help for survivors.


This is my debut interview speaking about my personal abuse history. In my adult life I have been very involved with children’s rights, poverty and abuse - even building a centre - but nobody knew why I was doing it. It was too dangerous to speak my truth. This is the first time that I am disclosing to the world what happened ‘In the Wings’ in my life. This has been very hard to do. The main side-effect of my abuse was to be effectively silenced. I was very quiet withdrawn and shy from the age of 7 and only started finding my voice again when I was 27 and started a process of therapy and self-help. The book tells the gritty truth of the violence, torture and abuse that went on behind our closed doors, but this is not your typical misery tome. There is a fair bit of humour and creative writing in between which creates an unusual read. Here is one of my theatre anecdotes which is sprinkled across the book: My first role as a professional ballet dancer was very glamorous. (Not!) I was the last chicken in the row in La Fille Mal Gardée. La Fille is a gorgeous, frothy, quirky, romantic comedy with lots of lovely, graceful choreography. My poultry role was not graceful at all. I was encased in a huge chicken body and head, with limited vision through some mesh under the beak, and my skinny legs in stripy yellow tights sticking out underneath. One of the male dancers was a cocky rooster who herded us our little new ballerina chicks in a comical dance. Even though the audience enjoyed it and I laugh now, we were terrified and embarrassed by it all. It didn’t quite fit in with our ballerina dreams! We had a tough time with our vision challenge to know where we were going, and to stay out of the way of the REAL horse and carriage in the ballet. We toured to Windhoek, capital city of Namibia, and there the horse was plain insane. It made its entrance onto the stage just after us, and as the ‘last-chickenin-the-row’ I had a tough time hanging onto my tail feathers. 103

The horse kept biting my tail so I had to stand to one side in the wings, and then make an ultra-quick leaping jeté forward, past the horse, to get onto stage - with its yellow teeth flashing behind me. One performance it got irritated with my successful tail protection tactics, so it dropped a present in my path a little later on in the scene, and I chicken-danced mad horse manure all over the stage! What were your greatest challenges growing up as a child? Well initially I struggled to be accepted and even now struggle for the right to exist. In many ways that is still a challenge. I have been the woman that the world doesn’t want to exist. It would prefer that I disappeared and didn’t speak. They didn’t previously want to hear my truth, and that of others, and deal with the rot underneath the societal façade. But the tide is turning and this problem is coming up to heal. People are now wanting more education and information for prevention. But going back to my youth - after my father turned up again when I was nearly five and insisted my mother marry him, whisking us off and away from family – then everything became a challenge. Even breathing was a challenge. He would push my head under the bathwater, or smother me under pillows, or strangle me till I thought I would die. I used to practice in bed at night to hold my breath so that I would survive when he did that. Staying out of trouble and out of pain was a challenge. My father challenged me every day in every way. He beat me and then told me he would whip me again if I cried. The challenge was not to cry and show pain. The challenge was to be silent and wear the mask that he demanded I wear. This went on for 16 years until I finally managed to escape. But I guess the biggest challenge has not been surviving a psychopathic, violent, criminal, paedophile father… 104

It has been getting society to listen or to care, or to take any action to help or support me. I suffered extreme human rights violations on a daily basis and to this day I have still not been helped, rescued or properly heard. Getting any justice – even social justice is a challenge and I am still facing this battle. I have had a life-time of being the elephant in the room that nobody wants to hear about or talk about. I was locked into 27 years of silence before I started talking and writing about it. From age 5 to 32. That is the same prison sentence that Mandela got. I think that is one of the reasons why I relate to him and have created the children’s book of drawings and writing called ‘Letters to Mandela’. And even though the title is sometimes questioned, the truth is that he has become an international symbol of peace. That is what I want – peace in homes and society. Once one is cursed with being set upon that path of challenges from a child, it echoes and repeats itself and the trauma, for the rest of one’s life. It is unavoidable. The only real cure is prevention. Tell us about your career as a dancer and choreographer. I started training when I was 3 years old. My life circumstances were very difficult and dangerous so I had to find something that I could do as a profession as quickly as possible to get out of my family. I knew that I was probably talented enough at dancing to get into a company straight after school without having to do additional study and training first. This was my get-out-of-jail ticket. I did manage with hard work at the Royal Academy of Dancing Syllabus,and the help of some teachers to achieve that goal - so I got into a ballet company in Pretoria and my career took off from there. I danced for ballet companies for six years and then went on to do neo-classical, contemporary, jazz, African and commercial dance and started my own company and entertainment consultancy called BCY. 105

That has now developed into BYCIA Dance & Mixed Media Company which uses dance, film, theatre and writing to create societal education projects. My recent exciting news is that a documentary that I am featured in and helped research and develop has been listed for the 2013 Oscars! I am also very honoured and excited to be connected and honorary Advisor and Director to O.A.B.I.: Organization for Abused and Battered Individuals. But I don’t enjoy going blah blah about myself, so here is a press release prepared by the Cambridge Who’s who, the business network organization of Donald Trump Junior: Denise Stephani - Recognition of Achievement 2012 Throughout her 40-year career first as amateur, then professional, she has worked as a performer, dance director, choreographer, producer, entertainment consultant, community artist and educator. She is a survivor of the Apartheid Regime in South Africa; dance was a means of escape from the abuse. She also credits dance for helping her to develop valuable life skills. She created Butterfly Haven Castle – a center for Youth and Survivors and was the Mentor and initiator of the first Chapters of the International Network Free the Children in South Africa. For the past five years, Ms. Stephani has worked as the director of the BYCIA Dance and Mixed Media Company. She creates educational programs to teach others to use dance and the arts as tools for citizenship and to overcome personal issues. On a daily basis, she is responsible for planning social improvement projects and conducting educational workshops. 106

Ms. Stephani’s contributions to the dance field have earned her various awards and honors, including the Royal Academy of Dancing Solo Seal Award, International Vision of Top Talent Award, FNB Vita Award and Most Outstanding Dancer recognition. She is affiliated with Foundation of Community Dance, National Dance Teachers Association and Federation for Small Businesses. As someone who believes in the power of knowledge, she has studied psychology and screenwriting at The University of Edinburgh as well as Therapy, Philosophy, Quantum Metaphysics, Personal Development, Counseling and Transformation Facilitation, Spirituality and Healing through other Centers.

(Modern Ballet Carmen Solo) 107

How did you start using dance as a therapeutic modality for yourself and for others? I started when I was a toddler. My mother was a nursing sister and worked at a retirement home when I was little. I used to go to the home and get the ladies and gents up doing ‘ring a ring a rosies’ and dancing with me. The staff in the home used to call me ‘the little therapist’. Growing up after my father arrived on the scene again I was allowed very little freedom. One of the few things I was allowed to do was go to my mother’s places of work, hospitals, mental homes and retirement homes and so on. I would help arrange activities and dance for the patients. They very much enjoyed that. That is where the healing and therapy began. Bringing some joy and sunshine into their lives somehow brought some light into mine, and made the pain of the violence and abuse that I was suffering, seem a little less. The giving gave back to me. I have since studied various healing and therapies and use it together with dance in various community projects. What are you doing now to help others to heal from childhood trauma? In Scotland I have been involved in Survivor Arts Therapy projects and youth projects. Some of the schools that I have worked at have had numbers of Youth at Risk individuals and young people with behavioural problems. I also do movement therapy at retirement homes. Some of the areas that I work in have high levels of violence and abuse, so even when I am not specifically working with a group of survivors I am aware that there would be a high percentage in the class anyhow. I helped set up, launch and deliver a ‘Survivarts’ project which used the arts as therapy tools to help adult survivors through encouraging selfexpression. It also made them feel heard and their suffering respected and understood. This is sadly a very rare luxury in our modern rat-race society. The healing of empathy and understanding is hard to come by for survivors. 108

I am currently working with Alzheimer and Dementia groups in retirement homes – and there is a definite connection. Many ‘old-age’ and stress-related illnesses stem from childhood and domestic abuse. How do you use the arts to help bring emotional and spiritual healing to individuals? Apart from the community projects, at the moment I am working with mixed media or fusion arts and am communicating about tough societal issues through my books, dancing, film and performance. I have launched my first book of the Venus Rising Trilogy, called ‘In The Wings – Trials and Transformation of the Alien Ballerina’ which is being developed as a mixed media stage show. It educates on abuse and survival strategies, with quirky humour and social commentary in between. There has been a performance of extracts off-fringe at the Edinburgh Arts Festival in 2012 and it will be performed again as part of the V-Day1 Billion Rising Campaign on the 14th February 2013 in Edinburgh and Melbourne. The arts can also help uplift people and inspire them. Watching and taking part in dance stimulates positive hormones and pathways in the brain and brings health benefits, joy and a sense of well-being. It stimulates the ‘happy hormones’ like endorphin and dopamine as well as positive thinking pathways. I think that the Scottish Government’s Get Scotland Dancing campaign is excellent and will help combat depression and addiction. I use the arts to raise awareness and to fundraise for social improvement and education projects. I am in the process of creating workshops and youth educational book and film resources. I work with issues like racism and abuse, but am very creative with it, and like to use a good dose of humour and creativity to lighten the topics. BYCIA stands for: Ballet, Yoga, Contemporary, Jazz, International, African. These are the different dance styles that I teach in and work with in the community 109

What would your advice be to people who desire to use movement and dance as a part of their own healing? (using dance to heal the body and be connected to yourself physically) Dance helps acceptance of body. A good feeling about body. Survivors usually hate their bodies. It is a way of making friends and appreciating something good about your body. We feel that our bodies bring us nothing but trouble – but if you can make it a musical instrument – there is some hope, positive feelings and self-image. For me dance is a prayer. That is where I feel a very strong God connection. There have been dancers like Isodora Duncan and Anna Pavlova who were famous as sacred dancers with a very special dance quality and spiritual connection. I have studied a Dance and Movement Psychotherapy course and it can be very helpful to create breakthroughs for some people. Tell us more about your Butterfly Haven Centre which you ran for 8 years in South Africa. Here is information taken from my website which explains the centre in South Africa which is now changing and developing into a fund and charity in the UK.. The Butterfly Haven Children's Fund educates on abuse and support survivors of life trauma. Butterfly Haven Castle Centre, Cape Town, South Africa. This centre hosted fundraising projects and was the base for the South African branch of Kids Can Free the Children.


Butterfly Haven Enchanted Castle Play Park (photo to right) and projects were enjoyed by many children. However, Butterfly Haven Centre was closed in 2007 due to the extreme levels of violent crime and lack of support. Despite this, the vision continues in the UK with the new Butterfly Haven Children's Fund. Proceeds from Denise's books will go to its projects which raise awareness and educate on abuse and its devastating effects on society - as well as helping survivors of abuse. BYCIA Dance & Mixed Media Company (limited by guarantee, registered tax number SC401681) currently hosts Butterfly Haven Children's Fund. Its activities involve Arts and Social Enterprise projects. It is tax registered and able to receive funding and donations. Butterfly Haven Children's Fund will be registered as a separate charity dependent on public support. 111

Here are some further Book Extracts: Overture Albert Einstein “Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes - goodwill among men and peace on earth.” Maya Angelou “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” The Journey of the Butterfly The Butterfly is a glorious creature to look up to when you feel like you need a ladder to get to a worm’s level… What is the path that it travels to become that perfect piece of creation? Laid from the butt of mother butterfly into a little pile – very cramped inside the tight shell at the bottom of the heap. But the sun shines and the tiny wormlet grows enough to crack the shell of the egg to get out. The other wormlets and eggs are on top of her, but she climbs up between them. The boy wormlets mutter amongst themselves. Who does she think she is? Sneaky female working her way up and out of her lowly station at the bottom of the heap! Even most of the other female worms echo “Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky” like unthinking zombies. But she smiles sweetly offers them choice bits of leaf that she brought up with her, and keeps going. She stretches her legs when she has more space and is able to walk free along a branch. She explores her world. But around her she sees the other worms being plucked up by birds – swallowed whole. She hides under a leaf in a branch hollow and watches the competitive fight for survival. 112

Some worms push other worms into the light where the birds can see them so that they will be eaten first. In the fight and tussle for survival some worms fall to their death. A big ugly beetle who is also scared of being eaten decides to keep our little she-worm prisoner in the branch hollow, so that he can grab her and give her to the birds to eat instead of himself. While he keeps her there he taunts her, pokes her and feeds her only enough to keep her alive. Her whole world is dark and brown. The other worms see what is happening but they ignore her cries for help and pretend that it is not happening. Eventually, after a long time, the beetle gets tired of being in one spot, so he moves away to find another victim to take power over. Just as wormlet is escaping, another ugly beetle comes along and forces and pushes her down the tree trunk and into a tin hidden under one of the big gnarled roots. In the tin are other wormlets, kept prisoner. Boy worm lets too. Our little she-worm let hears their stories and is very angry. “There are more of us” she said. We must gang together and rush out screaming! We want colour and joy – not this dark brown world. So this is what they do and the plan works. The beetle is so astonished that he flies away in fear. Little wormlet is ecstatically happy to escape. She slowly wends her way up the tree and finds juicy leaves and eats her fill – offering to the other worms too. The other worms say suspiciously, “What is wrong with her? Why is she so smiley and giving? Why is she nice and kind? Why does she help others? What does she want?” She answers as if she was Somebody, not Nobody, as they would have her believe: “I am not mad or bad. I am just happy to be alive and free!” 113

“Well we don’t like your positive attitude, they say. It is very strange. Who do you think you are?” They twist her actions into something negative. They scratch and sniff around in the muck and find reasons to ignore her and be against her. She wonders: “Have I not suffered enough? Can I not just be happy now? Where is compassion? Why are they judging me? They say that the beetle kept me prisoner because I chose it - that maybe I deserved it. That it’s my life lesson and burden to bear alone. They didn’t help when I called. They chose to be deaf, dumb and blind. They played a part in creating it too. If they had chosen differently it may not have happened, or could have ended long before it did. Now they are all full of talk, but did any of them have the courage to confront the beetle and tell HIM what he was doing was wrong? She realised that this was because it was far easier to blame the worm let and take their anger out on her. She had compassion for their fear, even though each time she began to mention her difficult time as a prisoner, they smacked her in the mouth and put a big leaf on top of her to hide her. What kept wormlet going is that she knew what was happening to her had happened to many, many others. There were millions and millions – even billions of little wormlets out there who needed an Ambassador to speak up for them, and help them stand up against the beetles, so that they could no longer get away with their power games. For the Ugly Beetle Games to work there had to be Silence. Sometimes the beetles secretly forced the wormlets to leap off the branches to their death to maintain that permanent Silence. It was a perfect crime. She needed to end the Great Silence and Sing Out for the greater good of all the suffering wormlets in the world, inspiring them to raise their voices and Sing Out too. She could see that they were all getting sick and 114

dying from the stress of carrying the painful secrets. The toxic, poisonous, brown sorrow festered deep inside them. They needed colour and light. She felt that she needed to change and become more able in the world and on her mission. She found a quiet branch and started transforming her outer layer into a sturdy safe cocoon. She snuggled in and made herself small and worked on herself. Thinking and meditating and praying. She connected to the great Divine One, and found her path. She dreamed of Heavenly Castle Kingdoms where only Goodness flourished. She was given a golden scroll in a magical chamber which spoke her vision and purpose as a healer. As she changed, her form expanded. Her wings started growing and she felt uncomfortable and cramped in the small space. The safe space was not enough. She needed to move her mission out into the world. One day she took a deep breath and expanded herself—cracking open the cocoon. She eased herself out into the world, spread her bright rainbow coloured wings, fluttered them a little, and FLEW, dancing in the sky, spiralling above the glorious view, Singing Out wherever she went. Inspiring others to Sing and Dance too… Chapter One PRELUDE “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The World would split open.” (Muriel Rukeyser from ‘Kathe Kollwitz’ and The Courage to Heal) STARTING AGAIN IN SCOTLAND – TRAVELS February 2007 – Linlithgow, Scotland I am gazing across the glorious rippling Loch towards the majestically rising Linlithgow Palace. The beauty moves me. I see the proud white swans gliding across the water and the 115

music of The Dying Swan fills my mind. I want to dance, swirl and fly. I am free at last. I have migrated at long last to the far side of the planet and escaped the shackles of my African existence. I am in love with the tidy, cared for, safe nature. I palm the kids off on Hubby and Aunt and go for a rambling explore. It is February and freezing, especially for my thin African blood and illequipped wardrobe, but I am breathing in the green plant life, loving the sheep, and revelling in the fact that I, as a woman, can actually walk about in nature without worrying about being attacked. Amazing! This is like a storybook fairytale ending... Woah - Steady on! What the heck is that? A quaint olde building with the words “Black Bitch” emblazoned across it. WTF? See? I may be staggering through mom-hood, but I’m up with the latest lingo! (Not sure why it is better than swearing though. Everyone knows what you’re saying anyway and it ain’t “What the Fandango?”) Fresh out of South Africa, which nowadays takes PC-ness to the furthest back bending extremes, and I am confronted by a building that says “Black Bitch” on it. Meeting house of the Scottish Ku Klux Clan? Well as it turns out - Hubby’s Aunt informed me - they are referring to a female dog with a dark coat. And a legend about misguided loyalty, where the black bitch tried to save its owner, who was a criminal tied up and left to die on the Loch Island. Mmm... Maybe things are not as calm and lovely as they seem? Never mind, I’m used to that.


Chapter 1 What Happens in the Wings? “All the world’s a stage, and men and women merely players” written by the Bard who needs no introduction. In that case - I want to sack the casting director. Who chooses which little children are going to be beaten and abused? Probably more than half the world’s child population are cast into this role – and for the girl child it is practically automatic. But all those child players are kept in the wings, even when they grow up and given very little voice on world stage. They are permanently locked away in silence... in the land of “I don’t want to know!” If I were to tell you the full story of my life you would be crying by the time I got to age ten, laughing at the craziness of it all by age twenty, simply not believing me by the time I got to age thirty. You would think I must be deluded and living in a made up world. Sadly – what I write is all true. When you are thrust into a life full of madness and lies you fully value the truth. ‘Truth is stranger than fiction’ is one of the truest sayings around. It’s been a life that feels like at least four by now. Like most survivors I feel like I am age four going on four hundred. But don’t panic and thrust this book away from you with the usual “I don’t relate phrase”. I will put in loads of outrageous theatre anecdotes to make the reading easier... God forbid that I should write a “Misery Tome” - because I know… “Laugh and the world laughs with you, get abused and you’re on your own.” Cape Town Theatre, 1974 My first Ballet! I was elated. I had already been training since just 117

before my fourth birthday and dancing since I could stand. Finally the day had come that I would see the real thing! At last... Six year old me watching Swan Lake. As it progressed though, the strongest emotion was not elation, but irritation. I was squirming in my seat. This was not enough for me... to sit here and watch. I wanted to be up there. Doing it! I was fascinated with the great sweeping curtains that swished to reveal changing scenes, the lighting which set the mood, and the music which filled my tingling ears. But what interested me more were the skinny curtains lined up at the side and the archways through which the dancers appeared and disappeared. What happened back there... in the wings? My father was a technician in the theatre so I had already heard stories of the bleeding toes, vomiting and hyperventilating from nerves and exhaustion, the oxygen tanks and the hard hours of work. Also the strange arty, decadent people, and their scandalous affairs, parties and drugs - my father didn’t believe in censoring this sort of thing for me. In fact he relished and embellished the stories as he made us listen in his smoke filled bedroom... as he sucked and twirled the end of a sweaty saliva-spotted Marijuana joint. I didn’t find the decadence appealing at all - in fact I found it rather sickening, but I had already learned by then to take what he said with a shovel full of salt... this was my dream and I was going to fulfil it. To one day be up there twirling, jumping, sliding...poised to create a beautiful line... and twirl again. So what if it was hard and painful and the beautiful images of perfection were an illusion! Life was hard and painful and illusory - I had learnt this already, but at least at the Ballet there was magic and beauty sometimes... And anyway - this was something I had decided I wanted to do before I met my father, and I had promised myself by now that I wasn’t going to let his behaviour affect me! 118










Trailing On The Blood Of Christ By: Grace Constantine One hot, sultry, Louisiana summer evening, he came home drunk, filling the air with fear and chaos. He was yelling and screaming at everyone. I really don’t know what set him off. Willard occasionally had flash backs from serving in Korean War. All I know is, he scared the crap out of us. April, my older sister, sneaked out of the window, ran to the neighbors to borrow their phone, and called the police. Hatred and chaos seemed to fill the air as Willard ranted and raved about how he was going to kill our mother. He thought she had cheated on him. We lived about fifteen minutes from town, so by the time the police arrived; he was hiding behind our bedroom door, with a gun. Momma talked to the cops when they arrived, but when they asked where he was, she only nodded, for fear of him hearing her tell the police where he was. He would have considered that an act of betrayal, and would only escalate the situation. At first, he refused to come out like they asked. When he did, he kicked them in the butt and made them get out of the house. The police called for backup. Willard sent all of the kids to bed around five in the afternoon. As all five of us lay in the small bedroom, adjacent to the kitchen, we could hear the police surround the house. We began to hear the police outside talking through a megaphone, trying to get him to come out of the house. He only yelled back, and began shooting at them through the windows. We were so terrified, we were afraid to move. Through the darkness, we could hear an officer, talking through the oscillating fan we had in the window, asking if we were alright. It was Uncle Emmett, and boy was I glad he was there. We whispered that we were ok. While they were getting into position, you could hear momma and him struggling in the bathroom. 128

It sounded like Willard was trying to slit her throat, but was too drunk. He went to the living room door, and began yelling for the police to get him a cop car by the road, gassed, and ready to go, so he could carry Momma across the state line to kill her. When they had everything set up, he and my mom went out the door, stopping in the middle of the drive way. As they paused for a brief moment, an officer, around the corner of the house, told my mom to duck. When she did, we heard shots being fired from all around. Momma moaned, as if she had been shot. Fearing we would find our mother dead, we ran outside and saw her standing there in shock. We watched as he staggered over to home plate of our baseball outline, holding his hands over the bullet holes, while the blood was streaming through his fingers; and he fell dead in the front yard." Follow Grace as she learns to overcome great diversity and triumphs to become a leader and a phenomenal woman of grace, perseverance, and a phenomenal leader. Join us as we all learn to not define ourselves by the opinions of others, and learn how to discover we are thrivers, not survivors! Look out for adventures from Grace Constantine as she shares with you her life and the many obstacles which came her way and how each helped her to mover forward and become the person she is today. Her experiences are unique, compelling, brings sadness, remorse, chaos, joys, and victories.






Importance of Awareness By Debbie Naylor Cox

Domestic Violence Awareness. I would like to talk about why this is so important to me personally as is equally so to all victims and survivors of domestic violence. Why is bringing awareness to domestic violence so important? There are mothers whom have sons and daughters living lives within domestic abuse everyday and because they don’t recognize the signs, they have no idea. There are co-workers working everyday with a victim of domestic abuse and they do not have a clue. There are teachers instructing children that live in homes where domestic abuse is occurring everyday and the teachers are completely unaware of the abuse those children themselves are going through. There are doctors treating patients everyday for anxiety and depression and do not realize that these are only side effects from the domestic abuse these patients are going through at home. The number of victims living in domestic violent homes is overwhelming. We live in a society that feels the mere mention of domestic violence is something to be ashamed of and hushed. I can’t tell you how many times, while doing online advocacy for domestic violence, I’ve asked long time friends of mine to simply share a message about domestic violence on their Facebook page only to be told quickly, “I don’t know anybody that is a friend of mine that is being abused and I don’t want to offend anyone by suggesting they may be.” Our society needs to be informed and educated on the subject of domestic violence! Bringing awareness is crucial in helping to educate society as a whole to the ever increasing problems of domestic violence. Another huge purpose in bringing awareness to domestic violence is to educate the victims whom are still living in abusive homes. There are so many reasons why victims remain in abusive situations but what they don’t realize is that most of those reasons can be remedied and that there are places to 134

go for help. But one of the very big reasons that victims remain living in abusive homes is because of the emotional and psychological abuse they are receiving has them so confused and doubting themselves, blaming themselves and thinking that they can change their situation and bring the happy life that was planned back into existence by changing themselves. They are blind to the fact that they are not at all to blame and nothing they can do will ever change their abusive world except to walk away and leave it behind them. In bringing awareness to domestic violence we are better able to reach those victims stuck in domestic abuse and help to empower them to see the abuse for what it is and realize that they do not deserve to live their lives in abusive homes. Help them realize they can get out of their situations. Help them realize that the life they are living is not normal and is not love. To help them realize that there is no shame in taking a stand and finding their voice. Bringing awareness will also enable us to reach the law makers in more numbers to encourage them to make laws to better protect against domestic violence by bringing harsher punishments to the abusers, more help for the victims and more education to the public. Awareness is the key to putting an end to domestic abuse! We must use our voices and shout it out to the ends of the earth “NO MORE ABUSE!!” Within my own world of domestic violence, I never once thought that my situation had a name…Abuse. It just never entered my mind. One reason I suppose is because I don’t remember ever having bruises that I could tell were actually from the abuse. I never had broken bones or cuts or scratches. I never had black eyes or a bloody nose. However there were times of physical violence. Yet in my own situation the physical violence used on me I have come to realize was a strategy planned out to put fear of the unknown in me so that I would succumb easier to the emotional and psychological abuse. It better enabled my abuser to have that control over me that was such a personal need to him. Yet I too was brought up in a society that saw 135

domestic abuse as battery only. I never realized that I was being changed as a person to fit his needs. I knew something was not quite right but I never could put my finger on what that something was. My mind was twisted and confused into thinking that my life was like any other normal married life. And although I’m sure there were books I could read and online sites I could go to, I never even once thought to seek help in any way because I was already molded into thinking my life was normal. When we were first married I did talk to my friends and family about things that happened at home because that is just what came natural. If I had any questions about an argument I had with my husband or any conflict of opinions on a subject, I would talk it over with a good friend or family member. I was simply trying to get the opinion of an outsider to see if I was correct in my thinking because of course I never was as far as my abuser was concerned. But when my abuser realized that I was talking to friends and family members about these things it infuriated him. He demanded that I never, NEVER tell his business to anyone else, not my friends, my family or his family, NO ONE. He shamed me into feeling I had done wrong and I tried to be the good wife and listen to his needs and desires on this. I had respect for his desires and felt that any good wife would understand her husbands needs on things of this sort. I stopped associating with any friends of mine that he didn’t like. I had two good friends during the course of our marriage and I did talk sometimes in general about marital problems that came up but I never went into great detail and never told of physical violence that took place because it was hammered into my head that these were more serious issues between myself and my spouse and what he considered to be his personal business. So I stayed silent for many years. The few times that I did try to talk about the actions and words that really confused me, the person I would be talking with would immediately come up with, “well, maybe you could stop doing this or that and do this instead and it will be ok?” Putting the blame for any and everything on me…putting the control of 136

the situation on me entirely. But what they weren’t understanding was I had no control over the situation. I was trying to get that point across but when they would immediately come up with the idea that it was something I could change myself, it only put more doubt in my mind and confusion as to what was actually happening in my world. So the abuse continued and my thinking that my life was actually normal continued also. Domestic violence back in those days was so hush hush and so shamed and really quite unaccepted that it wasn’t so easy to find information on the subject as it is today. And today it still isn’t as easily found as it needs to be. And the one thing that can help solve that issue is to bring awareness to domestic violence and abuse. It could save lives in more ways than one. If some of my friends and family members were more aware of signs of domestic abuse then they may have thought twice about telling me that it is perfectly normal for a wife to be the one always compromising it seems and maybe they wouldn’t have been so quick to suggest to me things that *I* could do to change my situation. If I made the statement to a friend that I felt like I was having to walk on glass all the time around my abuser then maybe that would have sent up a red flag to them to inquire a little further and point me in the direction of some resources that would have helped me to understand that what I was experiencing was actual abuse. If awareness to domestic violence was even just more heard of, by way of education in schools and churches, maybe pamphlets in a doctor’s office or awareness advertisements on TV or the radio, then maybe I would have realized I needed to check further into this subject myself. So yes, that is why domestic violence awareness is very important to me. It wasn’t so much there for me when I needed it but if it had been it might have changed lives for the better. In some cases it might have actually saved lives. It’s important to bring about awareness so that victims living in abuse today don’t have to suffer through years and years of it like some of us others did not realizing abuse for what it was. 137

Not realizing that there is help and there are people out there who do understand and don’t just turn the other way. Domestic Violence affects us all whether we are directly affected or indirectly affected. We as a whole society are affected by domestic violence and abuse. Our society needs to wake up and take notice, be educated, listen and learn the signs and what they can do to help. It’s time for us all to stand together and shout out “NO MORE ABUSE!” Debbie Naylor Cox is a writer for O.A.B.I. Voices United, a published author, and a survivor of domestic violence you can connect with her via Facebook by clicking the following link.


139 Photography credit Robert Syslo


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USA Call: 1 (713) 366-9284 Caribbean Call: 1.868.664.2707 Skype: Ansura2010 email: 43 Broadway, 2nd floor ARIMA DIAL MALL, Town Of Arima, Arima, Trinidad And Tobago 141

When Pushed To Abuse. By Healing Gods Men

Email: What a man believe to be true in the confines of his mind becomes true to him and that man will live that “truth” to the fullest even to the detriment of himself and others around him for that “truth” has been in grained in his mind for so long that he cherishes the thought of the said “truth” Reality what he holds as truth is not truth at all but a system of chaos which has been handed down to him by those who gave him his foundation from a child. If you take a fish out of the water which is its comfortable environment and the place where it survives and places that fish in the sand it will surely die if help does not come to it for it is now in an unfamiliar environment. As I sit to write this article I know that many may not agree with what I have to say if you disagree after reading this very short article then please be so kind and email me at the above listed address. If you somehow misunderstand anything I have written I implore you to do the same, and if you would like someone to talk too then please drop me a line I will read, listen, and not judge. A person who has been abused for a great part of their life has been exposed to a toxic environment; this environment in some way becomes comfortable for it is all that is known. A person who has been exposed to toxic relationships and chaos will look forward to receiving the same and will with a certain measure of unconsciousness give the same. Anything other than chaos is like taking the fish from its environment of comfort and survival and asking it to live in the sand; the difference is human beings are not fish. Both male and female victims of abuse somehow find comfort in these toxic environments while acknowledging in mind that they need something better. 142

The thing is, saying they need a healthy environment and accepting that environment is another thing for they still maintain the “truth” which has been imbibed into the mind from birth in many cases. That “truth” which they have been thought and which they have accepted is: “you are worthless” “You will amount to no good” “You caused me to abuse you” “You know that you feel good when I do those things to you” “This is what life is all about” “Everyone you meet will treat you the same way” “Everyone only wants one thing from you” “You are stupid” And the list can go on. There are victims who have been abused and who have met a wonderful companion however very soon they (the victim) begins to push and push and push until that person snaps and do one of two things leaves the relationship or lashes out with verbal and or physical abuse, after experiencing the outburst, and the pain of it something within them quiets. The companion on the other hand is now placed in a position of guilt and remorse and will now do anything to make it up to the victim and whatever the victim says. Sadly, another innocent person is caught in the seducing, subtle tangled web called the cycle of abuse. While another victim now begins to perpetuate the abuse which they hated and despised and swore to themselves that they will never abuse any one or push someone to become abusive. One of the reasons why this cycle continues is because the victim believes in the confines of his or her mind that they deserve to be mistreated, abused, disrespected, hated, and put down. To end this cycle of abuse the victim must seek help; there must be some sort of intervention 143

which will save the abused victim and also the companion who has been pushed to abuse. Please note that I am in NO WAY supporting any type of abuse I am just dealing with a reality which many advocates leave out. No one deserves to be abused and no one deserves to be pushed to become abusive, this is a social sickness which needs to stop, however it can only stop when you rise and take up the challenge of making persons aware, educating persons, change social norms, and take action. Educate your sons and daughters so that they would not fall prey and be pushed to become abusive, educate your sons and daughters in the prevention of abuse and sadly those who are victims of abuse encourage them to seek help so they would not die but live in an emotionally healthy environment and learn to accept the same. Caregivers and teachers the responsibility is yours to educate victims, teach prevention, educate potential victims, and those in your care who may be pushed to become abusive. I do not believe in new years resolutions for they never last, however I encourage you as the new year approaches to prepare yourself to be more active, more outspoken, and to encourage more education on this social sickness called abuse. It is against person’s human rights not to be able to live in a comfortable, emotionally strong, happy, healthy, peaceful, respected, and abuse free environment. Take a stand today and make it count for the children of the world are counting on us.






"The child who is abused to the extent that his personality is shattered just to end up with more abuse of all kinds". I'm doing a research on this topic for the last few years and now come to the conclusion that LEARNING is hampered drastically if a child is going through any kind of Emotional imbalances, regardless of the parental attitude, school environment , social set up, and his personality will be shattered to the point of NO RETURN. PARENTAL NEGLECT WHEN IT COMES TO PRE SCHOOL. It was 2011 September, when I was looking for a good MONTESSORI school to teach. So after hunting many, I landed in a preschool in Riyadh, KSA, very well-known for its materials and activities. It took me around a month to discover that it was a wrong place for me, as a child right activist and a Montessorian; I couldn’t understand what’s going on there. Children were treated as if they were robots, with no feelings at all. I will be sharing so many true stories in my next series; the one which horrified me is the one which I chose for my first series of writing. It was a beautiful day and children were extremely excited for their P.E. class. So it was French teacher’s duty on that day to take children to the Gym for exercise...I had some work, so I was busy inside my classroom. Forty minutes passed so quickly but that moment shook me up, leaving me devastated. I had to leave the school at about 12 noon as I had to catch my boy’s parent teacher conference in their school. So I took my purse and folder and was about to leave the classroom that I heard a noise, "stop running, and stop breaking the line”. I rushed there to see what wrong was going on, but simply couldn’t believe the thing which I saw. 148

The teacher was pushing the boy as if someone was throwing a toy to his room just passing by it. Oh my God, it was a real shock, I ran to him to save him from this CRUELTY, but the teacher pushed me and shouted, “he is now with me, who are you to run for?” I replied, "he is my student, I have all the right to help him”. The teacher pushed me hard enough that I hardly managed to balance myself from falling. The boy cried, ”Miss Erum, don’t leave me alone , please can you come to me, I hate Miss …….she threw me here ,look at my legs…aah. He was crying not with his eyes but I could see his Soul crying of helplessness. I found myself trapped ,got him out of the room and just comforted him and took him to the class ,where my assistant was waiting for the class to take over, I handed him to her and left the school. The very next day I approached my Co-coordinator and told her everything, I raised my voice clearly,” if I would be in some other country, I would file a case of CHILD ABUSE against your teachers. She was shocked, and calmed me down and assured me of taking the right action to eradicate all this. But even till this day nothing happened, nothing has changed and everything is going on as smoothly as can be in a preschool which is suppose to protect the children . I just cannot understand why and why the parents are not conscious enough to get the CLUES from the behavior of their children about what’s happening in the school. Till next time, please think over. 149



Breaking the Chains of Abuse; Ark of Hope for Children By Blair Corbet of Ark of Hope for Children

Ark of Hope for Children is a mission based organization that breaks the chains of abuse for victims of child abuse, child sex trafficking and child bullying. It is born out of Blair and Verna Corbett’s belief that all individuals deserve the opportunity to reach their God given potential. Many children have fallen victim to the horrors of abuse, yet deserve that same opportunity. Ark of Hope works with child and adult survivors to help them build upon their past abuse, using it as the foundation for their thriving future. Ark of Hope for Children currently focuses on three areas to help targeted young people; child abuse, child sex trafficking and peer abuse (childhood bullying). All three are filled with millions of individuals that were once targeted by abusers. They remain as emotional victims for years if they don’t receive loving guidance and support by nonjudgmental individuals with ‘ears to hear.’ “Listening is at the core of what we do and teach,” says Blair Corbett, “The world is far too short on good listeners and far too filled with advisors that could stand to do more of it.” The Corbett’s built on their own pasts that had enough of a variety of past abuse and neglect to cause them to leave the traditional workforce to use their experiences to help others. Initially we focused on children in foster care. We had married in 1998, Verna with two children and Blair as custodial parent of three. We all blended wonderfully with “hers” and “his” but we wanted some of “ours” too. 152

We chose to adopt special needs kids that had been through abuse and would be seen as unadoptable. We expanded quickly to a tribe of thirteen by 2001. These include parents Blair and Verna, ten children including five adopted from foster care, and Verna’s disabled ex-husband Ray. Life in our family is never boring, but usually peace-filled, loving and focused on others. Through the Corbett’s adoption experience they saw many pain-filled young faces and yearned to do more. We initially sought out gaps we could fill with children in foster care. We chose to attempt to build a community where siblings in U.S. foster care could remain together. As well intentioned as we were we could not raise enough funds to get homes built on the large property we were purchasing. Years into our plans Verna had severe complications from a surgical procedure that put her on deaths door many times. For a couple of years she was hospitalized, visiting ICU’s and rehab facilities for seven months off and on. In keeping to his marriage vows in an extreme way, Blair focused on Verna’s life and care, staying with her 24/7. Our amazing family of now mostly grown children focused on caring for themselves and together we all made it though. However we were not unscathed. Verna had to learn to walk again while donors, volunteers and board members had left for what they assumed were more active and greener pastures. Yet the entire time God was moving forward with their plans to help abuse victims in a direction they had not expected. Blair had been using the internet to help people struggling with many personal issues since 1992; before it was even called it the Internet. Blair, his best friend Mike Hawkinson, and two other dear online friends developed a chat room on a gaming network that was focused on Christ-like assistance for others in need. They moved from place to place, even into the darkest online depths with their chat rooms using Internet Relay Chat. 153

Surrounded by tens of thousands of others using the IRC for bad, we still focused on helping others. Mike built a website during that time called It remains online and was active for sometime after Mike’s passing in 2004 from disability complications. Helping others online through their days there have stuck with Blair through the years while he grew Ark of Hope for Children through a vast and growing social network presence. Hope filled victims of child abuse young and old began finding him. Throughout Verna’s months of hospitalization over that two year period Blair worked with dozens of survivors of extreme abuse. It started with one young male victim of ritual abuse and sex trafficking that reached out to Ark of Hope for Children on MySpace. From there it grew to many more; some under protection, others trying to find reasons to carry on. These survivors were most often physically “safe” but did not have local emotional help that they trusted or could afford. They sought Ark of Hope for Children out and opened up because they felt safe in that they could not see him face to face. This helps them through the initial guilt and shame that can make it impossible to speak to even a counselor in person about. This became extremely important as a growing number were males that had been victimized physically, sexually and emotionally through sex trafficking, ritual abuse and even demonic ritual abuse (SRA). They found someone in Blair that would not turn away and would not judge anything they were made to do. In 2011 Blair was approached by some wonderful ladies about helping develop an online live chat site that would be focused upon the needs of survivors in general. Through many ups and downs and three site builds, the website was completed. 154

The final site was built by Blair, Chris his partner at Ark of Hope and the ladies that founded Justice For All Revolution. The site continues today with 16 live chat rooms that are overseen by Blair and Ark of Hope for Children. Unfortunately donations to Blair’s nonprofit bottomed out as people did not see Ark of Hope’s very active presence functioning anywhere. With that in mind, Ark of Hope for Children is building a new site to be called that will house a new and improved multi-room live chat victim help site. The Removing Chains site will be able to recognize any type of electronic device including laptop, tablet or smart phone. It will include a new chat room experience that will also embrace both as soon as donations allow that to be purchased. Justice For All Revolution will still continue as well, gathering advocates and providing a wealth of resources for victims of all types including forums. Ark of Hope for Children and JFAR will work in tandem, but now donors will see Ark of Hope for Children shining brightly as a nonprofit organization that develops “Thrivers” from people victimized at the hands of others. Ark of Hope for Children will be taking that same focus and passion in two new arenas as well; childhood bullying (peer abuse) awareness and to providing safe houses for child sex trafficking victims. Peer abuse is exploding so we are planning to work alongside three other victim focused organizations that are passionately reaching out to bullying victims already. 155

Together we hope to create a force that will help whole communities embrace peace and kindness within their school systems allowing for a healthy learning environment. Long term shelters offering quality care for child sex trafficking victims is at a point of critical need. We see growing awareness and advocacy about trafficking in humans as the second largest industry in the world. Child sex trafficking is of huge importance to Ark of Hope as we have grown in helping survivors cope emotionally. Initially rescued children of sex trafficking were often treated as prostitutes and put into juvenile detention facilities. Then a move began for them to be placed into traditional foster care. Ark of Hope for Children knows firsthand that the traditional mom and pop foster home is not at all prepared to meet their needs. Nor are group facilities that are not often capable of providing a healthy, transforming environment. We encourage people to visit Ark of Hope’s international child trafficking statistics page as well as Ark of Hope’s Child Trafficking News Daily x2 to see the full breadth of the child portion of the human trafficking epidemic. Our online newspaper is updated twice daily by hundreds of global news gatherers all over the social networks tweeting stories they find. Ark of Hope for Children, partnering with Project For Healing Humanity, OABI Voices and others, asks; What are the needs of a rescued child sex trafficking victim? To answer that question is the only way to know how to attempt to meet their needs so they will become healthy, fully functioning and independent members of society. Following are many of their major issues that need to be met; 156

Safety; Once rescued, sex trafficking victims must come to know they are safe. Their abusers will likely want their source of daily income back at any cost. It is estimated that the average life span of a child trafficking victim is from 3 to 7 years. Victims have often experienced a fellow victim disappearing, never to return. Once rescued, if they do not sense safety quickly, they may run, choosing to live alone on street survival instincts instead. Or even return to their traffickers who they saw as safe. Trust; Sex trafficking victims are taught to only trust their abusers. A variety of mind control methods are used including physical and sexual abuse, drugs and more. They are taught that police, and all those in normal authority, are really the abusive bad people. With this in mind, once rescued, those who choose to provide a safe, caring environment must prove themselves trustworthy! This will take patience and unconditional love. A good care taker must be prepared to give ample space, ask many questions and truly listen without quick advice just to reach a level of trust. Male victims; We are a naïve society if we do not acknowledge that are large percentage of young males are also victims of child sex trafficking! We must learn from the Penn State / Jerry Sandusky / Second Mile horrors and realize that young boys are being sought out, victimized and targeted quite regularly. Canadian hockey, the Dancing Boys of Afghanistan, and on the history shows us. Yet the issue is not being addressed of how to identify young males being prostituted and in need of rescuing from the world’s second largest industry, human trafficking. How do we rescue if we don’t know the signs? How do we care for them if we don’t provide the space? Age of victims needing care; Child sex abuse statistics have proven that children are abused from under one year old until 18 years old. So the use of infants through young people in their mid twenties, both male and female, are also be targets for the child sex trafficking industry. The child porn industry that thrives on ALL of our social networks proves this to be true. 157

Sexually Transmitted Disease; Do we really think abusers, pimps and john’s practice safe sex? These young people need help with checkups and access to ongoing treatment. Drug and alcohol addiction; Drugs are a favorite form of control for traffickers. At first seeming to be the loving care giver for a victim may work, but not for long. Getting them hooked on drugs and becoming their provider is a way to get them to stay and remain controllable. Physical abuse; Victims are controlled by all means possible, including physical abuse, rape and more. Doctors are needed to treat a wide variety of physical damage to their bodies. Emotional scarring; Victims struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, ongoing nightmares, anorexia, self harm, flashbacks, very deep rooted fears and anxieties. Those are only the tip of their iceberg. We simply cannot think that once rescued a victim can move past these things without significant help. Even if they are able to bury it while they are young, psychiatry proves it will show itself again in adulthood in very traumatic, destabilizing ways. If a victim has been exposed to the horrors of ritual abuse or SRA in the process of their abduction and imprisonment, we should be prepared for a very long and patient healing process. Many cannot even speak of these horrors face to face with a therapist for a very long time without specialized help. Language barriers; Many child sex trafficking victims are brought in from other countries. This is another form of control; to get them to a place that does not speak their language. As for the United States and other wealthy countries, the insatiable desire for sex and the ability to pay for it, makes us a haven for the sex traffickers. Willingness to pay provides for a sex trafficking industry that can buy and sell victims many times over before the victims reach the end of their usefulness.


Sex addiction; This is an issue that MUST be addressed for each individual. Imagine being rented out from six to twelve times daily, seven days a week. But once rescued, being expected to just shut off sexual need cannot be expected without significant help. Habilitation / Rehabilitation; Rehabilitation implies that victims once experienced a healthy life and can recognize what that is once they are guided back to it. A physically or sexually abused runaway, or a child stolen from home at a young age, has no idea what a healthy life style even looks like. Victims need to be moved from a place of fear and being controlled on one side, all the way to hope-filled independent living on the other. They cannot do that on their own and it is irresponsible to think it can happen by their 18th birthday. Education; It is logical that a foster child may be one to two years behind their peers due to the abusive home environment, the move to foster care, and possibly bouncing from home to home. Now imagine the life of a child forced to live within the child sex trafficking industry and the lack of education they can have. These could be years behind their peers. But they need educational assistance to survive and thrive. We must provide plans and environments where that can take place without shame if they are to be expected to be healthy, self sustaining adults. We have posted these issues to show that specialized safe houses are needed for sex trafficking victims to become fully functioning “thrivers�. Traditional foster care would be hard pressed to meet these needs, and of course juvenile detention is unfathomable for a young person forced into prostitution for no personal gain. Ark of Hope for Children has worked closely with a very special young architect on how to build a self sustaining environment of healing for that exact purpose. Using all of the above and more, this has provided Ark of Hope with a well thought out architectural rendering of our Harbourage Safe Homes for Child Sex trafficking Victims. 159

The concept is to be unveiled in late 2012 at conferences, awareness meetings and partially on Ark of Hope for Children’s website. The concept for this self sustaining community is at the point of emergent need all around the U.S. We are hearing fairly regularly in the news of human traffickers being arrested in decent numbers. But where are the victims being taken? Not to places like we have envisioned because far too few exist. We need help getting this built very soon.

It is quite apparent that Blair Corbett and Ark of Hope for Children have an ever growing passion to see the needs of all types of child abuse survivors met. “The human trafficking industry is now the second largest industry in the world,” says Blair Corbett. “Why? Because the product is reusable for many years. When the shelf life of a sex trafficking victim is reached or when a child abuse victim has not received ample help, what happens to them? If they don’t die in their abusive situation, or by their own hand, they are still with us for years to come. Our streets are filled with homeless child victims young and old, as is our prison system. 160

You and I may not be perpetrators of abuse, but when we turn a blind eye or a deaf ear, Are we doing anything to help?” Ignoring the hundreds of thousands of victims still costs us dearly. Society worldwide has a large stake in healing abused and trafficked children. As Blair Corbett says, “We often hear from well intentioned groups that “It is easier to build a strong child than to mend men,” but when you transform a broken child the result is a priceless gem; able to withstand great fires and tests of endurance.” We hope you will help Ark of Hope for Children, O.A.B.I. Voices United, Project For Healing Humanity and the many other wonderful organizations that are willing to run into the fire to transform every abused child. We NEED you. All rights reserved. This article is copy written and may not be legally reproduced, or reprinted in any form without prior authorization and the written consent of Blair Corbett and Ark of Hope for Children


“In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl” (from Soul Destruction) Written by Ruth Jacobs Ruth Jacobs studied prostitution in the late 1990s, which sparked her interest in the subject. Her series of Soul Destruction novels dispel the 'happy hooker' myth and expose the dark world and the harsh reality of life as a call girl. She draws on her research and the women she interviewed for inspiration. She also has firsthand experience of some of the topics she writes about, such as posttraumatic stress disorder and drug and alcohol addiction. “In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl” is the unedited transcript from an interview Ruth Jacobs undertook with a London call girl in the late 1990s. It is an enlightening and moving, firsthand account of a woman’s life affected by prostitution, exposing the emotional, psychological and social effects of living that existence. All royalties from this publication are being donated to Beyond the Streets, a charity helping women exit prostitution. This charity publication and the cause is very close to Ruth’s heart, even more so because the woman she interviewed was a dear friend, a wonderful person, and who had a terribly sad life, with childhood sexual abuse and then being pimped on the streets from the age of fifteen. As she is no longer alive, this is the reason Ruth wanted the royalties to be donated to Beyond the Streets. 162


The stigma a significant section of society has against prostitutes and prostitution is mainly due to lack of knowledge. 75% of women working as prostitutes have been sexually and physically abused as children, 70% have experienced multiple rapes, and 67% meet the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder, which is a major cause of suicide. 95% have issues with drug addiction. Research shows that nine out of ten women working in prostitution would like to exit if they could. With this publication, Ruth hopes to show the reality of life for women working in prostitution, the effects it has on them psychologically, emotionally, in relationships with men, how they are viewed and how they feel they are viewed by society as outsiders and outcasts, often judged and looked down on. Seeing them as real people, with real feelings, and acquiring an insight into their tormented childhoods and painful present lives, allows people who are not in that life to gain an informed perception of who these women really are, and with that knowledge, are less likely to judge. “In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl” - Extract From a young age, from like being fifteen, I’ve been hardened to it. The first…when I first started doing it, I cried my eyes out every day and just scrubbed myself in bleach and…I felt like I’d been raped. It was just…it really screwed my mind up. And there’s this feeling when you get…when you’re with a client and it’s like sometimes when you feel like…you grab your fists and it’s like, “Get off me! Get off me!” And it’s like…you know you can’t push them off you, right? Because you know you’re getting paid for it. So it’s basically allowing yourself to be raped, right? 164

But you can’t even fight them back or say, “Get off me.” It’s like…and you cry while it’s happening and all this shit, and you go home and you cry yourself to sleep after all that shit, and it happens to you a lot of times until eventually that feeling goes away, and that feeling…you don’t get that feeling anymore. “In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl” is available to download from Amazon UK at for 77p and from Amazon US at for 99c. It is also available worldwide.

To learn more about Ruth Jacobs and the Soul Destruction series of novels visit her website at Ruth Jacobs on Twitter Ruth Jacobs on Facebook Soul Destruction on Facebook Soul Destruction on YouTube


Sex Work - There Is No Such Thing Written by XLondonCallGirl

XLondonCallGirl is “Living with the consequences of prostitution, abuse in childhood, rape, posttraumatic stress disorder, and recovering from drug addiction. Trying to do some good." I’ve heard a few people recently referring to women who work as prostitutes, in pornography and as strippers, as sex workers. This, I have to say absolutely riles me. Why does it? I am sure some people will have not the slightest idea with what could be wrong with the term sex work. Considering that working in prostitution, pornography or as a stripper is a form of abuse, referring to it as some kind of work normalises it. It makes it okay. It sounds politically correct. But let’s not fool ourselves here. This kind of “work” is abuse. It is abusive to the women and men and sometimes even children involved. To be on the receiving end of abuse, allowing abuse to happen to you, being forced to have abuse inflicted on you, is not a form of work. When I was a call girl back in the 1990s, I don’t know if anyone was using the term sex worker. Certainly, myself and the other working women I hung around with didn’t use that terminology. However, we had our own words for our own denial that we were harming ourselves. We didn’t call ourselves prostitutes, we called ourselves hookers, call girls and escorts. Though my friend Q would talk about her days as a streetwalker when she was originally forced into prostitution and I think of all my friends at that time, she was the one who would occasionally refer to herself as a prostitute. 166

But then at that time, she lived in flats in the most sought after streets in London, had the best designer clothes, expensive jewellery often given to her by clients, and was taken away on luxury holidays. She had it all on the outside, like most of us did though she did have it best, but like the rest of us, she was just as messed up, damaged, hurt and confused on the inside. We all needed to use that different vocabulary about ourselves to feed the denial that we weren't in fact prostitutes. That weren't acting out the sexual abuse we had suffered as children, thinking this time we were the ones in control, pulling the strings, having the last say. But when we were raped and beaten, that wasn’t the case, and that’s probably why we always just carried on working as if nothing had happened to us. Nearly every woman in that circle I knew well had told me of their childhood sexual abuse. Some of the others didn't discuss their abuse but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d suffered it too, we just weren't as close. We were used to being treated like sex objects. Some of us were called names like “whore” and “tart” and that self-fulfilling prophecy is what happened to us. We were viewed as sex objects when we were young, so we learned to treat ourselves as sex objects. We saw ourselves as sex objects. Sex is what men wanted from us, that was the commodity we traded in, so we may as well get paid for it. I thought I was selling my soul in a telemarketing job in my very early twenties. I wasn’t selling anything illegal, it was a business to business sales role, but because of my childhood abuse I came to a conclusion that a normal woman wouldn’t arrive at: that it would be better to have sex for money, work less hours and earn more money. As simple as that. I didn’t see anything wrong with women who worked in prostitution and I still don’t see anything wrong with them. I feel a deep sense of sadness for them now just like I feel a deep sense of 167

sadness for myself for putting myself through the ordeal for a few years and that I still pay a price for it now emotionally, psychologically, mentally, in relationships with men as well as friends, I have trust issues, the list goes on - that can be another post for another day. Sex is not a kind of work, stripping is not a kind of work and neither is pornography. They are kinds of abuse. It would be great if society could see it for what it is and stop using the term sex work, which they see is politically correct. Call it what it is - prostitution, stripping, pornography, but separate the woman from what she does. She is not what she does. She is still a woman. So don’t call her a prostitute, a stripper, a porn star/actress. Instead, call her a woman who is in prostitution, a woman who is in stripping, a woman who is in pornography. Don’t let her label become who she is and define her. She is a woman no more or less special than any other. She is deserving of the same respect as any other woman. For women in prostitution, pornography and stripping and who want to call themselves sex workers that is their choice. Just like it was my choice and my friends' choice to use terminology that made it seem okay to us our words being hookers, escorts and call girls. I am not here to tell those women what to call what they do, but I am asking society not to feed into that denial, not to let that denial spread and normalise abuse against women by calling it work. And one thought to leave on: In what other professions do 95% of people have issues with problematic drug use? Please visit to communicate with the author and read more articles which have been written by her. Permission must first be granted by the author before reproduction of this article. 168


Freedom is Glorious Written by Stella Rhea

I've been working alone the past two days, and instead of taking out the scissors and cutting my hair, I took out an old CD of pictures and remembered how far I have come in this journey. I found pictures of the animals I left behind so very long ago ~ his pets who were like children to me ~ I teared up at their precious faces and remembered how much I love and miss them every day. Then I found some pictures of me taken in my old rental office on campus the night before my 41st birthday. And I was amazed at how clear and blue and full of life my eyes were in each picture. The weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I stood tall and proud. The color was back in my face, and my face was fuller because I had finally started to regain the weight I had lost when my food intake was so limited on the weekends. My eyes sparkled in those pictures. I could not stop staring at myself. The pictures were proof that I was free. That I was me again. I looked at the CD and reached for a snack. And I thought about how I can eat whatever I want now. There is no watchful eye mentally counting my calories ~ keeping the cupboard bare. I am no longer charged $20 to eat a homecooked meal. I am no longer ridiculed for not cooking that home-cooked meal myself. I can do what I want, say what I want, feel what I want, wear what I want. I am not some dress-up doll used to cloak in leather to be propped up on the back of a motorcycle for the whole valley to see ~ no I am middleaged now, often without make-up, and finally comfortable in my own body not to care if I am not perfect. Because perfect was never good enough anyway. I can speak again. I have a voice. I can have an opinion on anything I want. 170

I see my family again on all holidays. I do not have to lie about where I am living. Where I am going. What I am doing. There is no shame anymore. No more secrets. Even the writing I am doing has eliminated the secrets from the people I care about the most. I think about all of these changes as I ponder what it is like for him to be sitting in jail right now. To have his freedom finally taken away from him. To be told what to do, when to do it. And to be isolated from family and friends. It took the news of his jail sentence to wake me up to what I had blocked out for so long. To bring those horrible memories back up to the surface in dreams, flashbacks, and fleeting moments of sadness. To finally realize that I had to write down my truth, or they would never go away. He would still be controlling me in my head through those nightmares, those flashbacks. He would still be present in my life if I did not get rid of him by writing down all the ugliness of our time together and sharing it with the world. He never wanted me to be a writer. He made fun of my dream every day. And it hit me today that the irony of my life story is that one of the biggest stories of my life will now be about him. And maybe there will come the book or the screenplay out of all of this ugliness that I have shared with the world. Because if you can skim off the scum, if you can sand down the rust, beneath the surface of all that pain and sadness is the beauty that was once there ~ that was once my life ~ that was once me. Beneath the surface lies the freedom that never really left my side. Freedom was waiting in the distance for me all along. Freedom was God taking care of me through the whole ordeal and seeing me through to the other side. Where life is precious and pure and sweet. Freedom led me to a new life where I can now help others as they had once helped me. Freedom came with its own price ~ the scars beneath the surface that may have scabbed over ~ in order for me to survive. But those scars are my battle wounds for my freedom. I paid the price for a new life. I earned my freedom. I survived. 171


SECOND CHANCES BY ANGELICA HARRIS Š Angelica Harris July 31, 2012 Second Chance is a gift A place to find hope among despair And seek to mend the broken soul Second Chance is a gift A place to pursue an adversary Take no prisoners- -charge on! A Second chance it a gift A place where you can revisit a Dream thought lost in the dust A Second Chance is a gift A Place where doubt can be Washed away, and self esteem restored A Second Chance is a gift A place where pain is no longer held Binding us unimaginable anguish A Second Chance is a gift of Faith, when all is lost and nothing Seems to be going your way A Second Chance is a gift When no one thinks you are worth A damn, yet deep within YOU Do!! A Second Chance is a gift One that comes around When we need it most A Second Chance is a gift From those who believe in you So take the new path and rise anew.


The Coach Is In With Rachel Grant

Rachel Grant is the owner and founder of Rachel Grant Coaching. Rachel is also a Trauma Recovery & Relationship Coach. She is also the author of Beyond Surviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse. With her support, clients learn to identify and break patterns of thought and behaviour that keep them from recovering from past sexual abuse or making changes in their relationships. Rachel holds an M.A. in Counselling Psychology. With this training in human behaviour and cognitive development, she provides a compassionate and challenging approach for her clients while using coaching as opposed to therapeutic models. Rachel is a member of the International Coach Federation & San Francisco Coaches. 174

Believing, Healing Is Possible But I’ve tried to get over this before! Shouldn’t I be better already? I know other people have healed, why can’t I? Often the first hurdle to jump over in any journey of recovery is to put to rest (or at least put on mute for a while) your inner critic and doubter. I know you’ve been to therapy, I know you’ve read books, I know you’ve tried just about everything under the sun and you are still running in circles. Or maybe you are just now admitting to yourself that the abuse happened and that you need to deal with it. Sometimes, it takes just one experience to make everything fall into place. Sometimes, it is a variety of experiences. “Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, because they are looking for ideas.”  Paula Poundstone How fabulous is that! I know I am still wondering about what I will be when I grow up, and I know many of the folks around me are thinking about this, too. For me there are the added questions of “Is it too late?” and “Shouldn’t I have accomplished more by now?” I took a bit more time than most to finish my undergraduate studies. Then I spent some time roaming the halls of an elementary school trying my hand at teaching, all while learning a lot about myself. When I moved to California, I focused on child development (and napping) as a nanny before turning my attention to psychology and coaching. Each stage of my life has in some way built upon the previous one. Most days, I appreciate my wiggly journey. Some days, I agonize about it, because I feel that I am many paces behind those who followed the straight and narrow. 175

When we feel the pressure to make our mark, crave the pride of achievement, desire to experience ourselves at our best, or want more than anything to be fully recovered, our first point of reference for measuring where we stand is often what others are doing or have done. Is there real value in this exercise of comparison? It depends on what our ultimate goal is. I see at least two possible outcomes from engaging in this sort of reflection. If our goal (though possibly an unconscious one) is to reinforce negative ideas we have about ourselves as being less than, incapable, flawed, etc., comparing ourselves to others is like a gateway drug to selfdeprecation. There can be real value in seeing how we measure up to others. But if we cannot compare ourselves to others without becoming depressed, exasperated, defeated, and pitiful, then this is not a healthy choice for us. However, if our goal is to do something about our current situation and to move forward despite time, age, or circumstances, then it is possible to be inspired, motivated, encouraged, and educated as a result of comparing ourselves with others who have acquired that which we desire. In other words, through curiosity and study of their straight journey, we may add some arrow-like qualities to our own paths. In my case, I can look to a coach who is my age, has my education, but is much further along, and think to myself, “Damn it, see, if only I hadn’t ...,” or I can look to see how this person got to where she is and learn—and perhaps learn quickly! Likewise, we can keep ourselves in a loop of comparing where we are in our journey of recovery relative to others, lamenting that we aren’t fully recovered yet, or we can set about doing the work and learning from those who have gone before us. We only have one life journey. Whether it be a wiggly one or a straight and narrow one, it is ours. So, for all of my wiggly friends out there, move, be active, learn, and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by self-deprecating thoughts. 176

Just as we might discover who we want to be when we grow up from kids, we also do well to remember the lesson of the age-old Aesop fable The Tortoise and the Hare. It’s not how quickly you can get to where you want to be, it is whether you get there at all. Reflection How open are you to the possibility of healing? What gets in the way of you believing you can heal? How do you compare yourself to others? .


MY HISTORY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Written by Jenny F. EPISODE 1 In February 2007 I was home with over 100 stiches in my stomach from an operation. I had been home 5 days, when I decided I really needed to visit my Doctor. I felt depressed and it was worsening. I had been very teary before the operation. My husband came with me. When my Dr. asked why I thought I was depressed, I replied that I was worried about our marriage; that I was upset at things that had been happening. D….immediately launched into a tirade about kids and things at home. I knew even then there was no point in trying to have a reasonable discussion with him. My Dr. gave me a prescription for antidepressants, and told me to come back the following week. She had guessed that I couldn’t communicate properly with D….there. As soon as we got in the car, D….hit the roof. Literally. He was shouting, loosing his temper. Banging on the roof of the car. It was hard to know what he was shouting about, except that he obviously didn’t like me saying that that I was depressed about our marriage. This shouting continued all the way home. He continued shouting at home, and bashed the air conditioner. I choose not to reply to any of D….’s accusations at that time, as they were so out of line. I was lying down. D….said. “how can you be lying down like that”? I replied that the specialist said I was meant to lie down regularly in the first week or two. I still had my stitches in. The following week I visited my Dr. and told her what had occurred after my last appointment. EPISODE 2 Around July of that year, my two step children went to the Police, with their Mother of course, and laid charges against my daughter. They claimed she assaulted my step daughter. My stepson was the key witness 178

and it was his statement that enabled the police to pursue this. As I was present at the incident they were referring to, I wrote a witness statement, after my daughter was interviewed. The Police would not let D… in on the interview. For at least two years after that, D… blamed me for not refusing to go ahead with the interview, even though he knows the Police had said they would proceed with charges if the interview didn’t go ahead. Eventually it was dropped. I was and still am, horrified that they, particularly my stepson, could lie so much. The latter was nearly 14, so it was no good D… telling me they were too influenced by their Mother. Of course, their Mother was an evil influence, but D… and I had spent hours, days, weeks and years, emphasising what telling the truth is. At the time, D… was supportive of my daughter and made it clear he knew his kids had manipulated and lied. To this day, I have not got over what those kids did. I couldn’t move on from it, because D…, by his subsequent behaviour, wouldn’t let me move on. EPISODE 3 Throughout that year, even though there were a number of good times with D…, and I still loved him very much, there were still problems. Most of the problems related to loosing his temper. It was very difficult to communicate with D…. He would resort to putdowns, or calling me names. “Shut up” was a favourite. He called me a “dickhead” at least once. He would accuse me of “lying around all day giving out orders”. D… was often negative towards me. A lot of it seemed to be related to his kid’s very bad behaviour, and the fact that they modelled off their Mothers behaviour. He couldn’t come to terms with this. Although I had mentioned a few times, that we see a marriage guidance counsellor, he refused to go. In November of 2007, I made an appointment myself to see a Marriage Counsellor. The Counselling was excellent, but very honest. He said he couldn’t do anything to help, as D… wasn’t there. He also clearly stated that I should leave D…; that his behaviour was domestic violence and that it would get worse. His hitting of objects would escalate to assaulting me. 179

I didn’t follow his advice. I really wanted to save our marriage. Four days before Christmas, 2007, D…’s son, then aged 14, threatened, or attempted to assault me, because I was telling his sister off for shouting whilst I was driving in peak hour traffic. D… was at work at the time. When he got home, around 11am, he went to bed in the spare room. He made no effort to console me, hug me or even talk to me. At 4.00am, he sent a text to my parents and brother telling them: “Christmas was cancelled. J….. doesn’t want me to see my family”. We were supposed to host Christmas that year, and for the first time ever, my brother and his family were coming. He told me the next day to go to my parents or brothers for Christmas. I refused. What he really wanted was to have his kids all to himself on Christmas Day, and not have me, his wife, present. EPISODE 4 We had some good times the following year, 2008, mainly when D…’s children weren’t here. Whenever we took them on an outing or on holidays, they fought and spoilt things. D… decided that year to go to a Lawyer to try and get access to his kids for half the school holidays. We already had them for 35% of the time. He wanted additional time, so he could take them on longer holidays. I wasn’t very keen on the idea, as the previous year with their false allegations, showed me what they were really like.. But I wanted to support D… getting greater access to his kids. I went to most Lawyers appointments with D…. As time went on, I could see this was not likely to be successful. I strongly suspected the kids would lie in Court. The situation became more and more stressful, as I didn’t want D… to go on to the Court stage. It had already cost me thousands, and I had far less confidence in his kids. The night before we were to see the lawyer ( Sept 29) to get the Family Report, D… assaulted me. We had been arguing, as usual. 180

There was no way I could reason with D…. When he looses his temper, he becomes irrational. I went to bed and tried ignoring his shouting and abusive comments. He wouldn’t stop. He was in the toilet, and I heard him banging, deliberately on the wall next to my daughters bedroom. It was already very late, and she was supposed to get up at 4.00 am for swimming training. I rushed in there & tried to get him out of her room. He wanted to tell her his version of whatever he was carrying on about. After repeated efforts, I got her light off and left the room and D…. followed. He pushed me on the back all the way down the hallway. I thought then he was out of control (though later I was made to understand that he knew exactly what he was doing). I went to the phone. D… snatched it out of my hand and broke it. My daughter came out of her bedroom at that stage. D… stood in front of me, put his hands around my neck ,squeezed and tried to strangle me. Despite me screaming “let go, let go”, he wouldn’t release his hands. I was terrified. My daughter screamed at him and tried to pull D… off me (from his back). When he finally let go, we both rushed next doors to the neighbours and woke them up to let us in. I was distraught, even more so than my daughter. From my neighbours phone I rang the Domestic Violence Hot Line. They offered me Emergency accommodation for the night. The Police came. After interviewing both of us for quite some time, they met me again and the PO said that it was obvious that D… had tried to deflect from the real incident by claiming that he was concerned about me, i.e., they said he was trying to cover his tracks. They also made it clear that they believed me. After one hour or more, they took D… to a hotel and told him he was not to approach me for 24 hours, which I might add, he broke within 12 hours. It was made apparent to me that D… knew exactly where to squeeze in my neck, with both hands, in the pressure points where it would hurt a lot, but not leave bruising. I had pain in my neck, on both sides, for at least 48 hours after the assault. The following day the Police Family Violence Section of Sturt Police rang and asked me to attend, which I did on the next day. They asked me to lay charges, but I refused. How as I going to lay charges when he was still living in my home? 181

The consequences would have been horrendous. The Police Officer told me I should change the locks when he was out of the home one day. I was too scared to to do that. I badly wanted to save my marriage, because I believed I still loved D….. The PO (Simone) said that if ever they were called out to a DV incident with D…., they would arrest him; they would lay charges and they would take out a restraining order on my behalf. She was very firm on this and clearly concerned that I wasn’t laying charges immediately. The following day, D… went to the Lawyer for the final report. We had lost. Yes, he got them for half the school holidays, but lost 2 nights per fortnight, overall, a loss in contact time. The kids had told the most appalling lies in Court. It cost me $30,000 which came out of mine and my daughter’s investment fund (from her late Father). D… stayed in denial about the whole assault incident and still does. He never apologised and never tried to make it up to me. The following week after the assault, we were all supposed to go to Mildura for the week. The day after the assault, D… told me he wasn’t going. This was his way of “punishing” me. He knew I badly wanted a really good holiday with him. At the last moment he changed his mind, at my request. His children and my daughter came too. At Mildura, I told one parent from the swimming club about the assault. Also whilst there, I got very upset one day at the way D… was setting me up, with his “looks” and frustrated behaviour. I broke down and cried a lot. This was only ten days after the assault. On the way back from Mildura, we were picked up at a random fruit fly inspection and fined. My step daughter had an apple with her. They then inspected our esky, and found some vegetables, which apparently are fruit. D… blamed me for that for years after too, even though it was his daughter who had the apple. EPISODE 5 There were some okay times the rest of that year, but every now and then, D… would loose his temper. This became more frequent. 182

The verbal and emotional abuse was the worse, always accusing me of not cleaning, not doing this, criticising me with almost everything. It became so demoralising and I often cried. D… would never console or support me in any way when I was upset. My daughter, then 15, was the one who supported me during those times. One day, a member of the swimming club rang me, very concerned about the violence I was suffering. They had seen me teary at my daughters swimming training sessions. I was forever grateful that someone at the club cared. I had told almost no one of the DV, especially my family or D…’s family. In the meantime, we had increasing problems with D…’s children. One night, when D… was lecturing his son, David Jnr, he sneaked into the bathroom and called the Police. He didn’t want to listen to his Fathers talk about his behaviour, so he rang the Police and suggested he was unsafe in our house. I believe his Mother set him up to this. The Police attended and spent some time talking to both D…s and myself. They did not remove D…’s son from our house, as he was clearly safe. D… was very upset with his son’s behaviour over this. This is one of many incidents we had with both D…’s children over the years, where they lied to their Mother, to us, to the Police, to Families SA, etc. Thought out all these difficulties with D…’s children I supported him whole heartedly. EPISODE 6 Communicating between D… and I was seriously failing by now. His idea of communication was to tell me what to do, or to give me his views on things. If I disagreed with anything, he would say I wasn’t listening. His idea was that he would lecture me on something, but I wasn’t allowed to respond. If I did, D… would say I was arguing with him. He wanted total control over communication. There was nothing I could do or say that was right. One of his “catch phrases” was respect. He would insist that I didn’t respect him. Yet, he was the one who told me to “shut up” or that I was a “dickhead”. He would often make allegations that he couldn’t substantiate. 183

One of his favourite ploys was to convince me that he had two black names against him where he worked and that it was my entire fault. They, being the DV assault report and the fine for illegal fruit. He had wanted to rise to a more senior position, and it was entirely my fault that he perceived he couldn’t do so now. D… often slept in another bed. He did this to punish me. He would start an argument, become abusive, and then try to refocus his abuse on me, by sleeping elsewhere to indicate in his mind that it was my entire fault. D… very often emotionally abused me by denying all affection, kissing, hugging, holding hands, saying he loved me, and sleeping in the same bed. He could do this for two weeks straight. He would only cease this when his children were due to visit for three nights. It didn’t matter that my daughter, and myself would have to put up with this. One night when we were arguing yet again, my daughter, then aged 15, spoke up. She was fed up with Dave’s constant critiscms and complaints, and wanted to have her say. D… responded by threatening her. He said he would: “Come and get her”. He then came over to me, leaned over my face, and said the same thing: “And I will get you next”. I took this as a direct threat, physically, to myself and my daughter. At least twice that year, I asked D… to leave home and live elsewhere. I even suggested a temporary separation. He always refused. He would threaten to take away half my assets, or make me sell my Penneshaw house ( I had a lot of assets from my late, first husbands marriage). Also said “You will never meet another man” “I will never leave this house”. EPISODE 7 In Feb 2009 we went to Renmark for a two day swimming carnival. I was making sandwiches for five people for the following day. I went into the bathroom to wash my hands and discovered that one of the children had 184

used the only white hand towel for a bathmat (and there was a bath mat present). It was filthy, covered in dirty feet marks and couldn’t be used. I returned to the main room and asked all three children, who had used the hand towel as a bathmat and made it very dirty? I heard a combination of voices saying “wasn’t me”. As I expected a truthful reply, I asked the question again. D…. “hit the roof”, shouting at me not to “go on about things”. This is another tactic of D…’s to deflect from his children’s bad behaviour. He does not want them disciplined for absolutely anything. I knew it was (his daughter) who had done this, as she recently had showered in there, but I didn’t want to accuse her outright. I thought it fairer to ask. I was furious at D… yet again, telling me “not to go on about things”, and the fact that he was clearly covering for his children. A loud argument occurred between us. At the time, as I was making sandwiches for the following day. The argument lasted a few minutes, and I gave up making sandwiches and went outside. D….came out and said that we should go home the next day, that my daughter should not complete her second day of the swimming carnival. I refused, as I considered it very unfair on her that D…’s and my argument should affect her swimming and all the hard training she puts into it. I told D… he could leave if he wanted to and my daughter and I would get a ride back to Adelaide with other club members. He stayed, but did not come to the carnival to see her compete. Later he said that “swimming is boring”. He said this in front of my daughter. Quite regularly that year, D… would make negative comments about my daughter’s swimming. It would be the cost, or that I was obsessive with swimming, or that I “sat on my bum all day at swimming doing nothing”, etc. He became totally unsupportive and I don’t believe saw her compete once that year. She was aware of D…’s attitude to her swimming, and her performance dropped off a lot. I believe D… was jealous that he couldn’t get his children to do anything, despite encouragement from both of us to take up a sport or hobby. We had tried for years to get his son involved in activities, including cricket, soccer, Baptist Youth Group, Scouts and the Air Force Cadets. 185

We finally got his daughter involved in swimming lessons later that year, and this turned out to be the end of our marriage. EPISODE 8 Around June of that year 2009, D… and I were arguing at night. He got very aggressive and violent. My daughter was very scared. D… had previously broken the phone and the bedside lamp (gift from my parents), and he was getting quite nasty. Eventually he stormed out of the house. My daughter approached me and said she was scared of what would happen when D… came home. I tried to reassure her that D…. wouldn’t risk another assault after the last one. I did seriously consider sleeping in her bedroom, but as there was no way I could make myself comfortable, I slept in my bed. D… returned home later that night. My daughter was unable to get up at 4.00am for training and refused to go to school. By the following day, I could see something was very wrong with her. She said to me.. “ I don’t feel quite right. But it’s not a virus. I feel weird.”. She was very teary. I got her into the Doctor, and she diagnosed Acute Stress Attack and Depression, a direct result of D…’s verbal and emotional abuse from the previous night, and a build up from the physical assault on me the year before. The Doctor gave her brochures on Domestic Violence and Depression. My daughter had the rest of the week of school. She was in year 11 and doing difficult subjects including physics. She also missed all swimming training that week, which was not good as the short Course State Championships were coming up the next month. When she returned to school the following week, the Deputy Principal, Penny Tranter approached her, and said that if ever they were even slightly suspicious that she was being abused in any way, they would report D… to Families SA. I had rung Ms. Tranter during the week my daughter was absent. The previous year, I had told one of the school counsellors about the Domestic Violence at home, and how it was affecting my daughter. EPISODE 9 186

Around late July D…’s Mother, over a four week period, fell very ill and died. D… was distraught through out the whole time. I did my best to support him, but he claimed I did absolutely nothing. This is so false, and so cruel. I had always got on extremely well with D…’s mother. Through this period it was very difficult getting information out of D….. I would want to know how she was, what was happening, etc. D… would say, “Why do you want to know everything?” At times, I had to text his sister or sister in law to find out what was happening. On the night my Mother in Law died, most of the Family were with her, but not me. I could hardly leave a 16 year old in the house on her own and travel one hour across the city, be there until 3.00 am, then travel back. I was up at 4.00am, when D…told me she would last no longer than 2 hours. I took my daughter to training and when I returned home, asked D… had he heard anything yet? This was misunderstood by D…, and he went ballistic at me. After she died, it was one week before the funeral. Her belongings had to be cleared up within weeks. Every time I offered to help, there was a problem. I went with D… the first time to clean up, and no one arrived until later and almost no clean up was required. The second I went with D… to sort out funeral details, I was told when I got there that only immediate family members were involved. That’s fine, but I wasn’t told that by D…, and so spent a day doing nothing. I got blamed by one of his sister’s for this. The third time I started going with D… for a clean up, we got 5 minutes drive away, and D… decided I shouldn’t come, because he didn’t know if he would be home in time for me to take my daughter to swimming training. He was in a shitty mood again, with me. I gave helping with the clean up at that stage. Three nights before the funeral D… acted very strangely when he came to bed. It was like he was having a “turn” of some sort. I tried to calm him down by rubbing his back. He couldn’t or wouldn’t reply to me. He was making strange sounds and saying things that didn’t make sense. He never spoke about the incident. I had thought it may have been some sort of anxiety attack, but after describing it to a mental health nurse, she said it was far more serious than that. 187

Later the family went through my mother in laws extensive jewellery collection. When D… came home with his share, he didn’t show it to me, he just put it away. Later, I saw a sister in-law with a ring that she proudly announced was from Granna. D… gave me nothing, nor my daughter, who had been a better grandchild to Granna than what D…’s two children had ever been. Later, when I read his sister’s affidavit, I found out that some jewellery had been chosen for me. To this day that still hurts, that I received nothing from Granna after her death, via D…. EPISODE 10 Everything deteriorated after that. He was sullen and uncommunicative a lot. He could be angry with me at the drop of a hat. When he really “lost it” he would do that stand over posture, where he comes up real close and stands over me. He has done that numerous times. Whenever his children came here, he would ignore me. Rather than come to bed with me, he would stay up late watching TV with his kids. It wouldn’t be at all unusual for D… to come home, not kiss me and go straight to his children and just ignore me. Around this time after one of our arguments, I asked him to leave, that we should separate, even if temporarily. He refused. I first begged him to attend counselling in Nov 2007 and he refused to go with me. In around July 2009 I again requested that we go to Marriage Counselling. This was after we had rung Crisis Care. D… eventually he agreed because I said there is no point in staying together if he did not love me, and we cant stay together purely for financial reasons. When D…. agreed to attend marriage counselling, he said he would only go: “If I did what the counsellor told me”. When I replied that I expect him also to do what the counsellor suggested, he looked at me in astonishment. 188

I know that at D…’s solo counselling, he was invited to attend a workshop type course for people with anger/ temper problems. The counsellor had clearly indentified our situation as a DV one. D… refused to go. At one of the sessions, D… told the counsellor: “J…. believes she has the right to respond to what I say”. That’s correct. I do. This gave me and the counsellor an insight into D…’s level of thinking in respect to power and control. Most times after counselling, I would cry all the way home, which made D…. very angry at me again. After attending one session each on our own, and a few together, D… refused to go anymore. He has told friends in writing that the counsellor was on my side, and that’s why he wouldn’t go. Later he insisted that I was the one who refused to continue counselling. Another thing D… did was set me up regarding my hearing loss. It is only slight, about 5% in one ear. D… would deliberately talk to me from another room, knowing I could not distinguish every word through doors and walls. He would then accuse me of “not listening properly”. He did that a lot, and accused me of not doing anything about my hearing. In fact, I had been to a specialist and nothing could be done about this slight loss. Another constant critiscm was my snoring. I had tried every device possible to stop snoring and nothing worked. It runs in my family. He would wake me up repeatedly at night and demand that I stop snoring. He would push me around the bed, to get me to roll over and once hit me to stop snoring. Eventually I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and got a CPap machine, but he complained then about the air coming out of the end (which was noiseless). On one holiday, he constantly complained and pushed me around at night and this destroyed the holiday for me. Another thing he would do was force me to walk long distances. I had problems with aching feet, but didn’t know why. D… would say I was unfit, and get angry with me for not wanting to walk as far as him. On one forced walk I was in tears due to my aching feet. I had told him about my aching feet. Eventually, after our separation, I was diagnosed with a 189

disabling foot condition that caused my feet spasm. EPISODE 11 On Mon 28, my daughter and I visited the swimming centre and booked my step daughter into a lesson time slot. This would ensure that she had a booking there, ready to begin in the new term. I had the details to pass onto her Mother, who would be free to change times. When my daughter and I returned home after this, we were excited to tell her that we had booked the highest level swimming lessons for her. She seemed odd about it, and said we would need to tell her Mother. I replied of course, that I have the info for her and she can change times as she wishes. D… and I were concerned at his daughter’s strange change in attitude and tried to convince her that everything was fine. Unknown to us, D….’s (son) and daughter sneaked into a bedroom and rang their Mother. Later whilst I was cooking tea, I heard D…on the phone to his ex. As I could hear a few words about swimming, I asked my step daughter: “What did you tell your Mum?” D…’.s (son) shouted out at me... “Leave her alone” I replied, in no uncertain terms that he was not in a position to tell me what to do now, or at any other time. I was very annoyed at him. D……, who was on the phone, told me to “shut up”. As I don’t appreciate being told to shut up, I responded to this too. D…. got off the phone and I left the room to continue cooking tea. I heard D…. shouting and totally loosing his temper at his children. He totally went ballistic. I didn’t go in the room, but as there is a wide, double open door I could hear everything. It would appear that his children had said something very bad to their Mother. To this day, I don’t know what they told her, nor what she (D….’s first ex) told him on the phone. My daughter came down, as it was very apparent that D…. had totally lost his temper again, this time with his children. He picked up his mobile phone and smashed it on the coffee table. My daughter came to me and said: 190

“Quick, call the Police. D…. is really upsetting his children, they are both crying.” I wasn’t sure what to do at the point. I quickly finished getting tea ready, and went into the lounge room as tried to calm D…. down by telling him tea was ready, and why don’t we all go and eat it. He didn’t calm down and the shouting and temper went on for about 30 minutes. Although I agreed with what D…. was telling his children, I didn’t agree in the manner in which he was saying it. I didn’t interfere. Next, D…. decided to start on me. He came into the family room and starting his usual shouting and making nonsense accusations at me. I knew with certainty that having a reasonable discussion with D…. would not occur, if I tried the calm approach. I knew that responding to his accusations would not work either. So I blocked my ears. Silly though it sounds, it seemed the best way to not hear D….’s accusations which generally always upset me. Shortly after that, D…. went into his son’s room and they had a brief “tete a tete”. D…. then went up to my daughter’s room and asked her if she wanted to go to MacDonald’s with them. She denied the invitation. D…. and his children both walked out, saying nothing to me, and I noticed that D…’s (son) had quickly packed his backpack and took it with him. I heard nothing more from them that night. I don’t know what D…. intended to do with my daughter, had she accepted the invitation to go to MacDonald’s? Much later that night, I texted his sister, G…, and asked if they were at her place? There was no reply. The following morning, I was quite worried, as in D….’s deranged mental state, I don’t know what he would do. I decided one more time to try contacting him, and then I would call the police and report him and the children missing. Fortunately he replied to my text, and said to “leave me alone”. He had left me (not as in separation) with no money and no way to pay the now overdue AGL bill. D…. and his children returned two days/ nights later. After he returned with the children there was very little communication between anyone. D… would not give me the visa card to buy food, which is very strange. 191

He insisted on buying the food himself. He would not kiss me, hug me, hold hands or make love. He wouldn’t even let me sit next to him to watch a movie. Three days before leaving for Mildura, D… asked me to go to the Doctor and get a higher dose of antidepressants, or to change brands. He said that he did not want a repeat of last years episode of me breaking down and crying at Mildura (which was ten days after the assault). He thought that the reason my depression was worsening was because the medication was no longer working. I looked at him in astonishment. It was very obvious to me why I was depressed. Rather than argue about this, I agreed to go to my Doctor. This I did and told my Doctor everything. He agreed that if my depression was worsening, it was definitely due to the domestic violence I experienced, and that it was a wonder I had not had a nervous breakdown. We both agreed that the solution was not more medication, but to separate from D…. When I got home, I discretely told D…. that I was not getting more meds or changing brands, that the Doctor said it was due to circumstances at home. D…’s reply was: “So it’s my entire fault, is it?, to which I didn’t reply. Two days before we were due to leave for Mildura, I asked D… if he was going to act like a normal husband whilst way. He said NO. I replied that he wasn’t to come to Mildura then, and whilst my daughter and I were there, I wanted him to leave my house. It was the end for me. I could no longer stand the DV, and realised that D… didn’t love me, and may not have for a long time. He argued about the Mildura trip. I asked him: “why on earth would you want to come, if you don’t want to act like a normal husband?” to which he didn’t reply. D… then started his usual insults: “I wouldn’t want to spend five hours in the car with you and your daughter anyway” “Your car will break down on the way and you won’t make it” “You only married me for my money” … (really!! he had no money). “You will never meet another man”… 192

He also stormed into my daughter’s room and removed the speakers she was to bring with her laptop, so we could hear DVDS, at Mildura. That night, shortly after we went to bed, D… made a physical move on me. It wasn’t love; there was no kissing or cuddles. It was more of a rough move to initiate sex. I refused. He tried again in a forceful way and said aggressively: “This is what you want, isn’t it?” I was getting worried at that point about D…’s intentions. I firmly refused again and he did back off. In a Family Report, D…’s first wife accused him of sexually abusing her., and being abusive. Years ago, I had seen an email from D…. boss from work, saying that she (the ex) could take out an AVO on him. That was the end of our marriage. A lot worse was to come after we separated as D…tried to rewrite history.


Dear S.B, I am married but I am unhappy and have been avoiding having intimacy with my husband, I think I have fallen out of love with him but I have no other person in my life I think our marriage has run it course. What should I do? Confused ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Confused, There must have been something which brought on this feeling of unhappiness as it did not happen over night, what I would tell you is to honestly sit down and see what has caused you or is causing you to feel this way. Being in a marriage where you continue to avoid intimacy is not fair for you nor for your spouse and you may be pushing him to break his marriage vow. You may have entered the marriage with certain expectations and over time these expectations have not been realized or reached, you can begin by having an honest discussion with your husband then you both can seek to restore your marriage. Always seek to mend and bring healing before you break up and walk away from your marriage, I will also like to tell you to look within yourself and see if the problem may lye with you while you push the blame over to your husband. Finally you both need to seek counseling find a good family life or marriage counsel and make an appointment. 


Send your questions to 194

Dear S.B, I feel like a complete failure, I have not accomplished anything in this life and I do not have the finances to get anything done or better my position, the hardest thing is that there is no one to help me and I hate the holidays and new year which is coming. What can I do? In Need of Help ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear In Need of Help, I feel your pain and frustration but I am sure that you have accomplished much in your life, you may not have done as much as others have or you not have the finances to do what you would like to but you are definitely not a failure. I know there are so many who are trying to get help and it seems as though no help can be received life is hard very hard for some, I encourage you to not give up. When you may think of giving up then help is right around the corner a stranger may just make your day better, in the mean time visit a nearby church and tell them of your pains and misfortunes, you can also check your local government bodies and see what assistance they can give to you. Once there is live there is the possibility of a new beginning and changing ones life for the better. . ~S.B






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