Petition update

Family Terrorism and the aftermath - Prisoner of War

Patricia McKnight
Breese, IL, United States

Nov 10, 2014 — “In DSM-IV field trials, Roth et al (1997) found that complex PTSD is associated with the experience of prolonged exposure to trauma (i.e. over days, months or years), and first exposure at an early age. Complex PTSD is also associated with prolonged interpersonal victimization, such as battering by a partner, torture, prisoner-of-war experiences, and child abuse.”

Above you will find the DSM-5 about a study completed on the diagnosis of Complex PTSD and the issues in which they most often attribute to this specific type of Post Traumatic Stress. A local advocate friend of mine posed this question to me about the issues surrounding the passing of the 'Family Terrorist Act'. Her question; 'How will you know when these extreme fears of what you call 'Terrorism', is an actual truth, because everyone has their own perceptions, which then precludes their level of fear. I am hoping to explain this a little more clearly.

First part of the explanation of this disorder speaks for itself; 'associated with the experience of prolonged exposure to trauma, over days, months or years, and first exposure at an early age'. There is a huge difference between a 'Terroristic' type of abuse, dominance through vicious acts or imposed threats, then there is what some relate to as being a more tender approach when we specifically look at child sexual abuse. This of course specifies the type of sexual abuse endured, not how the child felt by being forced to endure the sexual contact without having a voice in the matter at all. Some children too young to actually be able to explain what's happening, then even worse they may not yet be able to speak, only cry to let us know they are uncomfortable and need us.

A 'Family Terrorist' is a type of abuser who requires complete dominance over their victim(s). Some of these terrorist will control the entire family and every move they make, simply by imposing strict beatings in front of other family members as a tactic to show what happens if you disobey the abuser. They will also use physical harm against various members of the household or they may have one specific target; one child within the family. They use either direct physical harm, vile acts against the victim, or they use the thought of 'What might he/she do next in making sure I listen? Will they send me away? Will they kill my other family? If I am sent away will I ever see them again? What will they do next if I do not listen, hold quiet and simply tolerate whatever it is they need me to do right at this moment.'

Over time, day after day or year after year as the victim(s) are forced to live under this dominant ruling and forced sexual activity or physical labor. It is most often found then that each threat or serious act bears also its own separate fears, its own separate scar on the victims life. When under going therapy there are distinct signs of this deep emotional wounding. You will see that victims often cut themselves away from friends & family, largely out of shame or fear of their rejection. Many victims display the inability to concentrate without being distracted by some random memory of an act that happened at a moment just like this. This is when the victim's psyche has been distorted from reality and pure emotion about that specific time is where you will find the danger that altered that moment for them.. When there is severe wounding as a direct result of 'Family Terrorism' a therapist or psychiatrist will see these behavior trainings which cannot be overcome by the victims, especially the child victims. You say do something & they will do it just out of distinct fear of what might happen if they don't. Until a child feels safe with you, enough so they know there will not be a penalty for doing something wrong or without your say, their emotions driven by fear, are what controls their reactions, behaviors and thoughts, especially when placed in direct contact with the one that terrorizes them and has taken all control. This is most often displayed when their is a custody order in place & the child victim is forced silent again, then made to go with their abuser time and time again.

In permitting the 'Family Terrorist Act' we provide a better understanding of what lies underneath the cold surface of most victims. Fear is one of the most overwhelming and controlling emotions we have as humans. Fear can make us strong, can make us do anything, undergo & withstand anything; all so that we can survive another day. Fear will also shut us down, hold us silent; afraid more so of what others in society will think if we discuss what it is that has built who we are today. If you've ever been a victim, of any type of crime, then you know how personally violating it is to have your power taken away from you. You have experienced just one part of what a victim of 'Family Terrorism' goes through each day; sometimes never knowing what it is that has set off another attack. Fear without reason, other than this is what your abuser wants you to feel right at this moment in time. They feed off of your fear, and the more afraid or refusing you are, the more excited they become; for them the thrill is in the murder of your strength & ability to refuse. Just as much as a Prisoner of War cannot refuse the crimes against them, a victim of a 'Family Terrorist' cannot refuse the crimes committed within their home.

We need to use the 'Federal Terrorism Act' as a way to open the door for these types of prosecutions. We must see inside the victim and what they have endured to see that these are not just 'normal' types of abuses, these are terrifying acts of dominance for the sheer pleasure of being in control and being the one who has the ability to enforce serious thoughts of impending doom on their victims. These vicious attackers live in our neighborhoods, our communities and they are parents of a child you might know. Do not turn away and leave them alone if the constant fear of 'What Next?'.

Help to provide the appropriate types of recovery processes, the appropriate counseling, the appropriate life skills victims of these types of traumas will need in their journey. Help us hold any mother or father, guardian, or other family member responsible for the repeated acts of these extreme terrors they force persons in their home to endure. Help us by signing your name and passing it on to a friend. We are asking our U.S. President, U.S. House of Representatives, and our U.S. Congress to pass the 'Family Terrorist Act' - 'Trecia's Law' allowing our justice system to help these types of victims find some form of justice while holding the monsters who destroyed or altered their being responsible for their ongoing healing journey.

Please help us reach 1000 more by passing this petition on to a friend. Our human society must realize the level of pain & trauma inflicted by these types of abusers. It takes a lifetime to recover but with the right support, with help from friends & family, victims will recover to live a full happy & healthy life.

Patricia 'Trish' McKnight
Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery
Creator: 'Steps to Recovery'
'Family Terrorist Act' - "Trecia's Law"

Cert. Human Trafficking Trainer 101
IL Domestic Violence Support Advocate
Child Sexual Abuse Awareness & Prevention Expert
Peer Support/Victims Resources

You will find the blog 'Prisoner of War - inside the house down the street'
by visiting

All parts of this legislative petition are a copyright production of
Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery, Nov 2012

Contact Me:
Phone: 618-304-7438

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