Monday, December 21, 2015

FYI: For women/ wives/ mothers hoping to keep in touch with a loved one (a husband, a BF, a son or grandson) sent to prison ("After the Knock on the door") SNY's ( Sentisive Needs Yards) Exist to help SO's and Juveniles sentenced as sex offenders

I offer this link from Daily Strength Families of sex Offenders to wives and mothers on Not the Life because you may want to pass these safety suggestions on to a loved one in prison. It helps to ease your mind about their safety so you can focus on decisions you will have to make   dealing with all the collateral damage out here.  

 Survival in a California Sensitive Needs Yard: Advice from the Inside  (please note, this information is from California but is good survival information for anyone in any prison or jail in the US) the information is from a valuable resource some of you may want to go to depending upon the decisions you make "After the knock at the door" 

The California Department of Corrections (CDC) has set aside a number of prison yards designated as Sensitive Needs Yards(SNY) to accommodate ex-gang members, sex offenders, and others in need of protective custody. The SNY program differs from the mainline in a number of ways. First, guys who have "P/C'ed Up", or gone SNY, are considered "no good" on the mainline yards. Once someone has been in protective custody, either in the state prison system or in their county jail, they cannot safely return to the mainline. Second, nearly all of the "politics" do not exist on the SNY yards. By politics, I'm talking about the racial segregation, the prison gangs, and the checking of paperwork. Keep in mind, however, that there is still a hierarchy among the inmates based on their controlling cases (the charges that brought a guy to prison). Third, the SNY inmates are considered the lowest of the low in the prison system. That includes the inmates, some guards, and some of the brass on the yard. To put it succinctly, as an SNY inmate, you have nothing coming, so don't expect it.

You can, however, survive SNY if you play your cards right. Follow these basic guidelines and you should be okay.

• Be friendly to everyone, but friends with no one. You are likely to meet very few people in prison you will want to be friends with outside of prison. Always be courteous, share when you can, and do not make jokes with casual acquaintances. You never know when someone is going to misinterpret what you say and cause you a lot of grief. Remember: It is easier to not say it than to say it and hope they aren't offended by it.

• Do not tell ANYONE why you are in SNY. Sex offenders are considered the lowest of all the inmates on any yard. A known sex offender will have trouble with some inmates in the form of refusing to cell up with them, being intimidated or harassed, having their property stolen, etc. There is little access to information in prison, so if you do not tell anyone why you are SNY, they will never know. They may suspect, but they won't know.

• If you are a sex offender, develop a cover story. Eventually the subject of why you are here will come up. If you tell the truth, you're in trouble. If you refuse to talk about it, people will make assumptions. You will need two parts for your cover story: an "acceptable" controlling case (the crime you were convicted of), and a reason you are in SNY. To fabricate a controlling case you need to familiarize yourself with the penal code. You will need to know what your crime is called, its P/C code, the possible terms you could have been sentenced to, and whether it falls under the control of the 3 strikes 85% law. Good candidates for controlling cases are theft, drug offenses, drunk driving, and other property crimes. If you've never done drugs, you're not going to be able to pull off a drug offense, so don't try. Drunk drivers don't go to prison on their first conviction, so be prepared to fabricate other DUIs. Also, be sure to research what the experience is like for offenders in your county. The last thing you want to do is be caught ignorant of how the system works.

Reasons you are SNY are tricky as well. If you have gang affiliations, it's easy. If you have gang tattoos, it's easy to say you dropped out. But if you are a clean-cut white guy with no ink and no priors, you've got to be a little creative. You need to fabricate some circumstance that would put you in danger with inmates in the county jail, but be acceptable in the prison system. Any offense involving a child is a good reason to P/C up, but prison inmates don't like guys who hurt children. (It's okay to sell drugs to a child's parents, or kill the parent of a child, but a crime involving a child directly is another thing.) If you can add just the right elements to your story to get the COUNTY to put you in protective custody, you're in good shape because once you've been on the P/C side you can't go to the mainline because you're "no good." 

Here is a possible cover story. I haven't researched all of the aspects that you should before using this story, so do your homework. If you have just a little time to do, around 3 years, try this: You had been drinking, didn't think you were drunk, hit a parked car and left the scene because you were driving on a suspended license. Your niece was in the car, so when the police finally caught you, they charged you with DUI, felony hit and run, and child endangerment. Because of the last charge, the county put you in the P/C tank and now you can't go mainline. It's plausible and safe. Rehearse the story so you can provide enough details to make it believable .

• Respect others. In prison, the word "respect" is thrown around all the time. To prison inmates, any form of courtesy is called respect. If an inmate feels disrespected, he will resolve the issue one way or another. The least desirable way is to fight, but it's a fairly common occurrence. Things you can do that will be seen as respectful include: courtesy flushing the toilet, washing your hands after using the toilet, not spitting your toothpaste in the sink (use the toilet), saying "excuse me" any time you walk in between people, staying out of others' space, speaking in a quiet voice, cleaning up after yourself, not waking people up, and not saying things you think are funny at someone else's expense. If you try to be as neutral, polite and inoffensive as possible, you will probably be seen as respectful.

• Stay away from drama. Most of the drama on the SNY yard revolves around drugs and homosexuals. Guys sell their medications and on occasion some controlled substances get smuggled in. Avoid them. The quickest and easiest way to get hurt is to run up a debt for something you really don't need, like drugs. There are also some homosexuals on the yard who are looking to pair up with someone. It's usually not for love; it's more for sex and money. Guys tend to be protective and the gay guys tend to look for ways to get attention, so steer clear.

• Don't borrow. Prison is a tough place to live if you don't have any of the allowed niceties. However, trouble is right around the corner if you owe somebody something. Convicts have some twisted ideas about how things should work, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that something bad might happen if you find yourself in debt. A good rule of thumb is if you can't pay cash for it, you don't need it.

If you heed these warnings you should be able to fly under the radar for the length of your term. Keep in mind that on an SNY yard, up to 90% of the guys are doing time for a sex offence. They won't admit it, and they will divert attention from themselves by pointing fingers at others. But the bottom line is that guys who have gone SNY want to go home. Be respectful, don't call attention to yourself, and don't be a jackass and you will most likely be OK. Remember, there is only one person you can totally trust to keep you safe --you.

Along with the above tips, there are a few basic things you need to know about the prison system. The following is the most basic information you will need to know. One of the amazing things about inmates is that even though many have been through the system many times, they don't know how things really work. They tend to rely on their own experiences and what other inmates have told them. The following information is reliable.

Reception--After your conviction you will be remanded to the county jail. Within a few weeks you will be transported to a state prison near you that has a reception facility. Reception is a kind of purgatory where all prisoners go to await endorsement to a state prison for permanent housing. Your stay in reception is supposed to last from 30 to 120 days, but nothing is guaranteed.

While you are in reception, you will be screened medically and psychologically. When they have found a place for you at a permanent facility you will be bused to your new prison. In the meantime, you will be in reception, living in the relatively bizarre reception program. In reception you will be housed in a two-man cell with another inmate who could be there for anything from a parole violation to a double murder. Since you don't know who you will be paired up with, you should really practice showing "respect."

The reception program is much more restrictive than the regular program. You will be locked in your cell all day except for breakfast and dinner and a couple of hours on the yard two days a week. You are allowed a shower every other day. Other than those times you are locked up. If you are not a reader, this will be a great opportunity to learn to like it. Also, writing letters is a great way to kill time and really helps to keep you sane. Encourage your friends and family to send you writing packets consisting of paper, envelopes, pens, and stamps. In reception, stamps are like money. You can buy food and other necessities with stamps, but keep in mind that they are not worth face value. A stamped envelope will get you a bag of chips, or a two-pack of cookies, a piece of fruit, or maybe even a "shot of coffee." The more stamps you have, the better.

After what seems like an eternity, you will be called to see your counselor. At that meeting, he will tell you how many "points" you have, what custody level you are, and which prisons you are recommended for. The recommendations are just that, recommendations. There is no guarantee that you will go to either place.

The prison yard you are sent to is determined by the number of points you have. There are 4 levels of custody with level IV being the most restrictive and level I being the least. The point cutoffs are: level IV--52+, Level III--28-51, Level II--19-27, and Level I--0-19. A sex offender points cannot drop below 19, due to the "mandatory minimum" score that is imposed. To calculate your points, multiply your sentence years by 2. Add to that the appropriate amount of points for your age at first arrest: 17 years or under = 12, 18 to 21 = 10, 22 to 29 = 8, 30 to 35 = 4, and 36+ = 0. Then add the appropriate amount of points for your age at reception: 16 to 20 years old = 8, 21 to 26 = 6, 27 to 35 = 4, and 36+ = 0. You also get 1 point if you were previously sentenced to 31+ days in the county jail. There are other factors, such as gang affiliation that earn you more points, but we'll ignore those for brevity's sake.

Level IV inmates are housed in two-man cells as are Level III. Level I and II are typically in dorm settings. Keep in mind that the prisons you see on TV shows are generally Level IV yards. Unless you were sentenced to a lot of time or you had a lot of previous prison experience you will end up on a Level II or III yard.

On the day you leave reception, you will be taken to R&R early in the morning and you'll wait there until your bus comes. You will be stripped to your boxers and given a paper jumpsuit to wear. When you get on the bus, you will be shackled, hands and feet. If you're lucky, the bus ride won't be too long. If you're not so fortunate, your trip may include an overnight stop at another prison. Hope that your trip is a short one. Be sure to follow the one rule the transportation guards insist on: There is no talking while the bus is moving. If you choose to break the rule, there's a good chance you will go to one prison and your property to another.

Finally, money is one thing that will make your prison term tolerable. You can use it to shop at the canteen and purchase quarterly packages from one of the approved package vendors. Here's how the quarterly package program works: Four times a year each inmate can purchase up to 30 pounds of cosmetics, clothing, and food. Each of the approved companies publishes a catalog and also has a website to order from. The best way to get your package is to have someone on the outside order your package online.

The prison will keep a "trust account" for any money you have. If someone sends you a money order, the prison will remove it from the envelope and credit your account. If you were ordered to pay restitution, the prison will deduct 55% from any funds you have and apply it to your restitution balance. The best way to avoid the 55% deduction is to have all of your money sent to you in the county jail. Also, any money you carry with you when you are taken into custody will be put on your books. The prison will not take restitution until you receive a notice that you owe restitution, but if you want to avoid the 55% deduction, get your money in early.

Hopefully this brief guide will help you make the adjustment to prison life. Always keep in mind that those in SNY can expect nothing from anybody. But if you keep your wits about you, keep your case details to yourself, and stay under the radar, you should be okay. Good luck.

As I said, I offer this link here on Not the Life because to wives and mothers may want to pass these safety suggestions on to a loved one in prison. It helps to ease your mind about their safety so you can focus on decisions you will have to make   dealing with all the collateral damage out here.  

They come from a man called REW who posts on Daily Strength Families of Sex Offenders:  
  • Here are the links for prison safety. They were not written by me, but they are good.

    The link below was originally written for inmates---sex offenders---to survive at a Sensitive Needs Yard in California, but the information is still good information and I agree with most of it.
Take Care. And Happy New Year.  Janet Mackie

Sunday, November 15, 2015

After the Police knock on our door Then Comes the trickiest part of all...Why we must focus first upon our selves upon our children's well being no matter what "they" say..

  •  Just from my own perspective: Some husbands are very adept at fooling everyone over a long period of time in order to take advantage of the trust placed in him as husband and father and grandfather. Proof of his "skill" is that he was successful: No one "saw" / realized what was going on. We trusted them. Not only children but wives and family were "groomed" so he could take what he wanted and (he hoped) get away with playing both sides against the middle. . 
  • And the effects of being "groomed" not to see whats going on don't immediately stop just because we suddenly see that we and our children were betrayed by a smiling "stranger" we trusted for years.
    For example  Both my father and my husband were "good" at taking sexual advantage too, (grooming us all/ using their power and the love their children had for them to sexually abuse and thereby betray the people who loved them) and consequently they were able to continue their betrayals for years. And although the sexual abuse stopped, people still must live with the results of the harm they did.And he is still very skilled. Maybe even more skilled at manipulating the situations to his favor after dealing with prison, supervision etc...
  • Both my father and my (now) ex see themselves as "victims" of their childhoods and of an un-just system and have been successful in getting some family members to take their side and join them in blaming others instead of taking responsibility themselves. They were and still are using their "ability to charm" to take advantage (using people/ children for their own purposes) betraying trust and turning the tables on anyone  who hasn't come around to seeing things their way. (getting their family to blame you. Making children feel guilty for how bad things are for Them now in prison or on supervision.

  • Anyway, even in jail or on the registry, they are still very skilled at making their victims and everyone else feel guilty instead of stepping up and telling the people (especially their victims /children) that whatever they are going through now, they brought it on themselves.(even though the "justice" system is unjust and we do still love them, we and our children have to come first now, because they already put their own needs first for years and left this mess behind for us to clear away and now some expect us to continue to  focus on them and their needs.
    No they are not monsters, but they are often very, very self-centered. One of the reasons wives and especially children  (who are torn and often still do love them )  need distance, and especially children need to be protected from "seeing and talking to him" except under very regulated conditions is that seeing him in court, in custody etc  his victims feel guilty and blame themselves (instead of the adult who took advantage) 

  • For children taking on the blame and assuming the guilt for their father's present pain can be corrosive and, in my opinion, just as it takes a lot for wives and mothers to heal, children still need protection/ distance from relatives they trusted but who betrayed that trust.
    I'm not suggesting encouraging them to "turn against"/ hate I'm just saying it's too easy to let a very self-centered man shift blame onto children/ partners/ wives/ mothers, and make us feel we or the child victim/s are to blame for whatever the man is going through as punishment for bad things he did to his own kids (and sometimes even his grandkids.)
  • Just because they are singing another (poor me) tune now, just because they are "nice" now, doesn't mean you can trust them not to take every possible advantage, especially of the same vulnerable children they "groomed" before and who still want to love them in spite of what they did for years to betray the trust placed in them as husbands and fathers. 

  • Just saying. I know that every situation is different, but they really are very skilled and just because they got caught doesn't mean they don't use every skill available to "absolve" themselves from responsibility and shift blame.Or superficially "take the blame" and then expect we will go back to acting as though nothing happened.  The continue to manipulate if for no other reason than they need money on their books, they need visitors, they need their ego massaged by still having people they can control. 
  • "Afterwards" is the trickiest part of all.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

We are (every one of us) Stronger than we ever Imagined: This post is shared here on Not the Life I Chose from another great public Forum for wives mothes and Families like us: Daily Strength, Families of Sex Offenders from tsmom2012.

3rd anniversary

Posted on 11/11/15, 07:36 pm
It’s hard to believe it has been almost 3 years now that my life changed in the biggest and worst way. My husband was arrested for sexual abuse toward my daughters. My husband and I were married 6 years and together 9 when this happened.
I was in total shock when I learned of what he did from my daughters. At first all I could think of was how could he and I had to protect my girls, so I made the dreadful phone call and turned him in. Then the waiting began. Waiting for the call that he had been picked up by the sheriff’s office and if they were keeping him or not. That call came and they were keeping him as he admitted to things. My world turned upside down.
I had to be there for my girls and help them with everything they were dealing with and I also had to try and get a grip on myself and what I was dealing with and the shock. The first few days were a bit of a blur, not sure how I made it through them but I did. Hardly slept, ate, just sat and thought about things had to deal with my work. Trying to keep things as normal as I could for the girls. They went to school up until it hit the newspaper and then it got real hard for them.
It seemed it was easier for them to deal with everything then it was for me. I was told this is normal as they had time to deal with the actual abuse so this is a bit of a relief to them and this is all new for me to accept and deal with.
If you would of asked me back there I would be today I would definitely not of said anything like where I actually am. I would have thought I would still be in that hurt, angry, scared stage. But no time does heal, it doesn’t go away but it gets easier.
I have always asked and wondered why, why my girls. I never get an answer to that. People tell me everything happens for a reason – well give me one good reason this had to happen to my girls. What good can come from this happening to them?
I hope they have learned things from this as I have. I have learned that I can take care of myself and my girls with NO help from anyone else. I was scared financely when this happened but we have managed, not as well as I would of hoped but we have managed I have been able to keep our home for us as this was one of the things we talked about at the beginning. The night it all came out I asked my girls if they wanted to stay in our home or move and they both said they wanted to stay. I told them I would do everything in my power to keep our home and I have so far thankfully. I have been able to provide not only a home for them but food in our home, pay all the bills, do a few extra things for the kids, but not much. It has been a struggle. I have learned how to fix things myself or get the help of my brother or call a repair person if neither of us can fix it. I take care of my home by myself do all the yard work, plow the snow, shovel the snow, repairs in or on the house, tractors, cars, etc. I am not reliant on anyone other than myself and this is a good feeling. I would never of thought I could do all of this by myself before but here I am doing it.
My husband compliments me on everything I have done since he threw our live together away and made me become independent. He says he is proud of who I have become and how I handle things and how strong I am. Well I am not sure that I am really that strong just determined.
My girls are actually doing quite well, better than I expected them to. I am so proud of both of them. I was so afraid at first that they would let this take them down the wrong path and my oldest I was worried the most about but she seems to have gotten her head back on and heading in the right direction and my youngest is doing really great in school and has plans for when she graduates and I am supporting both of them 100% in what they are now doing with their lives. They will never know how proud I am of them. I just pray that they continue down the right path in life.
I know the one thing that bothers both of my girls, especially my oldest is that I still have contact with my husband. This is a hard thing. I still love him, not the way I once loved him but I do love him. I know what he did was horrible and I do not approve of it. But he is not a total monster that people think he is because of what he did. He seems to be to be remorseful. There are times I wonder if he truly is and I am not sure if that is just me and my insecurity or not.
My husband has a long sentence and I am not sure if he will ever get out of prison as his sentence is life with possible parole after 10 years. It hurts that he got this sentence as there was no actual sexual penetration or acts, it was touching, caressing, I think there had to be more to it than that but everyone tells me there was no sex involved. I am told it was due to their ages when it started that got him the sentence he got.
I still beat myself up at times as I never picked up on anything that would make me think something wrong was going on. My ex-husband even had child services involved a couple times and nothing came out then and I figured it was just my ex trying to cause problems. My kids were not afraid to be around him, they joked, played together. Everything seemed ok to me till that final day.
I think the worst part of this is my one step daughter says her dad supposedly did something to her. She will not talk to me about it so I do not know what happened. She told her sister, her mom, and 2 of her uncles and not one of them did anything. I tried to talk to the mom but she would not respond to me. The other daughter was like hey I watched when I was around to see if I could notice anything going on – well you have to be around more than once in a while was my thought. Plus she should of spoke up – it’s too easy now to make a call to report abuse and not say who you are. Now they all blame me for everything.
His oldest daughter was worried if he abused his granddaughter and I am not sure if he did or not but I would have to say he probably did. She was very young, not old enough to say anything. But there were times he’d go put her to bed when she stayed with us which was very often and he would be in there for a bit with her. I always figured he was just lying there with her till she went to sleep since she was in a strange place – not her own bed.
I am not sure I could ever trust another guy in my life. I have people always telling me I need to find another man. I tell them I am content with the way my life is right now. They are like no you need someone to take care of you, etc. I am like NO I do not. Right now I can do what I want, when I want. I do not have to answer to anyone about anything other than myself. Plus I would not put my daughter in that situation again so until both my girls are out on their own MEN are the furthest thing from my mind. Even then I am not sure if I want another man in my life. As I am still in contact with my husband and I do not know what will become of our relationship and I there for him now and will see what happens down the road.
This has been a long rough journey that I would not wish on anyone.
  • This has definitely been a trying time in my life. There is so much more to the story and I could go on and on about different things. Like family, friends, co workers, people you no longer want in your life as they are negative and can not support you and your decision to still be in contact. They do not know how it is until they are put in the same situation. Family trying to constantly cause problems, which is why I do not have contact with his family as they are constant trouble. I live my life for me. People may not approve what I do and that I still have contact with him, well there are things in their lives that I do not approve of but I don't make it to the point of having to give up on a friendship, family relationship due to what they want in their life so why is it ok for them to basically tell me how I should live. Sorry going off on a rant. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Joining the Sorority: "You Are An Awful Mother": The words we all seem to fear most.

The e-mail sent from a reader of  Not The Life I Chose said simply, "You are an awful Mother."

I guess I'm lucky. It's only the second direct (but probably emotionally honest) "blame" I have received from a reader on this blog written to, for and, in many ways, by the mothers of children abused by the men we as their mothers trusted.  

Many, if not most, of the comments on Not the Life are from "three types of women" sharing about the choices each of us make after we hear the wake up call, after we hear that devastating knock on our door by law enforcement.  Until then we too probably googled to see where all those "other" sex offenders and their families lived didn't we?

So, what about our relationship (yes our love)  with/ for the person whom we used to think of as a soul mate, Do we Stay or Do we go?  Do we believe wife-hood is forever or only motherhood? What is, was, and will be our role going forward?  What about our relationship (yes our love)  with/ for the person whom we used to think of as husband, but who is now referred to by one and all as a "sex offender" with all the punitive and collateral damage that entails in middle class families.

As mothers, and wives, we  tell of our own mind blowing betrayal and how there is no real going back for any of us. Some divorce quickly change our names and run back to  look for a new normal, a safe middle-class life with another man (often strangely like the first). Some of us stick with our husbands, visit him in prison, defend him, even side with him against "the system."  but we soon decide that we must stay silent for fear of prejudice against us.

We are "The awful Mother who let 'it' all happen"

We now dread having our own addresses "googled" And how do we as mother's get over our own secret fear that we are indeed "awful mothers"?  Get over our own pain enough to change "things" for our children going forward?

We must dare to remove the label we were once willing to affix to those "other" mothers because the one who blames us the most, who fears recognizing truth the most is probably ourselves.

We search the internet and join  Not the Life I Chose because each of us feels alone and in pain. We  fear being tarred and feathered with the same brush we once saw used to tar and feather those "Other Mothers"  who, once agreed "must have known."  Mothers we once thought "just let it all happen."

But still we sometimes blame ourselves. Secretly believe  "I must be an  awful mother" So we begin to  honestly examine what we too once believed about our role in marriage, in motherhood. And by examining and sharing what we did and what we failed to do (and perhaps forgiving ourselves along the way )  connecting  the dots we understand there is a generational cycle of shame, blame and sexual abuse perpetuating child sexual abuse in families.93% of child sexual abuse "happens" within families. The majority of "offenders" are not Strangers but fathers and grandfathers.

 Some of us dearly wish we  could simply go back to "Not thinking about 'it'" for the rest of our lives.  Tradition bound,  we want to roll the same loaded dice,  blindly make the next "right" choice and magically possess the Happily Ever After life promised us when we married the first Prince  Charming who betrayed us. . The past is the past. Right? Lightening doesn't strike twice? But it often does.  Un-examined  Sexual Abuse bleeds on down, becomes a generational cycle of sexual abuse unless we learn from the tragedy that "happened" to us .

As mothers, don't we have to somehow find strength to tell the truth to ourselves, to examine the past in order to make a better life for our angry, abused and still grieving children? How do we figure out what we need to know about what went wrong? How do we tell others so they will understand what we learned from bitter experience? How do we recognize real change in ourselves or in our loved ones? How do we know when we are safe and not simply loyal, trusting and setting ourselves up for betrayed, Again

 "You are an awful mother." is what I once said to myself at 3AM. Anger and (self) blame spews out first. Who hasn't at least thought of suicide?  My father told me it was my fault. I "attracted" him therefore I was to blame for my own abuse. And  I believed him. As I grew older I  blamed my mother, vowed I'd be a "better mother" as a wife I would create a "perfect family" Love my children bushels and bushels. And went on to marry a man strangely like my father.

 I, we, are not alone.
 Not when 1 in  4 girls and 1 in 6 boys report being abused as children. There are  800,000 + names on the National Sex Offender Registry, There are plenty of "us" out here in the national silence.

I know it is  hard to think about, speak about, blog or write about incest and child sexual abuse as an on-going national problem.  When we remain silent out of fear,  we agree with prejudice that refuses us visibility and freedom to tell about our own experience and openly connect the dots of child sexual abuse up and down generations.

 Did not our own fathers tell us "Don't tell?" and now society tells us to we must keep their commandment. And if we tell? Well we will be "awful" children, "awful"wives, "awful" mothers who must have / or should have known because as "the mother" we all lived right there while generations of sexual abuse rolled down upon us and then upon our children and our children's children and... No wonder our sons and daughters don't understand, Call us Awful Mothers.  

As  for myself, there are things I deeply regret, things I did and things I failed to do. There are things I now realize about my own childhood which rendered me incapable of seeing and speaking out then and for a long time I feared "Telling." and fear it even now.  Maybe all mothers in my situation, wake up at 3AM and go over a secret laundry list of  "If Only's"  Wondering what I knew, what I failed to know, what I perhaps never wanted to know? And If so...

 I believe if we dare begin the conversation, others will join us on Not the Life and gaining courage will speak out elsewhere. If  I am emotionally honest about my own life, if I am willing to hear the pain of other daughters, and speak aloud about the lives of family that went before me, perhaps I, perhaps we each can make an invaluable contribution to stopping  abuse rolling on down harming others as it harmed everyone in my own family.

Finding courage, becoming visible. We need to tell our stories,because Story Matters. If not, why would society and our abuser have threatened and silenced us all?  

 Perhaps in "Telling"  my family's story,  The Sex Offender's Wife, A Daughter's Life, A Mother's Voice, Breaking Silence, Beginning the Conversation. I may enlarge understanding and  lift some of the pain,  Even "Make a Difference" not only in the lives of my grandchildren and their children, but perhaps in the lives of others. That is my hope.

And perhaps in sharing Strength and hope on Not the Life, we will all not only reach out to other Mothers and sons and who are still hurting but will perhaps begin to speak out, to begin the journey to change the cycle of sexual abuse that threatens the next generations of boys and girls alike used and abused, bullied, derided and "treated Like Girls"

Perhaps it's in the  "Telling " that we free ourselves,  And in the "Telling" we finally claim  our adult power to protect the vulnerable. For In the "Telling" we change the trajectory of our lives and the lives of our children and all those other children going forward. .  .

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mothers Finding Courage to speak out and throw light on the collateral damage caused to our families not only by "sex offending" but by a system that's not working to help our children

For me the "knock on my door" first announced my own betrayal several years ago. . (Unless of course you count the times various law enforcement entities knock and (still) come right in, dressed to kill,  intent upon  "supervision."

Anyway, I've  always felt afraid, terrified someone would find out something that would get me fired and would bring disaster or send "someone" back to prison. Until now. My father died and left me a box of photographs, letters and family history. I thought I'd write a bland  memoir about this and that (never thought I'd write about incest running down the generations.)   But I got started and wrote my first draft and sent hard copies out to my son and my two brothers (by then my daughter who was also molested had died of ovarian cancer so I couldn't send her a copy to read (even if her husband had "allowed" her read it.)

The memories and responses I got back from my two brothers and my son  opened my eyes to what the particular struggles men molested as children face all their lives.   It became very obvious that ALL OF US were dealing in one way or another with the after-effects of sexual abuse and we had never even spoken to each other about incest.We were still isolated, alone and ashamed to "tell." And to date there is no broad national discussion that lets us all know we are not alone in dealing with the collateral damage caused by incest. child sexual abuse and our husband's/father's  betrayal.

I searched on line for a "community of wives and mothers" who were going through the same things as mothers, wives and perhaps as children and found Not the Life. I started a blog, Wind harp Tree. My memoir became focused on what really happened / happens to famiies before and after the Knock on the Door that announces our future.

As. Mothers we are tasked with protecting our children and blamed and bullied by society almost as though we had intentionally participated in our child's molest. And I did, I  failed mine, much as my mother failed me and my brothers in spite of both her and my best intentions. "Outsiders"  who have critiqued my drafts have been shocked to think incest is a family problem. They want individual happy survivor stories I guess. Otherwise, "Too much information."

As I looked on line,  the "family" problem  fanned out, morphed into many families  dealing with the fall-our after the knock on the door (my father and my husband molested more than "just us" but their actions came a long time ago. Most of their victims are adults or, like my daughter, died before I started looking into the national problem)  Someone asked me if I thought my father was "gay" as though the words  "Gays" and "pervert were synonymous. Some still believe that   being molested as a child "treated like a girl" (my father's favorite term for "it") causes homosexuality?

Young boys fear that "being treated like a girl" means they can never be "real men."   (Believe me there is enough ignorance, malice and prejudice to go all around this topic that has been silenced and smothered for so long.) I said, "No,  I my father (molested as a child himself) was not homosexual, Instead, I think  my father was a sort of sexual omnivore. Addicted to risky sex of any kind, he got off on tricking/ fooling and betraying other adults while he was taking advantage of their and his own children. And he told tales of mistreatment as a child to justify the harm he himself visited upon helpless children but he felt no empathy for the children he took advantage of, just sorry for himself and the way he was mistreated (and he was mistreated.)

Anyway, It is amazing how little those of us with real experience regarding all sides of this "sex offender" issue (including "offenders" themselves) feel free to tell about what can happen to families when someone chooses to speak out and make their lives visible.  Men especially seem unable to discuss  how hard it has been for them growing up to become trustworthy good men after they were molested as children. And it is a fact that a certain percent of those who were molested as children but received no help, do seem to go on to molest and betray others when they grow up.

As mother's we are so afraid the system  will take away our children and so silenced and afraid of what the neighbors might think, that we don't seem to stop and realize we need to support and even demand  effective care and treatment for all the children who were  abused, all those children we still love and care about even while we too are reeling from the after effects of  betrayal,"the knock on the door " and a punitive disdainful "justice system."

And the other side of that same (silenced/ un-examined) coin, are the Juvenile Sex Offenders some of whom are our own children, our "own" juvenile sex offenders (sons? perhaps, grandsons?) who are adjudicated and thrown into adult prison and placed on the National Registry as though as minors, they too were already hardened sex offenders (Young Hannibal Lectors?) destined to compulsively repeat their crimes.

Anyway, I didn't mean to go on and on, but we as mothers and as the families of sex offenders should not forget we have a unique perspective and when possible for our own safety and the safety of our families we need to "make a difference' Our point of view is necessary and valuable. Throwing 180,000 names on the National Sex Offender registry and meting out punitive punishments and endless supervision is NOT working, not even for "our" adult sex offenders..

Shouldn't we  demanding and supporting programs that help molested little girls  and boys "treated like girls" when they are still youngsters ( those who have "offended" are far too young to throw on the national trash pile and find themselves Raised on the Registry)  Sticking up for our kids and the kids of other mothers maybe we culd begin  healing the next generation and  help to slow down what seems to be our national obsession with imprisoning and cataloging and "supervising" and Googling and throwing rocks at the families of sex offenders.

Thanks for listening. Thanks for being there.

Monday, September 7, 2015

And By the Way, Yesterday I spoke to one of the "good guys" we all pray are still out there, a womanwho told me yesterday....

I spoke to a woman yesterday she too heard a knock on her door it was a Public Safety Officer come to warn her, a Police Officer who handed the woman a SEX OFFENDER IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD FLIER emblazoned with the picture of a young boy (maybe 16) who was adjudicated, sent to adult prison. A young Sex OFFENDER who had just moved in to live with relatives  across the street for the woman I spoke to.

The woman told me she had never met her neighbors but...

She said she took the Sex Offender WARNING flier and went across the street and knocked on her neighbor's door.(which she said was covered with screws and nails and locks and dead bolt key hols) and after knocking a couple of times and waiting while all the bolts were slid back and un-bolted) a woman answered the door. and asked "how can I help you?"

The woman tell me the story said, she asked to see the young man pictured on the flier. After a few moments he came and stood behind his mother (or grandmother or aunt or sister?) in the doorway.

The Woman held up the flier and said to the young man, "I just want to welcome you to the neighbor hood." And the boy answered? The boy said, "Thank you. No one ever said that to me that before"

This story isn't apocryphal. She isn't one of us. She knows of no SO in her family. But she is just one of the good guys we all hope will meet us when we too share our stories, overcome our fears  and become  VISIBLE.

I hope to open a discussion about molested children and about Juvenile Sex Offenders on Wind harp Tree, soon. One of the things this woman told me, almost in passing was that she was shocked at the contrast between the picture on the flier of a young sex offender (before his imprisonment) and the way the boy looked standing behind his mother. She said the boy standing before her in the door way looked afraid and discouraged and a hundred years older, all covered with tattoos and  undoubtedly used and abused and un-healed himself by the system we all deal with (especially because some of us are  also not only the mothers to abused children but to children who have abused and harmed other children in our wom families or in others) Believe me there is enough "HURT" in this "hurt locker" to go all around. And still if we can't some how find a way to heal the hurt done to oueselves, to our children and to "our abusers/offenders" how will we ever manage to take the loks off our own door and welcome others into a community of  survivors who all know our duty is to use power to protect ALL of those made vulnerable among us???

Sunday, September 6, 2015

MOTHERS Becoming VISIBLE to EACH OTHER: AFTER THE KNOCK ON THE DOOR: when we are deciding what to do next, Whether to cut and run, who to stick with (and whether and how) When we are beginning to realize that WE too will be swept up in the Collateral Damage of shame and blame and ignorance..

  • The important thing, I think, from my own sad experience and from listening to others here on Not The Life I Chose, is not to get on the pitty-pot about "How badly the IN-Justice System is treating us and our children and "Our" sex offender (adjudicated, Registered, guilty innocent or not)  because then we start to think all our present suffering somehow makes the harm done to others OK we have forgotten this this is not tit-for-tat suffering. Every one needs to change and heal and end up better in spite of undergoing this truly horrendous experience . 
  • He "hit me first" is not an excuse we would accept from quarreling children and this situation abouve all requires us to be (or become) adults bent on using our power as adults to protect children from future harm and to protect the vulnerable and betrayed among us (including ourselves) 
  • Two wrongs don't end up making anybody "Right." No matter how bad we ourselves feel/felt we were hurt as children ourselves, or as adults by the "unfair" the seemingly endless parade of social workers, police, neighbors etc etc that seem to blame us as mothers as much as they blame and shame and pillory "offenders/ fathers/ friendly strangers and  "our" child pornographers), No  matter how unfair all this seems or even  IS,  we ALL have to find some way to get through this, to Recover, to invent the new normal, not just flee back to an old normal and hope it "New" only to find ourselves repeating the toxic patterns we learned about our role in marriage and a woman's "place" in support of our husbands (and sons and ourselves and our own molested children). Just Keeping Silent and Hiding , just trying to hang on to our former place in society (and not fall among "those People" Those families on the Sex Ofgfender registry is herculean and requires we retink our own attitudes and expectations going forward. 
  • Just managing to "get through THIS"  might tear us all down even more than "outsiders" ever could,  if we choose to climb onto the pitty pot and feel so sorry for ourselves that we forget to reach out to each other, "our" offender and yes, even to the persons who were harmed and haven't had a fair chance to heal from their own wound either. 
  • The Point of NOT THE LIFE I CHOSE is to discover that there are indeed a lot of "US" out here. To discover that although we may all be very different personalities with very different points of view Our only Real hope is to find each other, to start a discussion, to share and join hands and in so doing Lift the BURDEN of SILENCE we all struggle with, lighten the burden by sharing our lives and by RESPECTING  each other no matter what collateral damage we struggle under. 
  • Getting stuck on self pity only retards our own growth, our acceotance of our own responsibility to become people who exercise our power as grown-ups to protect children by healing and changing (Post Traumatic Growth is not ony Possible but required of all of us involved in the "situation" after THE KNOCK ON THE DOOR. 
  • Any thoughts on the subject? Please share. Please comment. NOT THE LIFE I CHOSE was created by all of us for all of us (for you and me to find community and sanctuary and (perhaps discover and mark some ways forward for all of us ) 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

"The In-Between Time" Between the Knock on the Door, the Police, the realization of Betrayal and our "next life" with or without "our" Sex Offender.

I found this discussion on Daily Strength (Families of sex Offenders,under the thread  "The In Between Time"  I just recently "found" this resource because a friend of mine whose husband is on the Sex Offender Registry told me about Daily Strength. I wanted to share it with you. Not because I don't hope that Not the Life I Chose won't continue to feel like your "Home Group" so to speak but because we all need each other every day and in sharing, in Breaking the Silence, Overcoming our Fears, we gather courage to become Visible  once again...(I'd even say finding strength to lift the Burdens of Silence and shame from our shoulders and from the shoulders of other women after the Knock on the door is empowering!) When I find more resources I'll share them also and please share your own thoughts, resources etc with the rest of us here on Not The Life I Chose. Please. 

Any way here is reply #7 from the thread

"The "in between" time

The initial shock in any tragic situation is always the hardest. There are many unfamiliar stumbling blocks, and it makes the grieving process (Yes, it is a grieving process) difficult to move forward with, especially if each time you think you are getting a handle on things, something else is thrown at you. 

  • I cannot speak from the aspect of a child going through something like this with a parent. My situation is as a parent grieving the actions of an adult child, but some things are sort of the same.

    Going forward you can count on your life being different from what you have known in the past. People will go out of their way to ‘advice’ you on how you ‘should’ handle things. Many will make claims to know what is best for you and your son. So called friends may turn their backs on you, and you will be judged by proxy. (Associaton)

    On the other hand, you may have different experiences. Go with what feels right for you. If you don’t want to talk about it…..don’t. Make decisions in a manner that will make the process easier for you and your son to handle. Don’t let well meaning people push you into doing something that doesn’t feel right to you.

    I believe one things most of us going through this type of situation have in common is that we have had to grow a pretty thick skin to protect ourselves from the petty gossip that arises, and have had to be willing to accept changes as they come in order to keep our heads above water. You do what you have to do for yourself and your son.

    Keeping busy is a key factor. You will need to distract your mind or you will go nuts thinking about things. I myself probably have the cleanest house in 3 states. Movement and physical activity helps me. I reveal close to the bone events openly to only one person, as most of the people I used to call friends and family are not around by their choice or mine.

    The limbo phase is truly the hardest. Hang in there, eventually things will start to smooth out some. Come back and let us know how you are. We do care. "
I second the motion. Please do come back and let us know how you are. We do care here on Not the Life I Chose, also.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


As some of you who follow  Not the Life I Chose (or the Wind Harp Tree blog) may know, I have been writing A SEX OFFENDER'S WIFE, A DAUGHTER"S LIFE, a memoir about my own experience with incest from the perspective of a daughter, a mother and a sex offender's wife. At first the book was tentatively entitled "Happily Ever After" but as the memoir progressed and I got my "life" down on the page, I realized that A SEX OFFENDER'S WIFE, A DAUGHTER"S LIFE might also provide a unique opportunity for a reader to understand "from the inside out." what life is like inside a sex offender's family.

As an incested child growing up, then as the wife of a man who turned out to be strangely like my own father, then as the mother of incested children, I was silenced, shamed and blamed, And for a long time I did indeed blame myself. I didn't understand that incest and the Burdens of Silence and Shame resonate through whole generations of family until I began to examine my life and write this memoir..

At first, I was afraid to speak up, to write, because however a sex offender's wife or an incested child's mother decides to handle her children's and her own sexual betrayal,someone "out there" is going to say she "lived right there and must have known all along."  Today, not only the sex offender but the whole family can be Googled and tarred and feathered right along with the child who was sexually molested and betrayed by a person she or he had every right to expect would protect him. Life becomes a vicious circle of shame, blame and ignorance.

The Families of Sex Offenders are isolated both by the incester and by a society that doesn't understand what  life is like within the cycle of sexual abuse.  Unless families are able  to speak out, report and keep talking, incested little girls and little boys "Treated like girls" remain trapped  all their lives within the cycle of abuse. Silence and shame renders us invisible. Some boys, like my own father, go on to "solve" the problem of their own molest by growing up to become molesters themselves.  Some girls go on to marry men "strangely like" their own fathers. Living silenced,  un-examined lives we complete a hidden cycle of sexual abuse.

I'm not finished writing or revising A SEX OFFENDER'S WIFE, A DAUGHTER"S LIFE  but when it's polished and ready sometime next year, I hope my memoir will offer a rare perspective  on sexual abuse from inside a family and by extension, see the families of sex offenders perhaps with new eyes. With 750,000 sex offenders on the National Sex Offender Registry (and more added every day) there are a whole lot of "us" out here and our experience offers a  unique  perspective on a national problem..

If nothing else, I hope that in writing A SEX OFFENDER'S WIFE, A DAUGHTER'S LIFE  I may in some small way break the silence and the shame surrounding family sexual abuse, I hope the book starts a discussion and that Wind Harp Tree (like Not the Life I Chose) might provide a place where other mothers, other families living with sexual abuse  are free to  share their own experience,strength and hope with me, with Evie  and  each other. Because, I believe, it is only in daring to become Visible that there is hope of  breaking the cycle of sexual abuse before it rolls on down into the lives of future generations of children.

So, whether your marriage, your family has been effected by sexual betrayal or not, I hope that when A SEX OFFENDER"S WIFE, A DAUGHTER'S LIFE is ready for publication, the book will offer a rare public glimpse of life inside a sex offender's family.

By speaking out on Wind Harp Tree and Not the Life I Chose and by (eventually) publishing A SEX OFFENDER"S WIFE, A DAUGHTER'S LIFE I hope in some small way to help sexually molested little girls and little boys  "treated like girls" to go onto live lives that are  Visible and Free.

So, please tell us your own story. (We won't repeat it) but coming together and sharing will cut down on our isolation, give us comfort to know someone has been there and understands. We have so much to give to each other and to the children, and the families we still love.

So take care. Looking forward to  hearing from you soon. Janet Mackie

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Something we can do on 8/30/2015: Watch a film and Start the Conversation about Child sexual Abuse: Watch Breaking Silence

      Breaking the Silence World Premiere
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Dear Janet,
On Sunday, August 30, at 10/9 Central, the TLC channel will air the premiere of "Breaking the Silence." It has been an incredible experience participating in the development of this groundbreaking film addressing the issue of child sexual abuse. This film communicates the importance of adult responsibility and prevention. Don't forget to set your DVRs or tune in to this special commercial-free program. Join us on Twitter before and during the premiere, using the hashtag #BeTheVoice, to discuss the film and how to protect children from sexual abuse.

We are also creating a viewers guide that will give you more information and provide deeper insight into the film. It will be available on Sunday right before the film at 9 p.m. Eastern and you can download the guide here.
For those of you who are not able to see the live airing, the film is available for download on iTunes, VOD or on demand at starting on Monday, August 31.

We look forward to the premiere of this very important film and ask you to join us for conversation on Twitter and beyond.
Lyndon Haviland
Interim CEO
Darkness to Light 

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Friday, August 28, 2015

What (might be) going on in their Heads? Sex addict, sex offender, rapist, child pornographer, child molester, incester...

An Opinion from Daily Strength a website for Families who live with betrayal

"I personally believe that there is indeed a sex and pornography addiction and that it can be treated.

The reason I am confident that these addictions exist is that these addictions show a chemical change in the brain which is responsible for the behavior.

In school, as part of my pharmacology studies, I had a course in addictions. The porn, sex, and gambling addiction is almost exactly like most other addictions and follows the same pattern.

These addictions are something that happens in the brain, but there is a physical component involved, as with all addictions. I don't see how anyone that understands addictions can say that porn, sex, gambling, or any other activity cannot be an addition.

Any action that excites areas of the brain, making the user want more and more is addicting. In fact, that is one of the main explanations for the addiction and an addiction causes this repeated behavior regardless of the consequences. Porn certainly can do that.

The changes in the brain area seen with guys with porn addictions are the very reason they cannot just stop looking at the images and videos. These addictions are treatable; they are not someone's imagination or an "excuse" for someone to use.

They are real, prompted by demonstrable changes in the brain area and the brain chemistry. "

Thursday, July 30, 2015

As Mothers of sexually abused children, as Wives of Sex Offenders, as Mothers/ Families of sex Offenders We are judged Differently

 After we realize our betrayal, after our children tell us, once the police knock on the door WE are the ones who live in dread of  "exposure"   My mother experienced domestic violence but was so ashamed that my father abused her that she told no one. Sexually abused children are threatened with "foster care" if they tell, we are afraid f what the neighbors will think, afraid of how WE will be judged (After all you lived right there in the house and you claim you didn't know?) We worry about what our bosses at work will say if they find out we live/ed with a man on the Sex Offender Registry.

It's just all too much. To avoid being labeled and rejected, to protect our children we move to another state, we remarry  l in haste sometimes to another strangely familiar man... We try to be accepted as normal. We live in fear of "exposure" and we learn how to lie. We tell ourselves just don't think about it...

But No Problem is ever "Solved" when we tell ourselves  "Just don't think about it."   Sexual Abuse affects the entire  family so does Alcoholism, even Domestic Violence impose certain Strangely Familiar "patterns" upon wives, children  and  families struggling with each of these destructive  "issues" separately or in tandem.  

It is pretty well known that wives of alcoholics learn to behave in certain ways, in fact the  word "Enabler " was coined (by some "mental health professional" no doubt) to point out the part wives learn to play in their continuing attempts  to cover up "the Problem."

As "Wives" we  don't want our husbands exposed, fired from their jobs, we dread the loss of social standing. We don't want our  children pointed out, our  family ridiculed,  pitied or reported to the police. What ever the reason we make  Every effort  to avoid facing "the problem" in our relationship whatever we think "it" is.  To avoid having the family Exposed as "different." we minimize (He's not a drunk. He just drinks a little too much.) (or in the case of sexual abuse: "Pornography isn't really a sexual offense. etc. sexual  addiction is a disease and it's no bodies business if my husband just the drink. I'm not really the sole support of this family, he works when he can....They lied/ the child lied/ he says he didn't, he's not a drunk, a sex offender, unfathful etc etc )

For whatever "reasons"  wives and girlfriends (mothers) worry, excuse, attempt to cover up the extent of the damage that "Alcoholism" or(or the less mentionalbe "problems we may "imagine") are wrecking, have wrecked, upon our  marriage or relationship or children,  upon our  whole family. Even when "our alcoholic" "Our Offender" or til death do we part love of our life" goes to jail (for DUI or fighting ...or a Sex Offense)  Ever faithful Wives  keep on keeping on far longer than love, /marriage vows or even reason would seem to require. We Enable. We blame ourselves...

The   label "Enabler" is well earned. Yet we do not see that we have been conditioned as good wives and mothers to  put forth such efforts. And because we continue,  due to our efforts to fix to "love away" the problems the "Harm"  goes on much longer,  In the process the entire family which we as wives  and mothers try so hard to keep together becomes infected. Our children learn toxic patterns of behavior when they are abused, molested,  witness domestic violence and /or Alcoholism.  As  wives and mothers all too often we assume the role of fixer/enabeler. to minimize the guilt in not having "fixed" whatever problem infests our family. Even when we don't exactly know what the "problem is" it must be our fault because we have not "fixed" it...but never fea we will even if  our husband   who is in the process betraying and thereby   mentally, emotionally and even physically abusing us. But we "forgive" we continue to minimize, to believe the power of our love will make everything "All right." We even learn to feel Pride  in our own endurance in the strength of our love, in our faith which keeps us   keeping on. We are after all "good women" however we pride ourselves in being "good/faithful/forgiving. We ,at least, are/true to OUR vows.

Sound familiar?   We wives of sex offenders seem to behave in much the same way, before and after their  betrayals are exposed.. In much the same way, wives who don't even realize the harm being done to the children they love, continue to pride themselves, upon their continuing love for husbands who are betraying the very vows their wives once  imagined they both held  hold sacred. We all want to imagine that we can (unilaterally) "fix things" unilaterally love everything into perfection. (even if we don't quite yet know exactly what went wrong.)

The problem is that even if we choose divorce we,(much like the wife of and alcoholic) because of our own conditioning to their unreasonable demands, we need to be needed. We ae all to prone to run our and marry another "Strangely Familiar" man wh offers us the opportunity to (this time) successfully "Fix" another "Strangely Familiar Relationship"

The wives of Alcoholics have a place to go, to listen and learn from others affected by alcoholism. It's called Alanon.  Adult children of Alcoholics attend (you guessed it) Adult Children Meetings.
AA has been active for nearly 100 years and meeting can be located n every town.

The wives of Alcoholics first recognized themselves as enablers needing each others support.
As the wives and children of sexual abusers, we could learn a lot Alanon.  In fact in Alanon, some women and children are able to see patterns patterns of "abuse" across all the spectrums of pain and harm injected into their own lives.  Some are even mentioning in meeting that they too were sexually abused in childhood, saw domestice abuse etc etc.

I am not suggesting that every pr=ornographer, every sexual abuser is in fact and alcoholic, nor am I suggesting every alcoholic is an abuser...

Just Saying, women and children trying to "fix" the situations, however dis-separate the "symptoms" may react in similar ways, in addition to the harm caused by chld sexual abuse...we may all feel the same guilt and learn similar patterns that we carry into our next "relationship?

Just saying.  After all

Monday, July 20, 2015

A little something a sex offender's wife CAN do...a Survey to help researchers understand what happened to us and to our families

From Sharon Denniston, Ph.D. Candidate in Public Policy and Administration
Walden University, College of Social and Behavioral Science
Filipek Scholar to Not The Life I Chose...via WAR

Dear Janet Mackie,
Your help is needed to participate in this research study.  If you are eligible, your participation by taking the survey is very important.  Whether you are eligible or not, please share this survey flyer with others that might be eligible, or that might know of eligible persons.

This research study examines mental health impacts of registering individuals as sex offenders for 1 or more offenses that occurred at less than 18 years of age.  Potential consequences of this policy after these individuals have reached adulthood are studied.   The survey is taken online and is anonymous.  (Person distributing the flyer do not provide any names of potential participants to the researcher, and they do not have to collect any data from the participant.)

Even though this study is called the “Juvenile Sex Offender Registration Impact Survey”, eligible participants must currently live in the United States, are currently between 21 and 39 years of age, and meet one of the following criteria:

1) they have never had to register as a sex offender (it doesn't matter if they have a criminal record or not--just as long as they have never had to register)

2) they are currently required to register as a sex offender for 1 or more offenses that occurred when they were less than 18 years old (the offenses may have been handled in juvenile or adult court)

3) they were previously required to register as a sex offender (but no longer have to register), for 1 or more offenses that occurred when they were less than 18 years old (the offenses may have been handled in juvenile or adult court)

This study gives participants a rare opportunity to contribute to scholarly research regarding the potential impacts of sex offender registration on juvenile offenders.  Please take this study if you qualify for it.  Also, share this with other persons who may qualify for this study or with other individuals that might know of persons that qualify.  The flyer about the study is attached.  I'm also including the link directly to the survey to make it easier to participate.  After the first few pages of information at the survey website, participants that qualify for the study should have about 70 - 80 questions.  You must press "Done" at the end for your study to be complete.  If you have 5 or less questions it means you did not qualify for the study.  If this occurs and you really do fit the criteria for the study, you may take the survey again, taking care to read the questions carefully, so you answer correctly (especially question #5).  

* 5. Are you currently, or have you in the past been required to register as a sex offender because of an offense that you committed when you were 18 years of age or older?  (For persons that have had to register, this is referring to your age when the act itself occurred or was alleged to have occurred--not your age when you were charged or convicted.  If you have never had to register, your answer should be "No".  Also, if you have had to register, but you committed the offense when you were less than 18 years old, your answer should be "No".) 
No or Yes
If you meet the criteria and are willing to take the quick survey a link is provided below. For those participating, WAR will enter you in a drawing for a $50 gift card after you complete the survey and click on "DONE" then send a screen print of that page to

We will have the drawing at 6 PM CT on July 31, 2015.  Now an important many on-line surveys can you participate in for a chance to win a $50 gift card for 20 minutes of your time while helping impact an important component of this issue.

You must press "DONE" below to complete the survey.  
Thank you for your participation in this very important study.
If you feel you need mental health assistance after completing this survey, please call or go on-line to:

The National Hopeline Center         1-800-442-HOPE or

Sharon Denniston, Ph.D. Candidate in Public Policy and Administration
Walden University, College of Social and Behavioral Science
Filipek Scholar

WAR Admin

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Regarding the Question of Re-Marriage, of Re-Building after Betrayal, especially when as wives and mothers we never saw it coming...

It is pretty well known that wives of Alcoholics learn to behave in certain ways, in fact the  word "Enabler " was coined (by some "mental health professional" no doubt) to point out the part wives learn to play in their continuing attempts  to cover up "the Problem."  I have come to see that as a sex offender's wife, I too "Enabled" even though I clearly did not understand just What I was "Enabling."

Even after we recognize our betrayal some of us continue to "enable"

As "Wives" we  don't want our husbands/ our family exposed, fired from their jobs. W e dread the loss of social standing. We say it's unfair! Society is "unfair" And it's true, we don't want our  children pointed out, our  family ridiculed,  pitied or God Forbid, reported to the police, for any reason. "Good" wives know, we  are expected to be eternally supportive, Not matter what the family "problems" we think if we just try harder. We think we should be able to fix it...and if not we blame ourselves.  .

We may make  make  every effort  to avoid facing "the problem" in our relationship whatever we think "it" is, we don't want to think about it.  To wish  to avoid having the family Exposed as "different." we minimize (He's not a drunk. He just drinks a little too much. or in the case of sexual abuse: we tell ourselves "Pornography isn't really a sexual offense. etc. Sexual  addiction is a disease and it's no one's business if my husband...We say It's "Family Business" just keep quiet. ... Whatever..".it"  was, it's just... . We fool ourselves. "I'm not really the sole support of this family, I'm only helping out a little.Just until...this court stuff blows over...he works/ed when he could....We tell ourselves "The others  lied/ the child lied/ he says he didn't do "it" He's not really a drunk, not a sex offender, not unfaithful etc etc It's all just SO unfair we tell ourselves..."It was only once...)

For whatever "reasons"  as wives and girlfriends (mothers) we worry, excuse, attempt to cover up the extent of the damage that "Alcoholism"  (or those far less mentionable "problems we do not even want to "imagine") are wrecking/ have wrecked, upon our  marriage or relationship or children,  upon our  whole family even before the knock on the door, the police. Even when "our alcoholic" "Our Offender" the  "til death do us part" "the love of our life" goes to jail (for DUI or fighting ...or a Sex Offense)  We think we must be Ever faithful.  As good wives,we keep on keeping on far longer than love, /marriage vows or even reason would seem to require. We Enable. We blame ourselves...My mother did. I certainly did.

The   label "Enabler" (like "good wife") is well earned. Yet we do not see that we have been conditioned as good wives and mothers to  put forth such efforts. And because we continue,  due to our efforts to fix to "love away" the problems the "Harm"  goes on much longer,  In the process the entire family which we as wives  and mothers try so hard to keep together becomes infected, learns   a family pattern of   enabling . Our children learn these toxic patterns of behavior when they are abused, molested,  witness domestic violence and /or Alcoholism.  But what about the wives of sex offenders? As  wives and mothers, I believe, that we too,  all too often  assume the role of fixer/enabeler. to minimize the guilt in not having "fixed" whatever relationship "problem" infests our family.

Even when we don't exactly know what the "problem is", when we have been all too effectively lied to,  we assume blame fearing that "it" must be our fault because we never "fixed" what ever "it" was. But never fear, now  we will,  even while  our husband  continues  the process,  lying and betraying and taking advantage thereby mentally, emotionally and even physically continuing to abuse not only our children but us as well... But we "forgive."

We continue to minimize, to believe the power of our love will make everything "All right." We even learn to feel Pride  in our own endurance in the strength of our love, in our faith which keeps us   keeping on. We are after all "good women"  We pride ourselves in being "good/faithful/and forgiving" . We ,tell ourselves now he's been arrested (unfair as it is) we now know the problem and he says he'll change so, true to our marriage vows, here's our chance to "fix" everything. We still have a chance to be "good" wives etc etc etc...even standing in line outside the prison on visiting day ...don't we feel a certain pride.

Sound familiar?   We wives of sex offenders seem to behave in much the same way, before and after their  betrayals are exposed.. In much the same way, as wives and mothers  who don't even yet realize the harm being done our  children,  we continue to pride ourselves, upon our continuing love and support  for husbands (who are/were betraying the very vows we once  imagined they too  held  sacred.)   We all want to imagine that we can (unilaterally) "fix things" unilaterally love everything back together (even if we don't, quite yet, know exactly what went wrong.)

The problem is that even if we choose divorce we,(much like the exhausted wives of  alcoholics) as wives were conditioned   to meet  unreasonable demands, We learned to need to be needed.  Much like the wives of Alcoholics,  we are all to prone to run our and marry another "Strangely Familiar" man who offers us the opportunity to (this time) successfully "Fix" another "Strangely Familiar Relationship" so that we can, at last, live happily ever after.

The wives of Alcoholics have a place to go, to listen and learn from others affected by alcoholism. It's called Alanon.  Adult children of Alcoholics attend (you guessed it) Adult Children Meetings.
AA has been active for nearly 100 years and meetings can be located n every town.

 As the wives and children of sexual abusers, we could learn a lot from Alanon.  In fact in Alanon, some women and children are able to see family patterns  of "abuse" across all the spectrums of pain and harm injected into their own lives.  Some are even mentioning in meetings that they  were also sexually abused in childhood, They too witnessed  domestics abuse etc etc.

I am not suggesting that every prornographer, every sexual abuser is in fact and alcoholic, nor am I suggesting every alcoholic is an abuser... I am saying, Just saying, that we all have a lot in common. Child sexual abuse like alcoholism is a Family disease....

Just Saying,... In such families, we w omen and children learn early that its secret "Family Business' that it's our responsibility to  "fix" Family situations, however DIS-separate the cause of our own harm. These Family "symptoms" seem to be much the same. Once learned  in what ever abusive family,  we all may learn to react in similar ways, in addition to the harm caused during the commission of  child sexual abuse...families  all learn to feel guilt, to believe   that we shoulda/woulda/coulda   prevented/harm. We think we, abused and betrayed as we often are, we must /fixed our families...    So we all  learn similar patterns and  we carry into our next "relationship"

Just saying. There are Family Patterns... After all I was molested as a child,  My mother was not molested as a child but she learned early the role of good wife and enabler and fell for a man, my father, who molested me and my bothers. AND THEN, having also learned the lessen of  good wife and   I fell in love and married  a  man, (molested as a child ) who was himself "strangely" like my own father. My husband then sexually abused my children...

I tell you this because I believe there is an underlying pattern and unless, or  until I (like the women in Alanon) see my own conditioning as a wife and mother there is nothing to stop the harm spreading..even to the next generation.  We say Alcohilism "runs in families." Many wives of Alcoholics divorce one alcoholic only to marry another.

I have come to believe that if as the wives of sex offenders, we continue to hope for another/ better/safer marriage without ever understand our own  ingrained conditioning ( "NOT seeing" "Not knowing" pride in the power of our love to "fix" our family," belief in  a wife's "supportive" role in marriage.)...As wives (especially as wives of sex offenders) we  will continue (consciously or unconsciously to accwept even seek out the role of Enabler. We will continue to be attracted to strangely familiar men attracted to a  woman able to "enable" him at the expense of her children.

As the wives of sex offenders, we can't keep  "just not  thinking about it", We betray ourselves and our children when we depend upon  "luck"  to decide whether the next man who seems to "fit our expectations", the next one "who feels strangely familiar" the "good" one who wants to help us "Rebuild" seems strangely familiar because he stoo, somehow "fits." an already established family pattern.  bling.

Just saying...In  "I don't want to  think about "it" just "not identifying, not examining  "strangely familiar"  patterns in our own lives ...will not protect us or our children...

Fo In"Not thinking" the unthinkable... don't we just  re-expose our selves and our children, expose even perhaps future generations who pass along  broken family patterns

Even thinking such thought is terrifying.

What do you think?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Free online training:...As mothers, dealing with our own betrayal is far from easy..reaching out, talking to our own children feels impossible

Darkness to Light

No one ever knew that when I was 10 years old, my babysitter’s son sexually abused me. My mother suspected something wasn't right, but she didn’t know how to talk to me about it.
Forty-nine years later, I still feel the effects: PTSD, panic attacks, low self-esteem. But since I shared my story, I’ve found that speaking out is helping me heal – and helping prevent the same thing from happening to another child.
Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children® online training teaches adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, including tips for talking about it. Nearly one million people have participated in this unique program. Through the powerful voices of survivors, you’ll learn how to see the signs of child sexual abuse and what to do when you suspect a child is being abused.
Click here to take the Stewards of Children® training. It's free this month with the code May2015, so don't miss this opportunity*.
My journey hasn't been easy, but I'm proud to have found the courage to speak out as a survivor. Now I'm working to make sure everyone knows what to look for, so that no other children have to suffer through what I did.
Please, take the time to learn what you can do to protect the children in your life.
Be empowered: Take Darkness to Light's Stewards of Children® training TODAY for free. Follow the link, select "New Account" and check out using coupon code May2015.
Thank you,
C. David Moody, Jr.
*This free training offer is made possible by generous funding from the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

After the Police Knock on the Door what can we do in the months and years to come? I am posting this list for those mothers (like myself) trying to put the pieces of life back together for ourselves and our families, Mother's dealing with the "Aftereffects" of their own child's sexual abuse by a husband we assumed was trustworthy, (some of us dealing the unrecognized "Aftereffects" of our own childhood sexual abuse) the Incest Survivors' Aftereffects Checklist, by E.Sue Blume may help to make sense of our reactions (and even our choices) as wives and mothers. In any case I pass the list on to you in hopes it helps make some order out of the chaos we all go through

Secret Survivors’ Aftereffects Checklist, by E. Sue Blume

Angela Shelton
This list is from E. Sue Bloom, author of, Secret Survivors: Uncovering Incest and Its Aftereffects in Women
Author’s note: This list may be copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes without prior authorization, as long as it is not edited or altered in any way. That is, nothing may be removed or changed. For all uses for which a fee is charged, and other uses–presentations, education, publishing– the author must be contacted for permission.
  • Copyright © 1985–2004 by E. Sue Blume, C.S.W., Diplomate in Clinical Social Work
INCEST is any use of a minor child to meet the sexual or sexual/emotional needs of one or more older or more powerful persons in ongoing emotional relationship(s) with that child (parent, step- or grandparent, sibling, babysitter, mother’s boyfriend, teacher, rabbi, priest, family doctor, etc.). Although incest has traditionally been defined as sex and/or marriage between close relatives, above all, it is child abuse—an assault on the child’s sexual boundaries by the very person(s) entrusted with her care. It is a violation of a dependency bond, not of a blood relationship. And it does not require touch. A child can be violated through inappropriate photographs, the way she is talked to or by the way she is looked at.
Incest is such a traumatic experience that its victims may forget that it even occurred. But its scars live on, confusing in their seeming meaninglessness. Problems with sex, trust, touch, addictions, paralyzing depression, memory, shame and guilt can feel crazy and out of control, especially when the cause is unknown. This Checklist describes the consequences of incest trauma. It offers a profile of the post-incest experience in women (although many items apply to men as well), or “Post-Incest Syndrome”. It can be used as a guide to help survivors understand that there are legitimate reasons for their unrelenting difficulties—that, in fact, these “problems” are actually valiant attempts to cope with an impossible situation, and to meet healthy underlying needs.
Many of the items on this list can also apply to survivors of childhood abuses such as battering, or adult children of families where there is a history of alcoholism. Incest is especially common in alcoholic families, although not all alcohol-involved abuse is attributable to the disease of alcoholism. Incest perpetrators often apply the same defenses to their behavior as those used by alcoholics: denial, minimizing, and projection of blame. Additionally, perpetrators, just like victims, may dissociate the abuse. Still, incest is always the responsibility of the abuser. Although incest perpetrators are often described as “sick,” for the most part, this behavior is a choice—intentional, planned, and purposefully hidden.
Have you been struggling with problems that nothing seemed to help, for which even therapy could not find a cause? If the majority of the items of this list apply to you, you might want to consider whether you are a survivor of incest. Of course, you should never allow a checklist, or another person, to determine whether you have been abused. Only you can determine this, and the quest for such answers is long and painful. Even then, remembering is not the end of the process of recovery, but the beginning. If you are a survivor, above all, know this: you are not to blame. And healing is possible; with help, you can break free from the self-blame, isolation, and the entrapment of Post-Incest Syndrome.
This Checklist is based on an original list by New York Women Against Rape, as well as extensive observation of and communication with survivors. To all who contributed: your generous sharing of your experiences and pain is a gift to all survivors.
  1. Fear of being alone in the dark, of sleeping alone; nightmares (especially of rape, pursuit, threat, entrapment, blood); night terrors.
  2. Swallowing and gagging senstivitiy; repugnance to water on face when bathing or swimming (suffocation feelings.)lings)
  3. Poor or distorted body image; alienation from, not at home in, failure to heed signals or take care of body; manipulating body size to avoid sexual attention; compulsive cleanliness, incl. bathing in scalding water; or, total inattention to personal appearance or hygiene
  4. Somatization, stress-related diseases: gastrointestinal problems, GYN disorders (including spontaneous vaginal infections); headaches; arthritis/joint pain; fibromyalgia. Also internal scarring. Aversion to doctors (esp. gynecologists, dentists)
  5. Wearing a lot of clothing, even in summer; baggy clothes; failure to remove clothing even when appropriate to do so (while swimming, bathing, sleeping); extreme requirement for privacy when using bathroom
  6. Addictions, eating disorders, drug/alcohol overuse/abuse/or total abstinence; compulsive behaviors (including busyness)
  7. Self-injury (cutting, burning, etc.) (physical pain is manageable) (this is an addictive pattern); self-destructiveness
  8. Phobias, panic, anxiety
  9. Need to be invisible, perfect, or perfectly bad
  10. Suicidal thoughts, attempts, obsession (including “passive suicide”)
  11. Depression (sometimes paralyzing); seemingly baseless crying; sadness
  12. Anger issues: inability to recognize, own or express anger; rage; fear of rage (actual or imagined); constant anger; misdirected anger, intense hostility toward entire gender or ethnic group (“race”) of the perpetrator
  13. PTSD symptoms, including shock or shutdown in crisis (stressful situation always = crisis); psychic numbing. “Hysterical” symptoms: physical pain, paralysis, numbness associated with particular memory, emotion (e.g. anger) or situation (e.g. sex). See also “flashbacks” in item 26.
  14. Rigid control of thought process; humorlessness or extreme solemnity
  15. Childhood hiding, hanging on, cowering in corners (security-seeking behaviors); adult nervousness over being watched or surprised; feeling watched; startle response; hypervigilance
  16. Inability to trust (trust is not safe); absolute trust that turns to rage when disappointed; trusting indiscriminately
  17. High risk taking (“daring the fates”); inability to take risks
  18. Control, power, territoriality issues; fear of losing control; obsessive/compulsive behaviors (attempts to control things that don’t matter, just to control something!); power/sex confusion (see also #27)
  19. Guilt/ shame/ low self-esteem/ feeling worthless/ high appreciation of small favors by others
  20. Pattern of being a victim (victimizing oneself after being victimized by others), especially sexually; no sense of own power or right to set limits or say “no;” pattern of relationships with much older or more powerful persons (onset in adolescence); OR exaggerated sense of entitlement; revictimization by others (adult sexual violence, including sexual exploitation by bosses and “helping” professionals
  21. Must “produce” to be loved; instinctively knowing, doing what the others need or want; relationships = big tradeoffs
  22. Disturbances in attachment; abandonment issues; desire for relationships with no separateness; avoidance/fear of intimacy
  23. Dissociation: blocking out some period of early years (esp. 1–12), specific person, place, event; creating fantasy worlds, identities (incl. women imagining self to be male, = not a victim); Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (was MPD)
  24. Feeling of carrying an awful secret; urge to tell/ fear of its being revealed; certainty that no-one would listen. Being generally secretive. Feeling “marked” (the “scarlet letter”)
  25. Feeling crazy; feeling different; feeling oneself to be unreal and everyone else to be real, or vice versa; cognitive problems
  26. Denial (no awareness); repression of memories; pretending; minimizing (“it wasn’t that bad”); strong, deep, “inappropriate” negative reactions to a person, place or event; flashbacks, which may occur as dreams, or sensory flashes (a brief image or feeling) with no meaning; or memories of surrounding details but not event or identity of abuser. Memory often begins with least threatening event or abuser. Details of experience may never be fully or accurately known, but much recovery is possible without full recall. Your inner guide will release memories at the pace you can handle (see also #13, #23)
  27. Sexual issues: sex feels “dirty;” aversion to being touched; strong aversion to (or need for) particular sex acts; feeling betrayed by one’s body; trouble integrating sexuality and emotionality; confusion or overlapping of affection/ sex/ dominance/ aggression/ violence; having to pursue power in sexual arena which is actually sexual acting out (self-abuse, manipulation [esp. women]; abuse of others [esp. men]); compulsively “seductive,” or compulsively asexual; must be sexual aggressor, or cannot be; impersonal, “promiscuous” sex with strangers concurrent with inability to have sex in intimate relationship (conflict between sex and caring); prostitute, stripper, “sex symbol” (Marilyn Monroe), porn actress; sexual “acting out” to meet anger or revenge needs; sexual addiction; avoidance; shutdown; crying after orgasm; pursuit feels like violation; sexualizing of all meaningful relationships; erotic response to abuse or anger, sexual fantasies of dominance/ real rape (results in guilt and confusion); teenage pregnancy. Note: Homosexuality is not an aftereffect!
  28. Pattern of ambivalent or intensely conflictual relationships (abuse is familiar; also, in true intimacy, issues are more likely to surface; in problem relationships, focus can be shifted from real issue of incest). Note: Partner of survivor often suffers consequences of Post-Incest Syndrome also (especially sex and relationship issues)
  29. Avoidance of mirrors (connected with invisibility, shame/self-esteem issues; distorted perceptions of face or body, DID)
  30. Desire to change one’s name (to dis-associate from the perpetrator or take control through self-labeling)
  31. Limited tolerance for happiness; active withdrawal from/ reluctance to trust happiness (“ice = thin”)
  32. Aversion to noise-making (including during sex, crying, laughing, or other body functions); verbal hypervigilance (careful monitoring of one’s words); quiet-voiced, especially when needing to be heard
  33. Stealing (adults); fire-starting (children)
  34. Food sensitivities/avoidance based on texture (mayonnaise) or appearance (hot dogs), which remind the survivor of abuse, or smell/sound which remind survivor of perpetrator; aversion to meat, red foods
  35. Compulsive honesty or compulsive dishonesty (lying)
  36. Hypervigilance regarding child abuse, or inability to see child abuse, or avoidance of any awareness or mention of child abuse; tendency to develop relationships with incest perpetrators
  37. Personality disorders, characteristics; Psychiatric illness (NOTE: Post-Incest Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as these)
  • Note to therapists and survivors: Some items on this list are strongly associated with childhood sexual abuse; however, over 25 items should be identified before incest is suspected. Proceed with caution!
  • Survivors and partners, be gentle with yourselves—and each other.

Secret Survivors

Secret Survivors Paperback – January 20, 1998

All rights reserved. No portion of this Aftereffects list may be copied or reprinted without the author’s permission. Requests may
be submitted to the author at the above address. Your thoughts and comments on this material are also welcome.

E. Sue Blume’s book based on this list, Secret Survivors: Uncovering Incest and Its Aftereffects in Women is available as a Ballantine paperback (at your bookstore, or through such websites as,, etc.). Lectures on this and other material can be scheduled with the author.
E. Sue Blume, LCSW, Diplomate
P.O. Box 7167
Garden City, N.Y. 11530