Tag Archives: Life after war

“I was easy prey.” October is Month of Awareness for Domestic Violence!

 

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“I was easy prey.” Her first memory of being sexually abused is when she was just four-years old…

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Ginger Kadlec… Impassioned child advocate. Enthusiastic dog and cat mommy. Proud aunt. Happy wife.

 

“I was easy prey…”  click on highlighted website article by Ginger Kadlec…  Quote from the article follows…

“He was close to my mother, he visited our family home,” Susan Crocombe recalls in an interview with Steve Harris of BBC Radio Solent’s Breakfast in Dorset 103.8 fm. “If mum was having a bad day, she would be in bed… so he had complete access to me. I actually loved him. I would have done anything for him.”

“He” was a member of Susan’s extended family who sexually abused her for years. She recalls, “Things he did became quite serious 18 months leading up to my 13th birthday,” at which point her molester began feeding his addiction by sharing her with other adults, including taking photographs of and filming her.

“I associated presents with rewards for being good. I was easy prey.”~Susan Crocombe

In this BBC Radio Solent interview, Susan reflects on the sexual abuse she endured as a child and the impact the abuse had on her as a teenager and adult. She discusses issues like being groomed and says, “Who doesn’t like to feel special to get gifts, presents, be validated? For me, it was very subtle. I was very young, so I didn’t know what was happening was wrong… I associated presents with rewards for being good. I was easy prey.”

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In my view, the above reference is absolutely the worst case scenario and tragedy connected with domestic violence and child abuse!  I lived in a highly toxic home while growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  The vivid memories of being scared and living with domestic violence still haunts me at times.  My home was affected by the hard combat trauma my father experienced during all of WWII and deployment during the Korean War.  We did not have any kind of domestic violence awareness during the post WWII era…let alone a month like October designated to help children and families become more aware of its seriousness, long term impact on mental health, and ways to get help.  We siblings, as military kids, felt scared and alone most of the time.  We were afraid to go home when Dad was home for fear of the next beating that could come our way or the threatening emotional outbursts that often came out of nowhere as Dad struggled with his own demons.  Mother was affected severely as a wartime military spouse and from her own traumatic childhood during the “depression era.”  Our entire family was emotionally damaged and we thought it was just normal and mostly our fault as kids for not being good.  What happened in our home stayed at home.  From all appearances our family behaved as normal adults and kids outside of the home and in school.  We would not dare speak of being scared to go home…  Dad was a WWII US Navy hero by day and an angry and dangerous man by night.

Thousands of families were toxic like ours during this post WWII era, but we didn’t know it until later in life when the topic of combat related PTSD was finally revealed and understood more clearly.  But the stigma of mental health challenges and the intergenerational effects of post trauma symptoms referred to as secondary PTSD or complex PTSD kept countless children and families from seeking help.  The stigma of PTSD remains a big challenge to this day!

I lived with the emotional baggage of child abuse and domestic violence until later in life while doing research on our post WWII family’s toxic culture and the how war affects the mental health of soldiers and sailors long after the war ends.  Writing my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, was finally the beginning of my own journey of healing at age 64, and I am not alone… If it had not been for the gift of awareness, I would still be living with emotional pain.  It is a joy to look forward to each day now with peace of mind.   The anger, depression, and anxiety tearing away at my heart and soul is now gone, but is a work in progress to keep the pain of past trauma at a safe distance.  I am very blessed and thankful for the work of Ginger Kadlec  and many others in the mental health community for building awareness through social media.  I am also grateful for the support of my family and friends who help keep me grounded with positive energy each and every day…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click the highlighted text for my author page…

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Steve Sparks, Age 10, 1956…

“Pinwheels for Prevention” at the Lincoln City Cultural Center April 19, 2012… Join community volunteers on the front lawn at 9am…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

pin_wheels_mini_1332702381 Pinwheels for Prevention…Lincoln City Cultural Center… Come and join community volunteers on the front lawn of the Cultural Center at 9am this Saturday…April 19, 2014…

Pinwheels for Prevention…official website…  Quote from this website… Big_Pinwheel_Garden_2014_02_00337

Actor Josh Charles and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Help Create Big Pinwheel Gardens in New York and Chicago!

“The Good Wife” actor Josh Charles helped Prevent Child Abuse America transform Times Square into the Big Pinwheel Garden on Tuesday, April 9, to mark Child Abuse Prevention Month and promote the pinwheel as the symbol for healthy starts for all children. Charles was joined by Manhattanmagazine’s Cristina Cuomo, Prevent Child Abuse America President and CEO Jim Hmurovich and over 200 volunteers, holding nearly 5,000 pinwheels to create the display.

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I was delighted to learn about the “Pinwheels for Prevention” event planned at the Lincoln City Cultural Center on the front lawn this coming Saturday starting at 9am.  The month of April is designated by the US Congress for National Child Abuse Awareness and month of the military child as well.  I have posted on this blog recognizing April as the month to remind ourselves of the painful silence of children who are emotionally neglected or abused.   It is also a time to think about the families who suffer with emotional challenges that often affect children and result in abuse, including military families.  Children often carry forward the emotional baggage of childhood trauma well into adult life.  I know this to be true as a post WWII and Korean War military child growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  The national conversation during the month of April and throughout the year advances the cause of awareness and healing for millions of Americans…

Judy and I are planning to join our friends and neighbors on Saturday for this special event.  “Make a difference one child at a time.”  Hope to see you there!

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

Vice Chair, www.neighborsforkids.org