We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

Congressional Meeting on Mandatory Reporting

On December 2, 2011, I met with Senator Bob Casey’s office in Washington, DC to provide input into his pending legislation. He had named it the “Speak Up to Protect Every Abused Kid (Speak Up) Act of 2011.” His objective was to make it mandatory that all adults be held responsible in reporting any child abuse they witness.

It was introduced on November 16, 2011 with one cosponsor (Barbara Boxer, D-A). It was to amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) as shown below:

  1. any recent act or failure to act, on the part of a parent or caretaker, that results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, or sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act that presents an imminent risk of serious harm; or
  2. any deliberate act, on the part of an individual other than a parent or caretaker, that results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, or sexual abuse or exploitation, or that presents an imminent risk of serious harm to a child.

It also directed the Secretary of Health and Human Service (HHS) to make grants to eligible entities to carry out educational campaigns and provide training regarding state laws for mandatory reporting of incidents of child abuse and neglect.

Senator Casey’s legislation was forwarded to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions resulting in no votes on the bill.

On May 15, 2014, Senator Casey reintroduced the bill. He had no co-sponsors and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions has not voted on it. 

Child abuse and child neglect have been part of our country’s practices from the very beginning.

As towns and cities were developed across America, it was the great land of opportunity for white men. For everyone else, it was a nightmare. White men exacted stern control over Native Americans and blacks. All women and children were under their thumbs. This patriarchal system of power was firmly entrenched in our culture, sanctioned by law, and blessed by the church.

Extreme discipline was exercised within many families. Women were not to question their husband’s authority in anything, including his relationship with their children. Whatever happened under a man’s roof was private. Men were protected from prosecution for beating their wives and children because society didn’t believe it was the public’s concern if severe corporal punishment was used.

Churches reinforced that women were to be subservient to their husbands. This belief of supremacy of the father within the home made it a whole lot harder for women and children to get any support to stop the violence. It wasn’t until 1971 in Reed vs. Reed that the Supreme Court held that women, too, were entitled to equal protection under the law promised by the 14th Amendment.

Very little has changed in these belief systems since our country was founded. While women have many more legal rights, the home is still considered “a private castle,” and children continue to be abused and neglected.

This problem of abusive parental control at a child’s expense is criminal and pervasive in our culture. Children are at the total mercy of their parents, and far too often become the scapegoats for the ills of the parents.

While meeting with Senator Casey’s legislative assistant, I said even though his bill didn’t address the totality of the problem, at least it was some effort in making the issue more public.

I also made the point that all the media hype still does not talk about the tens of millions of adult survivors. We still remain the invisible Americans. When our Center for adult survivors of child abuse and neglect begins providing services the end of this year, though, this will be a visible reminder to all that we, as survivors, do exist and deserve compassion, support, and respect.  

 


[1] “Supreme Court’s Decisions and Women’s Rights,” The Supreme Court Historical Society, 2000

 

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The Duty To Protect Children From Sexual Abuse
Child Abuse Survivors' Voices - Part 1
 

Comments 5

Ptperez on Saturday, 20 June 2015 10:57

So sad. How can the entire Senate ignore this bill?

1
So sad. How can the entire Senate ignore this bill?
alita on Monday, 22 June 2015 18:11

They can ignore the bill, because they don't see that this type of advocacy is going to get them any votes or supporters.

0
They can ignore the bill, because they don't see that this type of advocacy is going to get them any votes or supporters.
Diane on Monday, 22 June 2015 13:11

Just like they always have. I walked the halls of Congress for 10 years trying to get SOMEONE to pay attention to the plight of adult survivors in America with no success - what I've labeled the Brick Wall of Denial. The Victims Rights Caucus wasn't interested, the Black Caucus wasn't interested nor the Women's Caucus. When I wrote to Hillary Clinton hoping she would make this a campaign issue since she always states she is so concerned about children, her Director of Correspondence wrote back: "Secretary Clinton is grateful for your advocacy on behalf of adult survivors of child abuse, however, she will be unable to consider your proposal at this time (to discuss the issues with her). On her behalf, please accept my best wishes for every success with your efforts." Not one president or any member of Congress in the history of our country has EVER placed child abuse on the national agenda. This speaks volumes.

1
Just like they always have. I walked the halls of Congress for 10 years trying to get SOMEONE to pay attention to the plight of adult survivors in America with no success - what I've labeled the Brick Wall of Denial. The Victims Rights Caucus wasn't interested, the Black Caucus wasn't interested nor the Women's Caucus. When I wrote to Hillary Clinton hoping she would make this a campaign issue since she always states she is so concerned about children, her Director of Correspondence wrote back: "Secretary Clinton is grateful for your advocacy on behalf of adult survivors of child abuse, however, she will be unable to consider your proposal at this time (to discuss the issues with her). On her behalf, please accept my best wishes for every success with your efforts." Not one president or any member of Congress in the history of our country has EVER placed child abuse on the national agenda. This speaks volumes.
alita on Monday, 22 June 2015 18:42

I have only begun to realize the issues I have been dealing with, because of the family violence and addictions that I lived through. At first i thought I didn't have any issues except that I had a tendency to attract abusive, angry, and irresponsible people for lovers. Later I realized that I was trying to solve that old issue - 'if I can just get these angry lovers to see that they don't have to be angry and miserable because I can love them out of their misery....' Then I discovered that heroin took ALL the pain of the past away and made everything beautiful - And I battled substance abuse for years - along with eating disorders - and exercise addiction - And book addictions -. I have thousands of books that take me out of this reality. Then I had a baby and stopped the substance abuse cold turkey for the baby - And raised her for 20 years - but during her raising, my anxiety and depression was almost unbearable - and I totally ignored important practicalities like planning for my retirement or future - also my parenting style was unbalanced because I didn't want my child to be hurt the way I had been hurt, and I missed the truth that my child was a completely separate individual from myself. Then she grew up and left home, and I picked up a substance again. Now I'm having flashbacks of memories i didn't even know I had .... I'm 60 and only beginning to realize that there is so much more to living than hiding from my past, and making myself acceptable to people I don't even know .... I'm just starting to see that I have been living, divided into many shattered pieces - because to integrate all those pieces into one whole human being is too painful. What has been helping me lately is refusing to isolate and forcing myself to socialize with and trust the people in one of the 12 step programs ... And of course refusing to use chemichals to mask the truth. Yes I do have issues - WAY more than i ever realized. But are they really that bad that I as a survivor need special types of services? Sometimes I wonder if I'm just over-reacting to the past ... There are lots of people out here with issues like mine ... Yet - even people who have addictions and anxiety like i do can't really understand ... Only other survivors do. I'm starting to cry now, even as i write this. I never really thought I was that bad off because I'm able to support myself, I got a master's degree and on the surface people think I'm competent. But inside I always hurt too much.

0
I have only begun to realize the issues I have been dealing with, because of the family violence and addictions that I lived through. At first i thought I didn't have any issues except that I had a tendency to attract abusive, angry, and irresponsible people for lovers. Later I realized that I was trying to solve that old issue - 'if I can just get these angry lovers to see that they don't have to be angry and miserable because I can love them out of their misery....' Then I discovered that heroin took ALL the pain of the past away and made everything beautiful - And I battled substance abuse for years - along with eating disorders - and exercise addiction - And book addictions -. I have thousands of books that take me out of this reality. Then I had a baby and stopped the substance abuse cold turkey for the baby - And raised her for 20 years - but during her raising, my anxiety and depression was almost unbearable - and I totally ignored important practicalities like planning for my retirement or future - also my parenting style was unbalanced because I didn't want my child to be hurt the way I had been hurt, and I missed the truth that my child was a completely separate individual from myself. Then she grew up and left home, and I picked up a substance again. Now I'm having flashbacks of memories i didn't even know I had .... I'm 60 and only beginning to realize that there is so much more to living than hiding from my past, and making myself acceptable to people I don't even know .... I'm just starting to see that I have been living, divided into many shattered pieces - because to integrate all those pieces into one whole human being is too painful. What has been helping me lately is refusing to isolate and forcing myself to socialize with and trust the people in one of the 12 step programs ... And of course refusing to use chemichals to mask the truth. Yes I do have issues - WAY more than i ever realized. But are they really that bad that I as a survivor need special types of services? Sometimes I wonder if I'm just over-reacting to the past ... There are lots of people out here with issues like mine ... Yet - even people who have addictions and anxiety like i do can't really understand ... Only other survivors do. I'm starting to cry now, even as i write this. I never really thought I was that bad off because I'm able to support myself, I got a master's degree and on the surface people think I'm competent. But inside I always hurt too much.
Diane on Tuesday, 23 June 2015 16:24

Alita, what you have described is common to tens of millions of survivors all over America. Society plays its part by sticking their heads in the ground and pretending we will go away. We are breaking ground by making our voices heard. I wish you all the best.

0
Alita, what you have described is common to tens of millions of survivors all over America. Society plays its part by sticking their heads in the ground and pretending we will go away. We are breaking ground by making our voices heard. I wish you all the best.

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