When Society Defends Abuse and Abusers instead of the Abused Child

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EFB blog butterflyMany of you have heard about the 5 year old little girl Alexa Linboom who was disciplined for drinking her step mothers grape soda without permission and as a punishment her father and step-mother forced her to drink 2.4 litres of water and several cans of grape soda which caused her to die. “Both parents were charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and two counts of aggravated child neglect.” (court date for this trial is Scheduled for October 2014)

Here is a summary paragraph, but if you are interested in the whole story follow the highlighted sentences and links at the end of the post. “The Vaughns disciplined Alexa by forcing her to drink about 2.4 liters of fluid, including several 12-ounce cans of grape soda, in a span of one to two hours, according to an autopsy report prepared by the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University. She was bruised throughout her body and had cuts on her face, the report states.”

In an effort to show what children and adult survivors of child abuse are up against with the way society views child abuse, I am writing about the commenters who STUCK UP for the parents in this situation, saying that the punishment (charged with murder) they received for their actions which ultimately caused this little girl’s DEATH, was too harsh.

Too harsh?

The autopsy report and even the charges state that there were signs of ongoing abuse and neglect but some people commenting still defend the abusive parents.

It has been my experience that sticking up for abusive parents is about parental entitlement; if anything threatens the ‘rights’ of the parents, some people will freak out and defend parents; even parents who caused the death of their child. Adults posted on this article that their parents disciplined them in a similar way and they ‘turned out fine’. Some defended the parents saying that it wasn’t ‘that much liquid’ and they go down the rabbit trail leading nowhere defending that this little girl ‘should have been able to drink that much liquid’… As though the specialists who performed the autopsy must have made a mistake, but the bottom line is that there are people who are completely willing to ignore the DEATH of this child that directly resulted from the punishment she was given because validating that the child DIED as a result of the punishment, threatens the ‘rights’ of parents. There can be no other reason for their defensiveness.

I am using this example because it is extreme enough to get my point across. A child is dead and instead of reading the entire article and realizing that a horrific crime had in fact been committed, some people wrote in defence of the abusive parents who KILLED that child.

In order to support their claims that these parents should not be convicted, several people posted that “the death was an accident.” So does that mean that the punishment wasn’t fitting because the parents didn’t know it might kill her? Does that mean that the evidence of ongoing physical abuse and neglect should not be brought up as evidence against the parents?  And in reference to the actual event ~ If my husband throws me down the stairs, should he be excused because he didn’t realize that action would break my legs? And if I went into a coma and died, should he be let off because he didn’t intend to kill me, he just wanted to ‘teach me a lesson’? Does that make the death an accident?

If a woman is threatening her child by hanging her over the side of a bridge by one leg and the mother loses her grip which results in the child falling to her death, does that excuse the fact that she dropped her child off a bridge. Can we really call that an accident?

Here is a visual for you; Imagine that I am sitting at a table with friends and I reach over and grab my friends glass of soda pop without asking, and I drink it. What would the other people say or do if she started forcing me to drink liquid until I passed out? Imagine me sitting in a restaurant, choking and sputtering while my friend forces me to keep drinking as punishment for taking her soda. And then if it went to court, and my abuser was convicted of wrongful death, and it was posted in the news, how many people do you think would DEFEND the person who forced me to drink until I died?

Why does so much of society view the way that an adult treats a child any differently?

I watched a video of an abusive father whose daughter set up her webcam to capture her father beating her with a belt. The video is over 7 years old, and it if you watch it I will warn you it is very graphic and really hard to watch. Again, it is the comments from some of the commenters that got to me the most. Even though this video went viral, and there was a public outcry against the abusive father who also happened to be a Judge in the State of Texas, people were defending him. People called the daughter all kinds of names and made all kinds of judgments indicating that these parents were within their rights and that the daughter deserved whatever treatment they dished out AND some commenters posted their opinions about the daughter as though they ‘knew’ all about her and why she deserved the beating. The video showed an abusive father, beating his daughter with a belt and swearing at her saying things like “bend over or I’ll spank your f-ing face” for almost 7 minutes straight (well he leaves the room once and comes back and starts over) and people didn’t take that recorded evidence at face value, but instead justified the fathers behavior with all kinds of judgments such as ‘she was so ungrateful and spoiled and posted all types of reasons as proof of WHY the daughter DESERVED the beating and verbal abuse.

What gets me is that the commenters who post in favor of the parents’ rights to beat their children so often refer to the children as though they are NOT actually “people” with basic human rights. This is also where we find the root of the problem; so many people view children as NOT quite people yet and some commenters will even refer to themselves as children who ‘deserved’ to be hit in this way justifying that it didn’t “hurt them”. I find myself wondering if those same people beat their own children or plan to and therefore must agree that what their parents did to them was ‘not abuse.’

But there is a true truth;

When an adult hits another adult it is called assault. And assault is illegal. If an adult hits me, I am going to charge that adult with assault. If forcing a child to drink fluid until she passes out, goes into a comma and dies isn’t murder, than what the heck is it? It can’t be called an accident. Why would people give exceptions to parents? Why would the death be excused as an accident? Why is beating a child ever viewed differently than beating and assaulting and adult?

I chose this topic for my content today because I want to expose the way people think and how we have been brainwashed to think in dysfunctional families which causes us to question the definition of “abuse” and “assault”. If people would defend parents who forced a child to drink grape soda and fluids until she passed out, how much more would people defend parents who verbally abused their children? How much more would society defend parents who used a belt, hair brush, shoe or other object to discipline their children? And how much more would people defend neglect and disregard children who have grown up with the emotional pain of being treated in these ways? Just because those treatments are widely accepted and even supported doesn’t make them ‘right’ treatments. People defending parents’ rights do not make those abusive treatments correct or even legal! It isn’t LOVE to treat children this way. Parents do not have those kinds of ‘rights’.

Parents are NOT above the law when it comes to their children and although many parents act as though and believe that they are entitled to do, say, behave however they wish towards their child, that doesn’t mean that they ARE entitled.

Here is the KEY message I am trying to communicate: The next time you tell yourself something must be wrong with you because you have been discounted, rejected, abused, devalued, ignored, dismissed and broken and everyone has convinced you that the problem is ‘you’ remember that just because “everybody” says “it’s you”, doesn’t mean they are right. And just because people agree with certain practices in dysfunctional families, doesn’t mean those practices are right either.

It was when I stopped fighting to prove that I was right and just believed that I was right, that the healing really began. It was when I saw the truth through the grid of love that I realized that love doesn’t harm. It was when I stopped trying to get the abusive people in my life and the people who supported them and their practices to HEAR me, and listened to myself instead, that my world began to look brighter.

Please share your thoughts about this with me. I look forward to hearing your views!

Exposing the Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

Are you aware my of my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you and you would like to find out “HOW” I broke out of the oppression I lived in, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. I’ve received hundreds of thank you notes from people that have bought my book. Get yours here for 9.97 through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

My Article on the guy who shot his daughter’s laptop ~ “Facebook Parenting for the Troubled Teen”

Links to the News Stories and Videos: Grape Soda Story  ~

 More on Alexa Linboom~ Alexa Linboom  Autopsy Report 

Judge Adams story of abusive father ~ VIDEO (is graphic)

 

 

 

208 response to "When Society Defends Abuse and Abusers instead of the Abused Child"

  1. By: Light Posted: 18th July

    Eddie, that is beautiful…what your friend did for you.

  2. By: Eddie Posted: 18th July

    During a therapy session once my therapist asked me to try and talk to myself as the young child that I was, to carry on a conversation with him about whatever I wanted to say to him. I couldn’t do it, it just unnerved me to the point that I literally couldn’t speak and was shaking. The therapist quickly told me that this was ok and we moved on.

    A good friend who is a fellow sexual abuse survivor knows my story and what an issue I had with my 12-year-old self at the time. I was still going through a lot of self blaming for it, wondering how I could have been so stupid, etc. I had shown my friend pics of myself back at that age, so he knew how scrawny I was. He went to a Wal-Mart and asked a woman working in the boys department if she could help him find some shorts and a shirt that would fit a smallish 12 year old. He then brought those to me and gently showed them to me and explained that this is how small I was back then. Holding the clothes in my hands, I completely lost it and just bawled. That was a major healing point for me, getting over the self blame of that little boy that I was.

  3. By: Alaina Posted: 18th July

    Can you imagine if you had a time machine and could visit your child self, hurt and alone? And what would I say—so, you’re hurting, but don’t worry, see, what’s going to happen is you’re going to get hurt some more and it’s going to add up and it’s going to stay inside you and fester and make you really sick and you’re going to think something is wrong with you and you’re going to hate yourself and punish yourself and cave in on yourself and your brain is going to go berserk and you’re going to fear for your life, and when finally you’re able to start talking about all the pain inside, letting it out, the people who you are supposed to love you the most are going to put it back on you, which is going to cause you a good decade of intense pain, trying to fight to regain your broken spirit. You’re going to try to stay positive and not cut yourself or kill yourself. There will be times when you’re in so much pain that you’ll disconnect from your body, you’ll hover above or you’ll feel like you’ve disappeared entirely; sometimes it’ll happen when you’re out in public and you’ll try to stay attached to yourself but you’ll be afraid that one day it might happen and you’ll walk in front of oncoming traffic…. but like I said, don’t worry, because after all this suffering and the rejection and abandonment and betrayal from the people you thought loved you, you’ll have so much insight into life. You’ll be able to feel real love with an intensity that people who haven’t gone through all this will never know. You see! You’ve been especially selected to go through this experience! You’re lucky! You’re special! It’s a gift you’ll come to cherish! Then give my child self a peck on the cheek, a pat on the head and leave….. It’s like when my brother told me his wife was pregnant and I was so happy that I hadn’t died and would get to be an aunt. My therapist at the time (a good one) told me that was really sad, and it was really sad—because there was no reason that I should have been on the edge of death like that. But it was true that I was grateful to a degree that maybe I wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t gone through that experience, but it would be really, really warped for me to think then that the experience was “good.” It certainly wouldn’t be my choice. You don’t need to be abused to appreciate goodness, nor to not take things for granted and make the most of your time on earth… And why is there value put on some seeming success if it comes at the expense of a child (as a means to the success)? It reminds me of writers whose work becomes more valued after their suicide, or it’s believed that the height of their talents was reached because they went to the end of the line or something. I don’t want to argue crap like that. We’re talking about lives here… so back to my time machine… if I could visit my child self, part of me would want to kidnap her and raise her elsewhere but I don’t know if she’d come with me just yet and I suppose I’d want it to be her choice to leave. I suppose I’d just stay with her, with an open invitation and plenty of love, support and validation, until she was ready to leave on her own. My previous therapist also said that it was being heard and validated, supported, by even just one person that made all the difference.

  4. By: Light Posted: 18th July

    The only positive I can think of for me is that it’s made me a more compassionate and empathic person. I’ve been acquainted with people who didn’t seem to “get” depression at all, or abuse. Just didn’t seem to grasp the magnitude of damage, sometimes even admitting that they just didn’t understand. So in that sense I think I can relate to the pain because of my own pain, if someone were to confide in me.

    At the same time I believe that there are wonderful nonjudgmental people who were never abused and can be a lifeline of empathy and support as well.

    Other than this, the experience has thwarted me and I am trying to overcome it and thrive. I can see how comments like “it made you a better person” or “in spite of it all, look at you now” would feel so invalidating.

  5. By: Eddie Posted: 18th July

    It’s interesting, this concept of “Well, it made you a better person.” One of the therapists that I had been seeing a while told me something interesting along this line. After I had recounted the various physical, sexual, and emotional abuse to him, as well as the suicide attempt and drug abuse in my teen years, he said that there is a branch of psychology devoted to studying people who have enduring severe trauma yet they go on to flourish in life with a good job, family, etc. He said that those children are termed “super kids” because by all expectations they should have withered in life, yet they succeeded. He said that psychologists study them to try to learn what it is about them that allowed them to succeed where other children didn’t, even those who endured far less traumatic lives. The thinking is that they can apply whatever those learned elements are to those who aren’t thriving in life. I don’t know if there’s anything to all that, but it did seem to send me the same message – “Yes, you were severely traumatized, but look at what a great person it made you into, in spite of it all.” Perhaps he was just trying to build confidence in me at that moment, I don’t know.

    And while I love my dear spouse, when I finally disclosed to her about the sexual abuse from childhood, her response was “Well, at least he didn’t kill you.” My mind pretty much shut down at that moment. But really, that’s the “positive” aspect of it – I wasn’t killed?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th July

      Hi Eddie
      I have met people who seemed to do well after experiencing child abuse, and the only common denominator that I find is that they were validated, believed, heard etc. They were not ignored, shushed, invalidated etc. And it is interesting to me at least, that those same things are the only thing that worked for me to be able to move forward and thrive now.
      There is something about being told “yes you were harmed but look at you now” that almost makes me crazy! There is something so ‘invalidating’ about it. Like I should be grateful for what happened. I always say “well I wonder what I would have been like it if DIDN’T happen?” and it is okay not to know what I would have been like, but I don’t want to be told that “in spite of it all” stuff. It always reminds me of a little kid hiding in the closet, shaking in fear and telling themselves that ‘it’s just a dream… nothing bad is going to happen’ all the while, something BAD really happened.
      Thanks for sharing,
      hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Alice Posted: 18th July

    Marquis, so I’d love to ask that therapist “What positive things exactly do you mean?” You know, my current conclusion is that therapists are a mostly a lame bunch of parasites making bank off the pain of their “patients'” inability to fit into a world in which abusive parenting is still to a large extent the norm. It’s like asking someone who is asleep to help you.
    What I will say is a “positive” of this journey is that my abuse was so at odds with reality and the truth that it turned me into someone who had to find out what the truth is. It is possible that had I not been abused I would have been asleep and complacent about it for the rest of my life. And that’s about it.

  7. By: marquis (female) Posted: 17th July

    “Seriously like she’s trying to spin the neglect and abuse she subjected me to into a positive thing!”

    My parents say that too and I have had other people out there who felt this was okay and it’s a positive thing to learn! That is scary and told them ‘really? was it a positive thing to learn from by someone who was abused to kill someone? It’s a great lesson, remember?’ They wanted kill me when I reverted it back on them. My ex-therapist tried to use that crap besides the “it makes one part of you” bullshit and you can get a lot of positivity out this abusive environment! Oh boy, like talking to an idiot!

  8. By: Alice Posted: 17th July

    “so why would I want abuse to be one part of me?”

    I don’t understand this idea either. My mom has tried to suggest that the hardships I’ve been through due to her have made me the “strong” & “independent” person I am. I pffed at that one. Seriously like she’s trying to spin the neglect and abuse she subjected me to into a positive thing! I laughed sardonically at her when she tried that one on me. No look, I HAD no choice but to try to do most things by myself, to try to figure out why it was happening, what I could do about it. I was reading psychology books at 16. Fuck I was reading Anthony Robbins at 16. And books on rational thinking. Books on how to relax and reduce stress. I was going to the pool several times a week to reduce stress. She only ever taught me things that were useful to her. Nothing that equipped me for life or relationships that weren’t about one person having to kow tow to another. Thankfully there was a friend’s mother who taught me about money (she worked in a bank) and we learned how to cook for ourselves in high school. I learned about personal hygiene and care from TV and magazines and about menstruation from school. And sex from Judy Blume books and Madonna. No-one in my family adressed any of the above with me. They taught me about taking care of others and being deferential and polite and self-negating.

  9. By: marquis (female) Posted: 15th July

    I don’t see how it’s such a blessing as my ex-therapist would say. She told me ‘it makes up one part of you as we have a lot of different aspects of our lives,’ so why would I want abuse to be one part of me? My adversity was a crime ridden from me as a child as I see nothing as a “blessing” I believe it has cursed me and my siblings.

    I can’t agree to “oh, it makes up one part of me,” that is not something good to say. I’d say it’s just a history that shouldn’t have happen which ex-therapist didn’t like but oh well and had other people didn’t agree with it too…IDK….

  10. By: Kaycee Posted: 15th July

    Daisy, I had a hard time with his announcement. I think those of us who were abused are taken off our natural, authentic path and forced to travel a different path that is not of our choosing. The question of what we could have been if we were not abused is something we will never be able to answer.

    I’m all for being grateful for gifts and for insights and growth but his author states “You might say that those of us raised badly have been entrusted with a dangerous but precious gift.” I think that idea is dangerous.

    I disagree with his assertion “….we can reach levels of acceptance and clarity less available to those from more supportive homes.”

    I am inclined to agree with Andrew Vachss who says “Healthy, happy, productive children — children who evoke their maximum potential — are no accident. They are not a fortuitous result of randomly scattering seeds on unnourishing ground. No, such children are always a harvested blessing, deeply dependent on climate and care. We create that climate and that care; and its most precious, indispensable element is *safety*.”

    Maybe I’m just crabby tonight but his article rubbed me the wrong way. The beginning line “Can you imagine feeling grateful for childhood adversity?” My answer to that is no and that is not something I aspire to be. It sucked, it was awful and my lifelong career has been trying to heal from it. My preference would have been to be loved and allowed to be my authentic self and to have chosen my own path.

  11. By: Daisy Posted: 15th July

    Hi everyone

    I wanted to share a link to a new blog written by Will Meecham. I’ve been following his old blog The WillSpirit Blog for several years and have enjoyed following his journey of recovery from childhood loss, trauma, and neglect.

    He’s just announced the launch of his new blog.

    http://blogs.psychcentral.com/childhood-adversity/

    Daisy

  12. By: marquis (female) Posted: 14th July

    Laura,

    I do agree. Interesting, when I tell people I am with my abusers not by choice they scream at me and some abused wives get sympathy yet I never got a damn thing from people. Hmm, time will tell and will hopefully have all of my ducks in a row to leave.

    “The abuse was bad when I was young. My Mom never bonded with me, we never had a mother/daughter bond.”

    Agreed. I never had that mom/daughter bond with my mom yet people refuse to believe that because she gave birth to me, so what.

  13. By: Kaycee Posted: 14th July

    I have been immersed in the literature. I have read so many quotes from “The Ya Ya Sisterhood,” “Terms of Endearment,” “Postcards From the Edge.”

    There is always some point of redemption in these movies, a Mother who is willing. My Mother is far more repressed. She rejects any attempt I make at healing our relationship. She has big walls, big boundaries. She isn’t real, she is closed off.

    I feel bad around them, my family, I shrink. I can’t always identify why. I feel like a circus freak, I feel ashamed. But I can’t talk about it, I am not allowed.

    Things have changed, we are all grown up, my Mom has been alone for 36 years, she hasn’t been with anyone since she divorced my stepfather (very weird I know).

    She is mostly nice enough to me now. She wasn’t before. There is just something unspoken, an agreement we all have that I was to blame for much of the crazy that she made our childhood. That I am lesser. All kinds of things that are not so easy identify but things that are still there that make my cheeks burn in shame around my family.I have a place, I have to stay there. But it is more than often covert, nobody talks in my family, they turn away. It is looks, it is body language. it is just like being the third class passenger among the elite.

    The abuse was bad when I was young. My Mom never bonded with me, we never had a mother/daughter bond. I think after she left her second husband she sacrificed having anybody else to try to make things better but there is a barrenness there with her. Especially with me.

    These movies make me so sad because my Mom is far weaker than any of the characters I hear quoted in all of these books I am reading once I see the movies. It is like they create a false hope.

  14. By: Beckett Posted: 14th July

    FinallyFree

    Thanks for understanding.
    I’m not saying my experience was any worse than someone who lived in poverty: but despite the outward experiences, I often lived in poverty as well. I might have been dressed to the nines, but there was no heat and no food in the house. My neighbors often fed me, and I stuffed that food in my pocket for my younger brothers.
    It’s hard to be taken credibly at age sixteen or fortysix when well dressed and well spoken and particularly afraid of making a scene.
    I wish to continue (begin) my journey towards healing, unafraid of what others think of me. They never seemed to think much of me before—bullied, outcast, teased, not rescued by my parents from this, they didn’t notice or if they did blamed me for it.

    I am ready for a new day.

    Finallyfree, I am open to any suggestions you can give me

  15. By: FinallyFree Posted: 14th July

    Beckett, I am so sad for what you experienced! It wasnt fair and I can only imagine what terror you must have felt as a small child..even as a baby! Your father sounds like he was a miserable monster of a person. I hope it will encourage you when I write that you absolutely can find healing here. I also went through the ultra confusing “wealthier” lifestyle, while being abused and neglected. I have written about it on many many posts here! It took me a lifetime of desperate searching for healing to finally end up here at EFB, and it is a process, but there can be freedom from all of that crap of the past! Hang in there! Comfort and hugs to you! 🙂

  16. By: laura Posted: 14th July

    I wish you the best,Marquis.Leave,but don’t let the pain in your heart cloud your mind/judgement.May you find freedom on the other side!By the way,i’m 33 and still living with my abusers(not by choice).You don’t know what’s in my heart.Hurry now.God forbid you end up like me!

  17. By: marquis (female) Posted: 13th July

    Did anybody hear about Baby Gabriel story? His mom got released from prison after 5 years and her lawyer said she is a changed woman, really?!? I don’t feel 5 years was long ago and I am sure most women out there felt that sentence is too long, a poor “distressed young mom” not sure if she was ready to be a parent or not.

  18. By: marquis (female) Posted: 13th July

    Yvonne,

    Who said on here that I have a low paying job?! My job pays me now 10.35 including a 1% raise from the district and whoever said that needs to go back and reread my previous posts that I said “The pay isn’t the PROBLEM it’s the lack of HOURS that I am getting AND can’t get ANYMORE hours because of the rules at the college,” where did I say low paying job that’s 8.50?!? Told my boyfriend I told you I was gonna move up wasn’t gonna settle for a lesser job.

    So, I live in AZ, a cheap cost of living. Sorry to disappoint some, but part time job or not, still moving. Why do I have to keep waiting for a full time job? It’s still gonna take me a long time to get/find any full time position. Like I told people, my freedom means more to me than anything else. I can’t keep waiting and waiting, I have to do this now or otherwise I will be here at 35!! Has anybody ever heard of rent control/subsidized apartments? I mean those do exist! That’s who I have been going to and speaking about their apartments and it is about income restrictions. The apartments (are subsidized, owned by the city) at my boyfriend and his mom’s house, I met their requirements since I am eligible for affordable housing. Another apartments I really liked wanted 3 times the rent nothing less than 1500 which I am under 1500. I am gonna get a 2nd job anyway once intersession is over next month when the Fall classes start.

    However, other apartments wanted 2, 2.5, or 3x the rent. I haven’t signed any papers just browsing and my boyfriend’s mom has been giving me advice saying I need $5k. My sister said you need a year’s worth of rent and be on the job for a year – that’s CA’s rules not AZ. The places I have been going to wanted 6 months on the job and next month will be my 6 months on the job.

    Those shelters and transitional houses don’t fit me at all too many questions for me which is why I did apartment hunting. I know you need the money to stay afloat which is why I need pay equal or a bit more than what I am getting. I will be checking back with a financial coach later on seeing if I am on the right track on my finances. Building up this money is taking too long because it’s part time.

    “I also had problems with many past shrinks. I was called names and told that I was “too afraid to move out” or that “I couldn’t grow up”. These shrinks would fight with me saying that I need to move out. Yes, of course, but I would argue back saying that I have no money and no safe place to go. I understand that it’s such a Catch-22 situation when you’re young and single and trapped living at home with abusive parents.”

    I was told by people the same thing was afraid to move because it is gonna turn into a Civil War battle with my mom nothing but constant screaming etc. I was told at 23 that I am a selfish bitch for wanting to move out and not take her mother with her. My mom told you have it good at home and you know that (guilt trip anyone? my ex-therapist didn’t see it that way), what good thing at home? Being called every name in the book is a good thing? It’s gonna turn into a knock out fight when I do move now. I was called names too my parents feel I should at home forever and need to move out to be an adult – wtf it can’t be both?!?

    Yea, it is a Catch-22 but nooo! Lots of people didn’t see it that way saying ‘it’s not a Catch-22, it’s just you making excuses to not move out. I didn’t wanna end up on the streets with no money and back then no car to get around, but we have buses not that they run late anyway.’ They said ‘you always complain about money – money money money! Money is not an issue if you just move out, etc.’ In high school, why do people think I was in chat rooms trying to find someone to move in with if they were normal/decent? People forget I was told to never work, that it is selfish for a woman to work, marry a guy like my dad and get beaten up/abused daily like my mom, be a mooch to his assets, etc. I mean yea, some people had to endure homelessness before things got better and I wasn’t gonna be someone who was gonna endure being homeless which is why I stayed at home because I knew that’s where I was gonna end up with zero life skills. Nope, nobody wanted to hear that! So, I am just working harder to get the money that I need in order to succeed. To stay afloat I just need to keep working and saving. My boyfriend’s mom told me ‘you don’t wanna move and give up staying where you are. You don’t want to be in a situation where you had to move back home all over again.’ Which is true.

    Also, there’s nothing more social services can tell me. My social worker at the women’s center has told me about rent controlled places and we already had a conversation about transitional housing before. I mean, what more can they tell me? Like I said before, aren’t many options for adult kids with abusive parents out there anyway.

    Well, I will keep everybody updated when the time comes.

    Darlene,

    I agree. People not wanting you to find out the truth and will do anything to persuade you that you’re in the wrong, yea, know that far too well. I told my ex-therapist and other people ‘you have to be smart about why someone is trying to persuade you into thinking it’s not abuse, it’s not this or that – think of politics the very best example! Why do you think the media has people caring about Kim K.? Because to keep the public away from the real underlining issues in this country or elsewhere it’s a form of brainwashing.’

  19. By: laura Posted: 13th July

    Hi Yvonne,
    From the bottom of my heart,thank you for such detailed information.Only now i realized how hard it was for you to make the decision of leaving.You stood up for yourself and you proved all your abusers wrong.It takes a lot of maturity to manage life and money by yourself.
    I’m an introverted dreamer and i had this image of a perfect shelter.I saw it as a place of healing,where all victims gathered to listen and help one another.I thought women thee were all like sisters,united by the same ordeal.I had very high expectations,thinking freedom was waiting for me with open arms.You survived a real jungle up there,with no experience to fend for yourself,and you made it.I guess this world is too tough and mean for me.I can’t imagine your first night there,with no shoulder to cry on.If it weren’t for your clarifications,i would have failed in taking my life back.I needed an eye-opening confrontation with reality.You helped not only me,but also other naive girls/women who think leaving magically solves the problem.Blessed be,
    Laura

  20. By: Yvonne Posted: 12th July

    Hi Laura (150):

    My experience in the DV shelter was like 23 years ago and in a different city. If you go to an intake appt., sometimes the shelter is full and they will give you a Greyhound bus ticket to go to another DV shelter in another town (yes, with kids) and have a social worker come get you. Things may have changed a lot since then but I don’t know. At this particular DV shelter, the women who came in with kids were given one room for one family. The mom typically had a twin bed and there were bunk beds in the bedroom for her kids, with sometimes two sets of bunk beds. There were a couple of small dressers and a closet. I believe that you could lock the bedroom at night. Because I was a single woman (translation: no kids) then I had to share a bedroom with two other women. There were twin beds and each woman had a dresser. I remember that there was a common shower area and large restroom area on each floor of this two story house. There was also a large bedroom on the first floor with disabled access, including a specialty bathroom for a woman in a wheelchair (yes, there was one disabled woman while I was there). The DV shelter was in an old house by the university area, and on a bus line. There was a main front office, a big kitchen and dining area, and a living room with a TV set. Outside, there was a play area for kids with toys. The house had a couple of washers and dryers, but the staff’s rules were that you had to do laundry and hang up your clothing outside on lines when it was not raining.

    No, you do NOT have to pay any sort of rent or extra charges. It’s not like being in a motel. Like I wrote, what the social worker is looking for are recent signs of physical abuse like bruises, cuts, black eye, etc. They also ask for police domestic violence reports and hospital reports. I swear that I spoke to the social worker and gave her the whole truth about my situation. Again, they do ask about the car that you own, work history, and money in bank accounts. If you’re on a higher income level, for sure they won’t take you. I would seriously suggest selling any small jewelry collection or valuables to a pawn shop for quick cash if you’re not working since you need to have all the cash you can get to last for awhile.

    These shelters also have a woman lawyer who come in weekly with legal papers. Some women decide that they can’t take it anymore and need a divorce and they can get it done easily and free. There may be some nominal filing fees but since you’re in this government program the fees are waived.

    The DV shelter is NOT a luxury spa vacation. These DV shelters run on a lot of government money and donations. You are given free food, clean weekly towels and bedding to borrow, small cosmetics bags donated, and sometimes clothing donations for moms and kids. I came to the DV shelter right after Christmas and they still had a small artificial tree in the living room and Christian/Jew decor. Apparently, the kids were given a toy donation for Christmas from a charity program and the women were given a gift certificate for a hair salon appt.—another private donation. There is an evening curfew for women and their kids around dinner time, with longer hours on the weekend. They claim that they can’t discriminate based on race or religion. I have said many times on EFB that I am NOT a Christian, and I practice Wicca/Celtic Paganism, and I was discriminated by the woman Site Director. I told the truth about my real religion, but surprisingly she was the only one that I had a significant problem with. I believe that much of their food was donated. Yes, they all take turns cooking for the entire group in the house. One night a week for dinner was Mexican night, like beans, rice, burritos and tacos. For Saturday dinners, they had an outdoor barbecue with grilled chicken and extras. Breakfast was like different boxes of cereal, and lunch was sandwiches and fruits. It’s a shelter with rules. Everyday you have a rotating house chore like kitchen duty, mopping floors, etc. Some of the women are nice but there are a few mean ones,too. There are no drugs or alcohol allowed! Also, NO PETS are allowed. There are no outside visitors. There is normally a small smokers area outside the house only. If you ever feel threatened, then you can go to the front office 24/7 and put in a complaint. If there is ever a violent, disturbed woman, like high on drugs or threatening you, this woman can be thrown out. They can also call 911 or the police for any emergency. You must attend their weekly evening house group meeting. Then you are required to meet with a shrink like three times a week for an hour appointment. The shrink ends up bored and falling asleep and not listening to your story like they all do! LOL! The kids go to public school during the week, so that the moms can go to their DES interviews. Most women qualify for EBT food stamps, medical, free bus pass and other free job training programs/college. These job training programs typically do not give you a job, only the schooling. These women are allowed to stay like two or three months in the shelter maximum. Back then, they had a large book listing all of the transitional housing and the social worker would make phone calls to see if there were openings. There are low cost apartments and various forms of section 8 housing. I know that if you came from a special government program, like a DV shelter, the rents were adjustable based upon your income level. At the women’s transitional house where I lived, each woman only paid like $50 a month rent, and that included utilities, but that was over twenty years ago. (Most of the women in the women’s transitional housing were older women coming out of an alcohol detox program—with a few exceptions like me from other programs). In the transitional house program, all the women were either working at a FT job, going back to school, or doing volunteer work while looking for jobs. If you did not have a job right away, then you could back-pay the site manager for the rent owed. It was the social worker/manager’s job to help you apply for the next housing step which was a low cost apartment for low-income people. Many people going into this low cost apartment came from progams and it was adjustable rent/utilities based upon their job. The house manager had a weekly counseling session with you, and included budgeting where they made you open a savings account to deposit a certain monthly amount. It wasn’t such a bad experience if you view the big picture at that time in my life.

    I would highly suggest for any women thinking about this is to plan ahead carefully! You can only load up your car once to get out.

    You need to pack: marriage certificate, all birth certificates, passports, kids school records, college diploma, medical records/RX, all clothing—including winter coats, umbrellas, luggage, box of photo albums, trophies, momentos—not too much, kid’s favorite toys/pillow/blankets, cosmetics, prescriptions/vitamins, kids textbooks/school supplies,, alarm clock/watch, few good electronics—laptop, ipad, cellphone, amazon kindle reader, few used books to read–(hide your good electronics). Please seriously consider getting a post office box for your mail before you leave home and forward any important mail or personal mail, including receiving packages.

    I would seriously close your bank accounts/credit union. If they think that you have too much money in your savings account (they don’t care if you explain that it’s for your kid’s college fund) then they might not take you. I would suggest getting a safe deposit box at the bank. There are women who can actually say that they simply ran out of their home with only $50 in their purse, since their man controls all the money! (I would seriously keep a few thousand dollars in a safe place for emergency purposes and it’s no one’s business). The social worker will also ask about your job history and education.

    There is also a legal way to go back into your home in a safe manner called getting an “EX PARTE” order? This is when a cop accompanies you back to your home in a police car with legal papers, and you’re only given a half hour to go through your entire home to take anything that you want. The cop will not help you lift or move boxes, and you can only take a few boxes with you that can fit into the car. I suggest taking a roll of heavy duty trash bags and a few empty boxes with you.

    I really don’t know what else to tell you. Try to Google information on DV shelters with recent stories and comments. There might be more recent suggestions. The one that I went to years ago would be considered kind of average. If you really don’t care for the DV shelter experience then you can have your exit interview right away and simply leave. However, they will not take you back so think about this. Some DV shelters have good transitional housing programs and job programs, while some just throw women back onto the street. It all depends on where you’re living and the resources in your area.
    Hope this helps. Best wishes.

    Blessed Be,

    Yvonne 🙂

  21. By: Beckett Posted: 12th July

    And I cry every morning and every night for missing my daughter, who was so aggressively alienated from me that she hates everything about me and my entire extended family, yet adores her Father who has been physically and emotionally abusive to her, is an active alcoholic, and just got fired the second time at age 60 thus is unlikely to be hired again in his field, telling everyone he ‘retired’ to direct a consulting business.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th July

      Hi Beckett
      Welcome to EFB ~ It is devastating when the abuser gets the children on his or her side against the other parent. My heart goes out to you.
      I healed by looking at the past where all the damage happened, for the purpose of seeing how my belief system got so messed up. This whole site is about that and there is so much hope here!
      Glad that you have joined us.
      hugs, Darlene

  22. By: Beckett Posted: 12th July

    I’ve only skimmed all of this, because otherwise I think I would’ve gotten very triggered, and that’s not healthy for me, and I had to go back and forth between working and crying. But I certainly can relate to so many of the posts, and am so proud of the healing happening here.

    Thinking about that little girl with the grape soda and the entitlement of Narcissistic parents, or reading about the man who recently and it seems deliberately left his young toddler in a car to bake to death because the babyboy served the so called dad no purpose anymore: I am outraged, but numb to it all. Unsurprisingly, my childhood was a crazy quilt of vast extremes of inappropriate indulgence mostly in the form of wildly expensive clothing, in and out of private schools, intensive ballet and piano lessons “training”, coupled with over the top physical and emotional abuse and neglect, to the point where there was no food in the house, no heat despite living in a very wealthy neighborhood–not bragging on myself, just significant to my story. I’ve been in therapy since my early twenties, even along with my parents for a period of time with a founding theorist of family therapy–just happened to live in the right place at the right time–even included my Ex-N who later in our lives aggressively alienated our 24 year old daughter from me and my entire family.

    And all I can think about is the entitlement, and the abusers’ shame, which I think drove much of their actions. And I forgive nothing, and unfortunately don’t forget much of it either. Two of my cousins have had therapy for their PTSD related to witnessing my abuse, since I ‘ruined every family gathering’ translate: my Father was so anxious at being judged/found out by my mother’s family at every family function he lost it and beat me up, for infractions such as putting my feet in little Mary Jane’s on my grandparents’ furniture (what the heck I was only two and a half years old, my legs didn’t reach any longer than that) but I still was dragged off and yes, I DO remember it looking down from the ceiling using dissociation as a coping skill, and I learned the ‘how not to cry’ act very young which is why my cousins sought treatment as they were sure each time that he had killed me. I also remember overhearing my Father, all 6 feet 11 inches of him, yes, physical freak of a man, scary to even see, telling my uncle how he would beat me until his right hand hurt too much to do it anymore and then he’d use his left a few times for good measure and then he figured that’d be enough. And here’s how where we lived came into play when I was a teen: my father had busted down the door to my bedroom so many times when I ran there for shelter that the parents no longer called the handyman to repair it—well, this time my mother and younger brothers weren’t home and I did something inexplicable to enrage him. So he choked me and left me for dead, literally.When I awoke in my own assorted bodily fluids, I finally was frightened enough to call the police: why? because I was afraid he’d come back and be so angry that he’d finish me off, and I was too weak to run from the house as I had many times before. The dispatcher handed my call over to an officer who told me that I was ‘a spoiled rich brat who lived in a beautiful house and had everything I needed and probably got handed everything I wanted. So I needed to shut my trap and apologize to my father for whatever bratty thing I did that pissed him off.’
    That was when I knew I was really doomed. Clearly my dad was likely afraid of the consequences if he did murder me and I’m still here to write of it forty years later, but yes: it affects me every day, in every relationship I’ve ever had, and despite years of therapy with mostly good therapists it will affect me until the day I die. I make bad choices about hiring employees who are not trustworthy, about relationships, about friendships, you name it. I stayed in a doomed mentally abusive marriage for far too long because of my poor self esteem and lack of judgment, and now I have lost my only child, as has my entire family.
    I am so sad for the adults and for those who are children now experiencing this. I can’t imagine anyone feeling they have the right to lay hands on a child.

  23. By: Alice Posted: 12th July

    Stanley, it’s not logic, not an ounce of it. It’s abuse pure and simple and I am so sorry you were so mistreated.

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