The scars run deep – the emotional pain even deeper.
I’m talking about child sexual abuse or molestation. Without question, it ranks among the worst of the worst – and it happens way too often.
Usually with NO immediate detection.
And the topic makes people extremely uncomfortable. Few want to talk about it. Instead, they cast stones at the perpetrators – hoping they receive equal pain when sentenced to prison. However, the vast majority are not. They freely roam the streets and continue to abuse – if given the opportunity.
Meanwhile society forgets about the victims. Nameless. Faceless.
They deserve a voice – just like my daughter Ashley.
Her horrific three-year experience in foster care – perhaps even longer – is well-known. For years her molester, Earl “Butch” Kimmerling, masterfully avoided detection while claiming to be the ideal father. Prominent politicians even placed him on a pedestal – which fed his hunger for power over the weak.
Sadly, an innocent little girl was his ongoing target. The abuse intensified until he went too far one morning. Hard evidence. The long-held secret finally became known.
In hindsight, how many people – friends, neighbors, teachers, social workers, church members – suspected something was wrong with this girl. The one who couldn’t look you in the eyes. The one who always kept her head down. The one who routinely looked at Butch before speaking.
The one who suffered daily in the silence.
Although Butch Kimmerling received a 40-year sentence, my daughter ironically became the prisoner. When he repeatedly attempted to appeal and then reduce his sentence, his main argument was NOT physical harming her. Please! No true remorse. No admission of the psychological damage he’d done.
Still the man who assumed that his “power” had no limits – even from a prison cell.
No, her trauma didn’t fade into the past. She couldn’t simply move on – like far too many people expected, even demanded. Sights, sounds, smells and touches easily triggered her. Trauma deeply embedded in her brain – forever. PTSD similar to many military veterans.
Every day my daughter relived the ordeal– with excruciating shame that no one should ever feel.
For nearly two decades, she’s endured the ups and downs that victims know too well – often when least expected. Blamed and then shamed again. Then targeted as a trouble maker who many insisted didn’t care.
She did, if people took time to listen and keep her safe – not push into a corner and wait for her emotions to explode. For all to see. Time after time.
Yet my daughter is stronger than most. She’s been surrounded at home with compassion, not judgment. She eventually became a survivor after 15 years of therapy – most of which did more harm than good.
Survivors deserve better. Much better. The best possible treatments, including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy).
To continue her healing today, Ashley is a self-advocate – giving voice to those who are too traumatized to share. Her theme is straight-forward.
KNOW Shame, NO Shame
In 2016, she completed a podcast for Carrie O’Toole Ministries with a little support from me. Her comments about her years of trauma are raw. Genuine. Sincere. Passionate. Please honor Ashley and all victims. Take time to listen and let her know what you think.
She’s ready to follow in her brother Andrew’s footsteps and share her story publicly.
Silence no more. DCP
Craig Peterson publishes EACH Child every Tuesday. To subscribe, open this link and “Like” the page. EACH Child is Special: Working Smarter Not Harder to Raise Every ONE
To follow Craig’s progress in writing a book about raising his six children with special needs, click here: Adopting Faith: A Father’s Unconditional Love
To follow his son Andrew’s inspiring story, “Like” his special Facebook page. Andrew Peterson Goes for the Gold