Sexual Abuse


Lundy Bancroft will be speaking in Minnesota at the upcoming conference “Behind Closed Doors: A Deeper Look Into Domestic Abuse, Sexual Assault, and the Effects of Trauma”.

The conference hosted by Saving Grace, a local non-profit, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For more info, visit: Saving Grace Facebook

For more information, and registration, please visitBehind Closed Doors Conference – St. Paul, MN – 10/27/2017

DATE AND TIME

Fri, October 27, 2017

7:30 AM – 4:30 PM

 

LOCATION

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation

451 Lexington Parkway North

Saint Paul, MN 55104

 

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE:

Through plenary presentation and breakout sessions, participants will gain in-depth knowledge of the multiple and complex factors associated with abuse and trauma.

“Behind Closed Doors” will provide education and training:

  • To understand the effects of verbal/emotional, physical, sexual, and interpersonal violence; trauma and recovery in adults and children.
  • To identify the short and long-term impact of domestic violence and sexual assault; emotional, mental, physical, economical, financial, and legal.
  • To understand the effects of trauma on the brain, in adults and children, and utilize Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview techniques.
  • To increase professional collaboration efforts of community partners in being able to identify, interrupt, and influence a positive change in the outcomes of batterers and victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking.

    Lundy Bancroft

Lundy Bancroft will be presenting as a keynote speaker on “Why Does He Do That?: The Profile and Tactics of Men Who Abuse Women“. Lundy will also host 3 break out sessions in a smaller group setting on the following: “Meeting the Post-Separation Needs of Women and Children”, “Assessing Risk to Children from Men Who Batter” and “Advocacy and Legal Representation for Women in Custody Disputes.”

Behind Closed Doors” will then be followed by several break out sessions, so participants can chose the subjects they want to learn more about and customize the conference to their interests and/or needs.

The break out sessions are conducted by a wide variety of experts including therapists, nurses, law enforcement, child protection worker, victim advocates, legal professionals and other community professionals.

Topics Include: 

*Understanding Trauma

*Effects of Violence and Trauma on Children

*Documentation and Care of the Patient

*Family Court and Legal Issues

*Best Practices in Sex Trafficking Investigations

*Challenging Bias, Beliefs and Assumptions

*Understanding Multi-Cultural Issues in Domestic Violence Situations

And more…

Public and professionals are invited to attend what will be an interesting, and informational event!

“Behind Closed Doors” is specifically designed for Social Workers, Child Protection Workers, Teachers, School Counselors, Lawyers, Law Students, Child Custody Evaluators, Guardians Ad Litem, Parenting Consultants, Judges, Law Enforcement, Investigators, Probation Officers, Health Care and Mental Health Professionals, Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Advocates, Physicians, Nurses, and Forensic Nurses. *CEU’s, CLE’s, & POST credits are being applied for*

 

Research reveals the devastating effects domestic violence has on pregnant women, and their unborn children….

According to recent studies, a staggering 45% of abused women report that they are forced to have sex with their partner. When pregnancy results in an abusive relationship, in 50-70% of women the abuse continues during pregnancy. The National Institutes of Health reports that over 300,000 pregnant women in the U.S. are victims to domestic violence, with domestic violence being the leading cause of death among U.S. women of childbearing age.

I am one of these women the statistics speak of. I understand, firsthand, the horror of becoming pregnant as a result of abuse, and then enduring a pregnancy in a home where I did not feel safe. 

Pregnancy journal.. while other mothers are scrap booking the milestones of their pregnancy from the first pink line on the pregnancy test to hearing a steady heart beat for the first time, these are my sad milestones….

Common symptoms announced pregnancy –nausea, fatigue, sudden weight gain… and cravings for pickles. On the outside I looked like any pregnant woman but behind closed doors, I lived a life of fear and uncertainty, as an abuse victim.

4/5 Months Pregnant, while I was celebrating the first kicks – my abusive ex was calling me fat, and telling me I looked like “an old granny” in maternity clothes. I attempted to squeeze into jeans even as my belly stretched, and baby kicked in protest to avoid his angry outbursts… and secretly hoped baby did not hear what was said.

6/7 months Pregnant, while I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my child, preparing a nursery, reading baby books and shopping for clothing and toys (tears in my eyes, goofy grin on my face) – my abusive ex is giving the baby the “silent treatment”. He has ignored every aspect of my pregnancy, and acts as if we are not expecting a baby. There is no emotion. No talk of the pregnancy. No planning. I feel like a single parent before the baby is even born.

8/9 months Pregnant, still working a job to support the family, finances are stretched thin… my abusive ex is addicted to prescription pain pills. While I am planning my trip to the hospital to delivery the baby, he is planning his next visit to the ER or to the dentist or to a round of doctors to get his next fix.

“..to think of all the babies whose pre-birth experience is one of fear and threat. I have worked with women for many years that have lived with domestic violence and other abuse it made me feel immensely sad for them and their unborn children..” ~ Laura Schuerwegen, author the blog, Authentic Parenting

Unborn children are harmed by domestic violence that they are exposed to in the womb, research confirms what many domestic violence victims and advocates have reported.

Exposure to domestic violence begins in utero, as does the harm it causes. Beginning in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, babies can hear voices and sounds from the world around them. The clearest sound heard is the mother’s voice. What to Expect: Fetal Sense of Hearing offers a simple experiment to give you the chance to understand what noise sounds like to an unborn baby, “Try this for fun (really!): Put your hand over your mouth. Have your partner do the same. Then carry on a conversation – and that’s what voices sound like to your baby in the womb.

The louder a sound the more likely a baby is to hear it, which includes yelling or threats directed at a pregnant mother, the sound of crying or police sirens – all common in experiences of domestic violence.

Before birth, a unborn baby is not only hearing but experiencing the very emotions of fear – through the chemical process that happens in the mother’s body. Chemical processes in the mother’s body send emotional and physical messages to the unborn baby. A mother who is frightened, anxious or hyper vigilant as a result of abuse has higher levels of stress hormones in her body, that will also affect the developing baby; and over time will put extra stress on the brain and body (this is also reaffirmed by the ACEs study which says toxic stress damages the function and structure of a child’s developing brain, and can lead to other health consequences). In particular, the hormone cortisol is neurotoxic and has damaging effects on the brain, and may contribute to emotional problems in a baby after birth, says new research by Michigan State University scientists.

Other risks to the pregnant mother and unborn baby include: physical injury, inability to seek medical care or treatment, less access to support/friends/family and a higher rate of miscarriage.

To be clear – the problem is NOT the expectant mother but the abuse inflicted on the mother, at the hands of an abusive partner. By gaining a better understanding of how abuse affects unborn children, Alytia Levendosky, a study co-author at Michigan State is hopeful that increased education and awareness about domestic violence will send a strong message that domestic violence is harmful to unborn babies, and will encourage doctors and other medical professionals, and social workers, to screen and monitor for violence; and better be able to support victims – or provide needed resources for help. Research has proven that advocacy for abuse victims, in combination with providing resources for help, does improve outcomes.

A positive note – children’s brain can heal and create new connections; so early intervention can lessen some of the damage caused by domestic violence; and may also save a life.

Need Help? The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Additional Reading: 

ACES = Adverse Childhood Experiences

Authentic Parenting: Effects of Pre-Birth Trauma on the Unborn Child

DOMESTIC ABUSE MAY AFFECT CHILDREN IN WOMB

The effects of domestic violence on unborn children (Includes a list of how exposure to domestic violence negatively impacts the emotional, physical and social development of children)

Partner violence during pregnancy: prevalence, effects, screening, and management

NCADV Pregnancy and Domestic Violence Facts

When Pregnancy Triggers Violence

 

Charleston, South Carolina, September 2016The Charleston Police Department arrested  Kevin Michael Wesley Jr, 30, a Berkeley County School District bus driver, on charges of sexual misconduct with a minor.

In September 2015, Wesley began sending private messages, initiated phone calls and engaged in a sexual relationship with a 14 year old girl. Wesley insisted on secrecy, the molestation could not be hidden once she became pregnant. The teen gave birth a year later.

 

Bond was set at $400k. The terms of release include: “…the judge ordered Wesley to have no contact with the victim, her family members or anyone under 18 without a supervising adult present. The judge told Wesley he can see his own family, including his two boys.” <– QUESTION: Wesley is accused of a sexual crime involving a vulnerable young girl. He used his position as a school bus driver to gain the trust of this girl, and then sexually molested her. The criminal complaint indicates that Wesley was aware that his actions were wrong, and that he could “get in trouble” if he was caught. Clearly Wesley poses a danger to children.

 

How can this judge justify allowing this potentially dangerous predator contact with any children, even his own?? As Wesley has shown, sexual abuse does not always begin with a sexual act but begins with gaining trust and gaining control of the victim. Any form of contact with a child can be used to later exploit or harm that child – physically, mentally, psychologically and sexually.

 

Sex offenders groom not only children but adults are well, and are adept at manipulating people and situations to gain access to their victims, and to gain the trust of those they later exploit. According to The Mama Bear Effect,”People think that grooming a child for sexual abuse is something done in isolation – quite the contrary. Why? By establishing a close relationship with a child in front of others, people are less likely to be suspicious (after all, many believe sexual predators would not be so bold), and secondly, if the adults aren’t suspicious, it creates a false sense of security with the child that they are safe with this person and what they do is acceptable.” The Mama Bear Effect wrote an article titled “There Is No Stereotype For Offenders” that is an excellent source for general information on sexual abuse and the characteristics/red flags of sexual abuse offenders. The article describes the 4 common stages of abuse, and offers tips on how to protect your child as well as tips on how to confront a person whose behavior may be concerning. 

 

Wesley is no longer employed by the school district.

 

The victim’s anguished mother appeared in court during the bond hearing stating,”I felt like she was safe when she got on the bus with him. I had no idea he would prey on her innocence.” An estimated 90% of victims of abuse know their abuser.

Sources: Berkeley County School District bus driver charged with sexual misconduct with minor

Police: School bus driver had baby with student who rode on his bus

 What behaviors might a person who sexually abuses children use to gain trust?

The article Fragmented Child: Disorganized Attachment and Dissociation by Robert T. Muller Ph.D describes how abuse can destroy a child’s sense of self, and cause them to seek refuge from a painful reality by dissociating.

The “Fragmented Child” article was very helpful to me to identify many of the symptoms I have seen in my own children; I am sharing a link to this article along with some of my own experiences to raise awareness about the effects of abuse on children. I also feel a purpose in sharing my story to illustrate the devastating impact of family court rulings that place children in the care and custody of an abusive or unfit parent – much of the harm inflicted on my children could have been prevented if the family court had protected them from abuse.

What is Dissociation?

In “Fragmented Child”, Muller describes dissociation and its cause. The “fragmented child” is one who uses dissociation as a defense mechanism to deal with a stressful, traumatic or abusive situation.

Muller says about dissociation,“As a way of coping, dissociation occurs when the brain compartmentalizes traumatic experiences to keep people from feeling too much pain, be it physical, emotional, or both. When dissociation occurs, you experience a detachment from reality, like ‘spacing out.’ Part of you just isn’t ‘there in the moment.’” Children who grow up in an abusive homes often dissociate because they can not handle the trauma, pain and/or dysfunctional environment.

Dissociation happens when there is a trauma or assault, our first instinct is to go into “fight or flight” mode. When there is no escape, the flight is taken into the mind – away from a present danger. Dissociation is a defense mechanism where a person separates from their memory something they do not want to deal with. There is a range of mild dissociation to full blown dissociative identity disorder (separating a part of yourself from memory). Amnesia may occur with dissociation because the mind is shutting out or erasing a painful reality.

Through dissociation, memory of the trauma is held within fragmented parts of the mind. The trauma causes the mind to break or split off into smaller pieces that make it easier to process what has occurred. Over time those fragments may form their own distinct parts or identities. Triggers or memories of trauma release the memories which emerge (this occurs in a variety of ways).

People who experience dissociation commonly report feeling numb, spaced out, may have amnesia, and feel disconnected. A dissociative disorder changes the way a person sees reality and impairs memory, consciousness and a person’s sense of identity.

For more info on Dissociative Disorders please visit: Dissociative disorders (by Mind for Better Mental Health(

Understanding the Dissociative Disorders by Marlene Steinberg, M.D.

Public Domain: http://absfreepic.com

The Devastating Impact – When Courts Order Children into the Custody of Abusers: What I Have Seen in my own Children

My children are victims of abuse who have been further traumatized when the family court gave sole custody to the identified abuser. My children suffer from debilitating psychological, behavioral and social problems as a result of the abuse. My children have had their childhood stolen from them.

It is distressing to realize that your children are coping with a dysfunctional home environment by dissociating, and that your efforts to protect your children are being challenged, and prevented, by the family court system. Filing protective orders or asking for a change of custody based on abuse or endangerment has resulted in reprieve, and punishment from the courts (financial sanctions, loss of visitation and/or custody, ordered into supervised visitation, gag orders, jail are all common forms courts punish protective parents). Seeking therapy and professional help for my family has resulted in me being accused of harming my children, being told I need to “co-parent” better and otherwise being told my concerns of abuse, and the supporting documentation I offer, is not credible. My legal rights have also been violated in the court process. I am told to stay silent, stop raising concerns, be a more “cooperative” parent. No parent should be asked to enable the abuse of their own children.

I have seen the following indicators of dissociation present in my own children:

1) Talking to my children, they are sometimes triggered or can not deal with a difficult emotion, their response is a blank face (emotionless) and silence. The tone of voice may sound monotone. Or their mood may not match the current situation or the prevalent emotions of the day (for example, it’s a birthday party, everyone is happy but the children are silent and withdrawn).

2) The child withdraws into their own world – retreating into distractions, video games or computer time, imagination or an intense interest that draws their attention away from the present and into an inner world. The interest dominates the child’s focus, and they have trouble staying emotionally regulated without it.

3) After a long separation from my child, I am finally able to reconnect or have some contact with the children. I am overjoyed, and emotional. The child appears detached, appears emotionless, eyes are blank, voice is flat and mood is somber or withdrawn. At times a glimmer of my child once was will appear. Maybe I will get an unexpected hug. Or my child will create a card or picture for me, showing love or affection. It is confusing to see the dramatic changes – the conflicting closeness followed by the coldness, some children reject the targeted parent entirely.

4) The child is reminded or triggered by a memory of past trauma or abuse, and they freeze or lock up. They are unable to talk or move – sometimes they blank out. Other times they are aware of what is happening around them but unable to move or interact with their environment. Amnesia often follows these events. Or the child is unable to identify how they are feeling or what they are thinking.

5) When the child is overwhelmed by memories of trauma or abuse, they have violent or intense tantrums. Often there is very little or no memory of the tantrums. They may fall asleep after the tantrum due to exhaustion. There may be physical or emotional signs of dissociation that is associated with the onset of the tantrums – regressive behavior, mood swings, a drastic change in facial expression or appearance (this is an emotional change), banging their head on the wall, etc

Other signs of dissociation in children may include: Memory loss, inability to concentrate or focus, hyperactivity, mood swings, nightmares, a flat or monotone voice, appearing weak or lethargic, anxiety, and changes in personality.

When Family Court Professionals Fail to Recognize the Impact of Abuse on Children

The judges, Guardian ad Litem, evaluator, attorney for my abusive ex and other family court professionals working with my children, etc who do not understand the effects of abuse and trauma on children, commonly assign blame to one parent for causing reported behavioral and emotional problems in a child. Other times the court will deny any problem exists with the children (this happens even when there is ample evidence and documentation) and falsely accuse the targeted parent of having some kind of mental illness that causes a parent to report abuse and seek help for this child. In this way, victims of abuse are not being protected by the family court, and are being re-victimized.

Where there is no safety for children, some have chosen to escape the abuse, pain and ugly world they live in through dissociation.

— EJ, May 2016

“These tears that I cry, ain’t worth it,
This circle around my eye, ain’t worth it,
These bruises that I feel, in the mornin’ time,
ain’t worth it,
But I’m worth it…
And His love is all I need,
And His love, it never hurts me,
And His love, loves unconditionally,
So I don’t need you to love me…

“His Love” by Tiana Leandra is a powerful video that combines statistics about domestic violence with a faith-filled message about what real love is (versus abuse, power and control).

Known for her humble and graceful presence, Tiana has embraced the hearts of many people. She sings contemporary Christian/Gospel music that is focused on God’s power working through real life situations, and encouraging messages to uplift, and inspire.

ALLEEO MUZIK/TMG presents: Tiana Leandra “HIS LOVE”
From Debut Album ” MY HEART’S DIARY”

Tiana Leandra YouTube Channel

Tiana Leandra Facebook

Operation Hydrant, created by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), has identified 1,400 child abuse suspects, which include politicians and celebrities, in the UK. Operation Hydrant does not investigate the abuse allegation but, instead, gathers information about abuse complaints about “historical child sexual abuse“. Local police departments are called on to do the actual investigations.

According to the BBC News, “Of the 1,433 suspects identified, 216 are now dead and 261 are classified as people of public prominence, with 135 coming from TV, film or radio.”

We are talking about systemic, widespread child sexual abuse and trafficking in the UK whose list of suspects include:

* Schools and Educational institutions
* Children’s Homes
* Politicians
* Sports celebrities and Sports venues
* Music celebrities
* Religious leaders or figures
* Medical institutions
* Community institutions
* Military groups
* Prisons
* 17 institutions classified as “unknown”

This information is compiled by police in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and relate to reports of abuse, or abuse investigations, from the summer of 2014. There is no exact figure of how many children have been victimized, the number is expected to be in the thousands, if not more.

Norfolk Police Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the NPCC’s lead on child protection, says, “We are seeing an unprecedented increase in the number of (abuse) reports that are coming forward.”

Read More:

1,400 Child Abuse Suspects Identified” by BBC News, 5/20/2015: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-32812449

College of Policing (2015) : Operation Hydrant [Internet, Accessed 21 May 2015]. https://qa-app.bang-on.net/app-content/major-investigation-and-public-protection/operation-hydrant/ 

Teach Your Child the Underwear Rule and Help Keep them Safe from Abuse (NSPCC): http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/underwear-rule/

US Child Help, National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-Child: https://www.childhelp.org/hotline/

UK NSPCC Report Abuse Don’t delay – call the police on 999,
or call us on 0808 800 5000, straight away: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/report-abuse/

#OpDeathEaters

In 2004, Genevieve Kelley, along with her second husband, Scott Kelley, and daughter 8 year old Mary Nunes, went into hiding in Central America. Genevieve claims her daughter was being sexually abused by her ex-husband, Mark Nunes, and that she fled with her daughter in order to protect her.

Genevieve Kelly (US Marshals)

Wayne Rioux, who was then the police chief of Whitefield, New Hampshire claims Genevieve was brainwashing her daughter to believe abuse had occurred. There were concerns over a video Genevieve made, questioning Mary about the alleged abuse. Genevieve says a therapist told her to make the video, that her intentions were to help not to harm. Guardian ad litem on the case, Abbie Teachout, says Genevieve was alienating Mary from her father, “She (Genevieve) appeared to be really, almost obsessed in her concern over Mary and that Mark had done something to harm the child…Out of all the families I’ve worked with, this was a case where parent alienation was 100 percent evident – that Genevieve was doing everything she could to alienate this child from her father, from the beginning.

In 2004, the Kelley family moved to Colorado. The child custody order said that Genevieve was not to remove Mary from the state, and in 2005 the court would award Mark sole custody. By then, the family had fled the country.

In Colorado, Mary was evaluated by two doctors, one who diagnosed trauma in the child but did not state what caused it. The family also sought help from a noted attorney. Attorney Alan Rosenfeld specializes in child advocacy and domestic violence cases, says that Genevieve had no other option than to run away with her daughter, after a court-appointed guardian and social service agencies didn’t believe the abuse allegations.

The abuse allegations against Mark Nunes were investigated then dismissed, no charges were filed due to lack of evidence. It is worth noting that before their divorce, Genevieve filed for, and received, a restraining order against Mark (who claims he never abused her).

(March 2015) In a recent court motion, Mary states that she was being abused by her father, and that she begged her mother and step-father to protect her, ” “and I asked them to do it.” Mary also refers to herself as a “rape victim” and her father as the perpetrator.

Now the family is back in the United States, with both Genevieve and Scott Kelly facing criminal charges in Coos County Superior Court for noncustodial kidnapping and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Scott Kelly (wanted poster)

The Kelley family emerged from hiding when U.S. Marshals were alerted by officials at the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica that Mary, Scott and their attorney, Alan Rosenfeld, had asked the embassy to help them get US passports.

In November 2014, Genevieve returned to the US to seek medical treatment for a son born to her and Scott, while in hiding. She refused to reveal the whereabouts of Scott and Mary when arrested in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Genevieve has since been released on bail and is barred from having any contact with either Scott or Mary.

In April 2015, Scott was told that he could come back into the US without facing charges, a lie. So Scott and step-daughter Mary boarded a plane for the US, not knowing they were being tricked in order to get them to return to US soil.

On April 14, 2015 Scott was taken into custody as soon as he stepped off the plane at Atlanta International Airport. Scott was arrested on a kidnapping warrant. Mary was questioned then released.

Father, Mark Nunes, has expressed that he is concerned about Mary, and wishes to reunite with her. Markhad hired a private investigator to find Mary but had not been successful. Mr. Nunes says (The Associated Press): “It’s very hard for us to reconcile our mental image of her as a 7-year-old girl with the reality that she’s a gawky, beautiful, 18-year-old teenager that we could pass on the street and might not even recognize. We love Mary and are overjoyed that she is alive and back in the U.S. Our hearts and home are open to her, and we will do everything we can to insure she remains safe and healthy. We look forward to the day our family is finally reunited.”

Mary Nunes is expected to testify on behalf of her mother, and shows no indication of wanting to reconnect with her father.

Sources:

For updated related to Genevieve Kelley: “Friends of Genevieve Kelley” https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Genevieve-Kelly/370039133164287

“Missing girl taken by mom in custody battle found after 11 years; stepdad arrested” by Dave Solomon, New Hampshire Union Leader, 4/15/2015: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150415/NEWS03/150419409/1006/NEWS03&template=mobileart

“Search for girl reveals bitter family split” by Associated Press, AZ Central, 5/10/2009: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/05/10/20090510mary.html

“Scott Kelley, fugitive featured on ‘The Hunt’ surrenders” by Stephanie Gallman and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, 4/15/2015:

  • http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/15/us/hunt-fugitive-scott-kelley-arrested/
  • “Teen in high profile custody case pleads for her mom – Mary Nunes breaks an 11 year silence as mom faces trial” by Newser Editors and Wire Services, 4/28/2015: http://www.newser.com/story/206053/teen-in-high-profile-custody-case-pleads-for-her-mom.html

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