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Posted By Rebecca Parkey on 03/22/2021

Sad But True-Childhood Abuse, A Constant Narrative

Sad But True-Childhood Abuse, A Constant Narrative

I am taking a brief break from writing a piece of my book (I promise to give you a nugget this week) to discuss a documentary I finished this weekend.  I often watch documentaries that are so close to what I work with that my husband asks me why I watch things that I hear every day.  I think it is because it fascinates me, moves me, and makes me want to consistently help people even more.  

As I watched this documentary one of the things that jumped out at me was the absolute belief that Mia, Dylan's mom had for her.  She saw signs early on, she even went to a psychologist that dismissed what was going on with Woody, saying that it was because he didn't know how to act around children and that is why he was so touchy feely with Dylan. However AS SOON AS Dylan told her mom something happened she was appalled (she wanted to call her therapist) she taped it, and the next day took her to a doctor, who reported it!  In all reality there was SO MUCH DONE RIGHT in this case that I am pretty amazed.  There was a lot that is disgusting about what was done wrong, but what I want to focus on first and foremost is Mia.  She stood up for her daughter FROM THE BEGINNING.  She believed her.  She did not dismiss her.  She said absolutely unequivocally, there is no way that I am going to let him get away with this.  She kept her child safe. No matter what she did the right thing.  

I cannot count on my hands toes, and families hands and toes how many times and how many ways mothers or fathers have dismissed their children's accusations of their parent or family members sexual abuse.   What Mia did will forever give Dylan the confidence to know that at least someone is in her corner and loves her and believes her no matter what. This is a lesson to all of those out there who don't believe their children.

In the last episode there was several different statistics that I cannot quote perfectly.  But within those statistics it talks about the fact that over 90% of the time that children allege any type of sexual or physical abuse and the mother reports it, the father claims that it is because they are "getting back at them for divorce" the judge rules against the parent who reported it and sends the child into the abusive home.  The statistic that I do remember the exact number:  88% of the time this happens, New Abuse Is Reported.  There was a clip of women who were on the streets who had lost custody of their children simply for reporting abuse. This is called the "hysteria" effect.  This is a VERY old mental health diagnosis given to women because people didn't want to believe that abuse was happening, so it was easier to believe that women were just being "hysterical."  We want to believe that times have changed, that women and children are treated differently, but are they?  If we are honest with ourselves the answer is no.  We don't accept the word of a child at face value.  And if we do, oftentimes we will sweep it under the rug to "protect" the parent or family member.

I know this will never get back to Mia or Dylan.  But if it ever did, I would say to Mia, you are an inspiration.  I hope that mothers and parents out there see this documentary and are able to be inspired to stand up and get out of a bad situation.  I hope that they are able to believe their children and not question them.  I hope they see you and say, if she can stand up to someone with unlimited money and means to smear her, I can stand up to this person.  And to Dylan, I hope you see that you are an inspiration to adult survivors and to children as well.  I hope that you know that even though you weren't listened to in public the first time, the second time, the third time, your time came and you deserve to be heard.  I sure hope that Woody gets all of those Oscars stripped from him. I hope people stop idolizing him.  I hope people stop seeing all of these Hollywood figures as gods and start seeing them for what they are.  Just people who chose evil. 

If you or someone you know has been hurt by childhood abuse, incest, trauma, etc. Please follow the links below:

Safe Horizon is the largest provider of comprehensive services for domestic violence survivors and victims of all crime and abuse. Our mission is to provide support, prevent violence and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities.

RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country.

National Children’s Alliance (NCA) is the nation’s largest network of care center for children victimized by abuse, representing the nation’s 924 (and counting!) Children’s Advocacy Centers—CACs. We provide support, advocacy, quality assurance, and national leadership for CACs, all to help support the children we serve. Reaching everyone with a voice in eradicating abuse—from families, advocates, team members, communities, and all the way to Capitol Hill, our member CACs power a national movement to keep children safe. CACs provide a coordinated, evidence-based response to children who have been abused in all 50 states.

The Center for Judicial Excellence is committed to protecting child abuse and domestic violence survivors in our nation’s family courts and to fostering accountability throughout the judicial branch. For 15 years, the Center has been a voice for vulnerable children and a catalyst for child safety. Every day, it honors the lives of more than 770 American children who have been murdered by a divorcing or separating parent. Their deaths must never be in vain.

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