Well another month has come and for many the weather is improving. For many victims of abuse, the winter months bring more and more abuse. The weather, the holidays, whatever the excuse may be for the moment. Springtime brings a new peace for some, yet it only lasts for a short time. For my family, this month was no different than any of the other months. The weather, good or bad, never played a part in my father’s actions.
I am glad that this month is now considered Child Abuse Awareness month, however, I wonder why this country really only focuses on this issue for one month. I do realize that many professions, including therapists, doctors, teachers, and law enforcement, keep a mindful eye if they suspect abuse. They even step in when they have proof now. I say now because back when I was growing up in the 70’s in the country, I think that abuse was never looked at. Back then no one knew what to do to help anyone. I am grateful for the strides this country has made, and yet I know that we have so much further to go.
As I have been on the computer more, I have realized that there are so many, many advocates against child abuse and domestic violence. What does amaze me is how many of them are survivors of abuse, both child and marital. I am proud to get to know many of them, and with all of us working for a united goal, though through different avenues, someday abuse will be eradicated. We are going to be heard and the cycle of abuse will end.
This road is a long one for all survivors of abuse to travel. It is hard for me to see someone who has bruises or marks. It is hard for me to see a child that is not smiling but is silent and withdrawn. I feel, maybe sense is a better word, that they are being abused. However, I am not trained to see beyond my own childhood abuse. I am at times biased and will only believe what I think is the truth. I am grateful that the professionals are working on the epidemic.
My family, like so many other families, have been destroyed by abuse within. I hope that someday, the Child Abuse Awareness Month, as well as all other efforts, end the pain that so many feel because of abuse. It is too late for my family, we will never heal because of the deaths of my parents—I hope that it is not too late for other families.
Stacey M. Kananen
Advocate, Author, Abuse survivor
Co-founder of Spectrum of Light Transformation Center (formerly called Amnesty From Abuse)
Stacey Kananen’s father violently and sexually abused his entire family. He vanished in 1988 and 15 years later his wife went missing. Stacey’s brother had killed both parents. Stacey cooperated as a witness until he told police that she helped him with the crimes. She was arrested and her trial, which aired on CNN’s In Session, ended with a not guilty verdict after her attorney proved that she had been railroaded.
Now that her personal life is no longer private, Stacey is using her story to make waves. She and co-author Lisa Bonnice have written her life story, Fear of Our Father, to be published by Berkley Books in June 2013. They created the Spectrum of Light Transformation Center program to address the dynamic that stops families from asking for help: fear, shame and hopelessness. She states, “Most people feel that abusers should be punished and I agree, if they are as abusive as my father was. However, some people don’t want to abuse others but that is all they know. For them to have a nonjudgmental opportunity to heal and change, I feel, is tantamount to ending the cycle of abuse.”
Fear of Our Father – Berkley Books, 2013
Emmy nominated BBC Documentary: America’s Child Death Shame
Investigation Discovery series Catch My Killer — episode title “The Dearly Departed”
Tampa Bay Times article: Hudson woman finds new life after years of abuse, allegations of murder