When I Became Free
“Leading the way with weekly news and information
empowering survivors of abuse!“
VOL 1, NO. 14 THURSDAY, JANUARY 31, 2020
Woman to Woman
When Truth Doesn’t Set You Free
When I didn’t give up is
He Said / She Said
The Accusations Against ex-Scientologist
Starting on Page 6 - 7
Page 2 When I Became Free January 31, 2020
When I Became Free
Published online each Thursday (sometimes Friday )and delivered
via email to sponsors, When I Became Free is an independent freelance
project/publication with a mission to bring awareness to issues
around abuse (child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault).
The goal of the project is to be a vehicle of inspiration and empowerment
for survivors. Sponsors of this publication help to support
services, support groups, and workshops freely provided to survivors
of abuse. All of our freelance writers are survivors of abuse.
The When I Became Free Project
was created and is managed by:
Eva Marie Woywod
Phone Number 901 949-2226
Advertising: advertising helps the When I Became Free Project to
provide free workshops, support groups and more to survivors of
abuse on their healing journey.
Happy Birthday, Little David
NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN.
BY BRENNA O’DONNELL
January 30, 2020, is David
Warner’s 49th Birthday. He’s
been missing out of Jefferson
City, Tennessee for 37 years.
His family, police and NCMEC
have never stopped searching.
On March 2, 1983, David
Warner, or “Little David,” as his
family called him, ate dinner
with a friend at a fast food
restaurant near his house and
then walked home. Jefferson
City, Tennessee was a small
town and what should have
been a short and safe walk for
David turned into a 37-year-old
missing child case.
David’s family discovered
he was gone on the morning of
March 3rd, when his grandmother
went to his room to
wake him up for school and found that the 12-year-old boy wasn’t there.
Immediately, his grandmother started calling neighbors and family members
to see if they knew where David was. They said they hadn’t seen him since the
evening before, when he had made his rounds collecting the money he had
earned by mowing their lawns. He had taken that money and gone to Druthers
fast food joint. After that, it seemed, Little David was never seen again.
That is, he was never seen by his family again. The Jefferson City Police Department
and David’s family
know that someone out there
must have seen him walking
home that evening. And whoever
that person is knows what happened
to Little David and where
“You don’t just vanish,” says
Kathy Nash, David’s aunt. “You
don't just disappear. Somebody
had to have seen something.”
Kathy Nash was 21 years old
when her nephew went missing
but says David is more like her
younger brother. After all, they’re
only nine years apart and were
raised under the same roof. They
come from a big family in Tennessee,
a family who galvanized
to search for David as soon as
they realized he was gone.
“We were hunting for David.
From here to Newport to the outskirts
of Sevierville. It didn't matter.
We went. If we got wind that
David might be somewhere, somebody just saw a blonde-headed kid, we went.”
There were leads that came in to police over the years, but nothing seemed to
pan out. Little David never for a second left the minds of his family members.
He was described as a good
kid, street smart, able to make
friends easily and was even
known to be a great billiard
player, often beating men
over twice his age in the pool
halls. His outgoing nature and
jubilant attitude has been an
absence hard-felt by his family.
“When my mother [passed
away], that was the last thing
on her deathbed that she said
that you could understand:
‘Did you find Little David
Even though he was 12
when he went missing, his
aunt says he was still in the
fourth grade due to a learning
disability and epilepsy, which
often kept him in the hospital
or at home as a child. The
medication David took for his
seizures rotted his teeth; this could be an identifying factor if someone were to
Detective Ronald Holt, with the Jefferson City Police Department encourages
the public to take a good look at the age progression photo that
forensic artists at the NCMEC have produced.
“Someone may be living next door, going to church with him,
having an interaction with him. And you'd see these pictures and
go, ‘You know, that looks a lot like him.’ Listen, don't blow it off.
If you see pictures and you think that's him, please reach out. Let
us follow up on it.”
It’s been almost 40 years since Kathy last saw him but she
keeps the memories of him close, in the hope that one day he will
return to her family.
“We love him. We want to know about him. From day one when
he came home from the hospital, I felt like he was my brother.
I'm the one that taught him how to drink out of a glass, helped
him with his first steps… I’m never going to stop looking for
If you have any information, please contact the Jefferson City
Police Department at 1-865-475-3482 or the National Center for
Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST. (1-800-843-
Missing poster link:
January 31, 2020 WHEN I BECAME FREE Page 3
Woman to Woman
When Truth Doesn’t Set You Free
“Hey, Dan! How are you doing? Looking good these
days! I saw your ex-wife yesterday with someone in her
car.” Cathy told her friend when they met at the gas station.
“I didn't recognize him but he was a big guy.” Then
she added with a bit of a wink, “He wasn't bad looking either.”
She had been pumping gas as he drove up to the
Dan couldn't even manage
a weak smile. “Where
did you see them? Where
were they going?”
“Oh, I don't know! I
was leaving the grocery
store parking lot when she
drove past and I recognized
her car. I was just wondering
if she had a new
“How would I know
if she had a new boyfriend!
She doesn't tell me anything.
How could she think about
bringing a stranger around
our children?!” Dan's face
was turning red, but he tried
to conceal his emotions.
“Hey,” Cathy said.
“It's no big deal! You guys
have been divorced for 6
months. It's about time to start new lives. It will be good
for both of you.” She was finished pumping her gas. As
she placed the nozzle back she added, “I gotta get going.
Have a great day!”
As she drove off she couldn't see Dan seething.
Nor could she have anticipated his next moves. Dan peeled
out of the gas station parking lot and headed to his ex-wife's
apartment. Her car wasn't there. His emotions ran wild.
“Where is she? I bet she's with him.” He muttered
under his breath as he sat parked in a position he
could see her pull in and know when she returned home.
His head was filled with crazy thoughts.
How dare she find someone else already? We
never should have divorced to begin with. If she had listened
when I told her to do something she wouldn't have
made me angry. I never meant to throw those scissors at
her, but she wouldn't stop ignoring me when I wanted her
to do something.
All I ever asked her to do was keep the house
clean and have my meals ready on time. How hard can that
be? Instead, she made our 6 kids do her housework while
she was busy flirting with guys. She wouldn't have had
time to talk to anyone else if she was doing everything I
told her to do.
At least she doesn't have the kids. She's already
corrupted them enough. That damn judge was an idiot allowing
her to spend any time with them. Can't he see she's
a horrible parent? What kind of parent makes them do her
chores? There's no reason she can't do the dishes every
day. Why does she have to make them do them?
When Dan looked at his watch, he saw he had
been parked there nearly two hours. He couldn't give up.
He needed to talk to her now and find out what she was
doing and who she was with. He could text her, but she
ignored those. Besides, the last time he did text she went
running to the police claiming he was harassing her. He
just wanted to talk to her.
Every time he tried to talk to her she threw that
recorder in his face. He had to be careful what he said because
they always turn his words around on him.
He saw her car approach the drive to her apartment
building. Finally, the bitch was getting home. Where
the hell had she been so long? Who had she been with?
She wasn't working on a Saturday. She had no friends.
He'd seen to that. He made sure to tell everyone what a
horrible person she was, and how she treated him so badly.
He'd been so good to her. He bought her things to replace
the ones he broke when she made him mad.
He followed her car in and parked in the spot next
to hers. She was alone and he saw fear on her face. Good.
She should be scared. She's a mother. The mother to HIS
children. She shouldn't be out running the town. He caught
her in the act. He KNEW it! She was out whoring around
“What do you want, Dan? You don't belong
here.” She had already pulled out that damn recorder and
was holding it in his face as she asked him those questions.
“Why do you always have to have that thing in
my face?” he asked as he pushed it away from him. “I just
want to talk.”
“You always just want to talk, but you never have
anything nice to say. If you aren't attacking me, you try to
take my words out of context and pretend I said something
I didn't. So, we can't have a conversation without this
recorder so there is proof of what we both said. It's as much
for your protection as it is mine.”
“Where were you today? Who was the guy you
were with? Was he one of your boyfriends while you were
still MY WIFE?” The recorder wasn't going to stop him
this time. He needed answers.
There were cars in the parking lot but nobody was
coming around. Carol looked around her nervously, realizing
Dan had gone into “the zone.” That's what she called
it. He was out of his head and one of his rages was coming
on. There was no way to talk sense into him when he
was in the zone.
“I don't know what you are talking about. I was
alone! I went shopping and out to dinner ALONE. There
were no boyfriends when we were married. There are no
boyfriends now. Where are my kids? It's your weekend
“NOW you want to worry about MY kids? Where
were you all their lives when they needed you? What were
you doing while they were doing your chores?”
“You're delusional. The only reason things didn't
get done as you wanted them to was because YOU insisted
I spend every waking moment with you so I couldn't do the
housework. All these boyfriends you claim I had are all in
your own head. I didn't even have time to be with my children,
much less have time for boyfriends, as you call
His face twisted up in rage. He'd heard about all
he was going to listen to. This bitch had broken up his family,
hurt him and his kids, dared to leave him and now she
was talking back, blaming HIM for all of their problems.
HOW DARE SHE!
Before she knew what happened, she was dead.
From out of nowhere, a knife had appeared in his hand.
He'd killed and gutted out plenty of deer when he went
hunting. He knew where the most effective arteries were
to make it quick and clean. It was over.
Carol never had a chance to scream for help. Her
neighbors were aware of their divorce and that he was abusive.
If any of them had seen him in the parking lot with
her, they would have either been watching with a phone in
hand ready to call for help, or gone to stand outside to be
closer in the event she needed quicker help. But, this time,
this one time, they never saw a thing.
Dan was long gone by the time one of the neighbors
came out to go to his car and found her lying half
under her car where she fell. He saw the pool of blood before
he saw her body. He broke down as he called it in to
911. They had become friends in the short time she lived
Would Carol still be alive if Cathy hadn't told Dan
what she saw? Maybe. Maybe not. If it hadn't been Cathy,
it might have been other friends saying something. They
both still lived in the same hometown. Dan was jealous of
anyone Carol talked to. He had spread lies about Carol
when she left him. He didn't want any of their mutual
friends taking Carol's side. They had to know he was the
victim. He had trusted people back up his lies to make
them seem more real.
Domestic abuse is like an invisible illness. From
the outside, everything looks healthy. On the inside, everything
is breaking down and falling apart. For this reason,
when a victim suddenly leaves an abuser, it takes a lot of
people by surprise. It's a simple thing for the abuser to win
friends over by playing the victim. They never knew the
The rumors and lies spread easily until it's hard to
figure out what is true and what isn't. Dan told everyone
that Carol left him and had been running around behind his
back. Because they had never seen problems in their marriage
from the outside, friends sympathized with him and
often repeated these lies until most of the community believed
his story. Who would believe her now when she
told the truth?
Page 4 When I Became Free January 31, 2020
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE
ORIGINALLY RELEASED NOVEMBER 12, 2015
There are many different types of abuse, but one you may not be aware of is spiritual (or
religious) abuse. If it’s discussed at all, most examples of spiritual abuse refer to a church elder
or faith leader inflicting abuse on congregation members, often by creating a toxic culture
within the church or group by shaming or controlling members using the power of their position.
However, spiritual abuse can also occur within an intimate partner relationship.
Spiritual abuse is not limited to a certain religion or denomination. Any person, of any belief
system, is capable of perpetrating spiritual abuse, just as anyone can be the victim of it.
Signs of spiritual abuse between intimate partners include when an abusive partner:
-ridicules or insults the other person’s religious or spiritual beliefs
-prevents the other partner from practicing their religious or spiritual beliefs
-uses their partner’s religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate or shame them
-forces the children to be raised in a faith that the other partner has not agreed to
-uses religious texts or beliefs to minimize or rationalize abusive behaviors (such as physical,
financial, emotional or sexual abuse/marital rape.
Spiritual abuse is no less harmful or difficult to endure than any other kind of abuse, as a person’s
spiritual life is deeply personal. However, it can be very difficult to identify, as many
victims may not recognize they are being abused. In addition, the abusive partner may claim
that any challenge to the abuse is an assault on their own religious freedom. Regardless of either
partner’s religious or spiritual beliefs, abuse of any kind is never acceptable or justified.
If you are experiencing spiritual abuse, it can help to create a safety plan that might include:
-reaching out to a trusted member of your spiritual/religious community for support
-exploring options for practicing your faith/religion in a safe way
-creating an emotional safety plan
Hotline advocates can help you create a plan to stay safe while exploring options and resources
with you. We are available 24/7 by calling 1-800-799-7233, or you can chat live on our
website from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Central.
January 31, 2020 WHEN I BECAME FREE Page 5
Fall River Diocese Suspends
Retired Priest From Ministry on
Allegations of Sexual Abuse
FALL RIVER, MASSACHUSETTS
FALL RIVER(January 26, 2020) – The Diocese of Fall River today announced the
suspension of retired priest Father Herbert T. Nichols for an allegation of sexual abuse of
a minor, alleged to have occurred approximately 20 years ago. The decision to suspend him
was made based on information learned from a review of the personnel files of diocesan
The allegation, which Father Nichols denies,
is under investigation by the Diocese.
As a retired priest, he was not assigned to any
parish but did help with the celebration of
Masses in various parishes since retirement, including
with the Maronite community within the
Diocese. His suspension precludes him from all
ministry until the investigation is completed and
a determination on the matter is made.
Last year the Fall River Diocese hired an independent
consultant to complete a comprehensive
evaluation of its priestly personnel files, and Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V.,
informed parishioners that a list of credibly accused clergy would follow. The Diocese suspended
some priests in response to information gathered during the file evaluation pending
further investigation, as required under its policies.
“The task of evaluating all of the files and the response needed on our part as a result
of the findings have, regretfully, taken more time than first thought,” said Bishop da
Cunha. “It is crucial that we take the time and perform the diligence necessary to compile
a list that is accurate and complete, and we continue to do so.”
“I understand that these recent announcements regarding the suspensions of priests are
upsetting to our diocesan community of faith and often bring renewed pain to victims of
sexual abuse especially victims of sexual abuse by clergy,” added Bishop da Cunha. “I
continue to pray for our brothers and sisters who have suffered greatly.”
As part of ongoing efforts to improve its Office of Safe Environment, the Diocese recently
hired Carolyn Shipp, a licensed social worker, to focus on pastoral outreach to victims/survivors.
“As a social worker, I am here to listen to anyone with concerns and to
connect survivors to the resources they need,” said Shipp.
Anyone with information that they wish to raise regarding the conduct of any past or
present member of the Diocese, is encouraged to contact Carolyn Shipp, the Diocese’s
Victim Assistance Coordinator, at 508-985-6508 or email@example.com
Father Herbert T. Nichols
Parish Assignments: St. Ann Parish, Raynham; St. Joseph Parish, Taunton; St. Mary Parish,
Taunton; St. Anne Parish, Fall River; St. Joan of Arc Parish, Orleans; St. Anne Parish, Fall
River; St. James Parish, New Bedford; Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, New Bedford; St.
Anthony of Padua Parish, New Bedford; St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River; retirement
2015. Father Nichols also served in ministry in New York as a member of the Franciscan
Friars of the Renewal community.
Mother, Suspected Cult Member,
Fails to Meet Deadline in
Producing Missing Children
BY EVA MARIE WOYWOD
On December 20, 2019 the Rexburg, Idaho Police Department issued a release in regard
to two children believed to be missing. Since that time an investigation has ensued
however details are sketchy as they are sealed by the courts. The missing children are 7-
year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan.
According to reports police have said Lori Vallow and her new husband, Chad Daybell,
have lied about the children's whereabouts including their existence.
Chad Daybell allegedly told one person that Vallow had no kids. Vallow, herself, allegedly
told another person that her daughter had died more than a year earlier.
CBS News reported that case spans multiple states and includes additional investigations
into three separate deaths: Lori Vallow's estranged husband, Charles Vallow, was
shot and killed in Phoenix in July by Lori's brother, Alex Cox. Cox, claimed the shooting
was in self-defense, died of unknown causes in December.
Then in August, Vallow moved her family to Idaho. In October, Daybell's wife, Tammy
Daybell, died of what her obituary said was natural causes.
They went on to report that Daybell married Lori Vallow just two weeks after Tammy's
death, law enforcement became suspicious and ultimately had Tammy Daybell's remains
The test results on Tammy Daybell's remains and on those of Alex Cox haven't been
Adding more fears is the case also involves rumors of a cult. Vallow reportedly believes
she is "a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ's second coming in
July 2020," according to divorce documents filed by Charles Vallow. Daybell has written
several apocalyptic novels based loosely on Mormon religious theology. Both were involved
in a group that promotes preparedness for the biblical end-times.
The initial December 20, 2019 press release from the Rexburg Police Department stated
that On Nov. 26, Rexburg Police tried to conduct a welfare check on Joshua Vallow, Lori
Vallow’s adopted 7-year-old special needs son, at their home at 565 Pioneer Road in
Rexburg. Relatives outside of Idaho had requested the check because they hadn’t spoken
to Joshua since September.
Rexburg investigators spoke with Vallow and Daybell, who said Joshua was staying
with a family friend in Arizona. That turned out to be a lie, Turman said.
On Nov 27, Rexburg police executed search warrants at locations in Rexburg associated
with Vallow, in an attempt to locate Joshua. As the search warrants were being executed,
investigators determined that Vallow and Daybell had abruptly left their home and
Rexburg. Police do not believe the children were with them when they left.
Investigators also determined Joshua last attended school at Kennedy Elementary in
Rexburg on Sept. 23. Additionally, investigators learned Vallow has a 17-year-old daughter,
Tylee Ryan, who was living with Vallow in Rexburg. The teen has not been seen since
The parents were eventually located, vacationing in Hawaii.
Since the time of the initial release Vallow was ordered to produce the children by January,
30th. CBS News is reporting now that her failure clears the way for a judge to potentially
hold Lori Vallow in contempt of court, a legal move that could allow prosecutors
to seek to have her extradited from Hawaii to Idaho to face charges.
"The only word coming to mind right now is 'monster,"' Kay Woodcock, JJ's grandmother,
said during a news conference on Thursday evening. "All this has just been very
disheartening. ... I'm a lot less optimistic at the moment."
Earlier on Thursday the grandfather, Larry Woodcock appeared on Good Morning
America: "I don't know who that person is anymore," stated Woodcock in reference to the
children's mother Lori Vallow. "I don't understand how you lose the love for one of the
most kindest young man. He's seven years old, but he's my little man."
As for the references to Vallow being a member of a doomsday cult, those specifics
are vague. A doomsday cult is an expression used to describe cults which believe in apocalypticism
and millenarianism, and can refer both to groups that predict disaster, and to
those that attempt to bring it about to destroy the entirety of the universe (Wikipedia)
Page 6 When I Became Free January 31, 2020
EVA MARIE WOYWOD
Embracing your story is healing. Sharing your story in a healthy manner will help
pave the road for growth for yourself and for others. When survivors take those steps it
creates a domino effect of awareness, the type of outreach announcing to others that
there is hope, that there can and will be better tomorrows. In doing so we create beacons
of light illuminating our surroundings which in turn guides now victims out of their
caves of isolation and out in the fresh air - air not weighed down by stigma, regret, and
I truly believe in that and I know it because that has been my path. My healing journey
started the day I took ownership - gave my pain a name - and began knowing my
true self and all those emotions I had shoved deep down for decades. They were emotions
I once feared but have come to learn all that they are is guideposts, allowing me to
be aware of my surroundings, my needs and my wants - not, the needs and wants of my
It is not an easy task taking that step, especially if you’ve lived through the trauma of
child sexual assault, domestic violence, and sexual assault as an adult. Knowing this for
the fact that it is I appreciate and respect others when they take that risk they’ve been
fearing from the moment the trauma entered their lives. Like many others I believe the
survivors. I believe them as I know when they utter their truths there will be those who
judge them for other people’s crimes that have been laid upon their souls. I know the
courage they must muster to do so and when they do, they are doing it for themselves
and others in the name of healing and awareness.
That was the case earlier this month when I was laid up in bed fighting a nasty virus
and a video popped up on my Facebook newsfeed, it was a paid ad. The video was of a
woman telling the story of what she claimed was domestic violence that had left her
mother with bodily injuries and the family with psychological scars. Now, usually I vett
what I share, a lesson I learned while working as a reporter. However, on that day I had
far too much cold medicine floating through my system and my focus was non-existent,
so, with a knee-jerk reaction I shared the video on my personal page along with on the
When I Became Free page.
Some days later, feeling much better and focused, a person contacted me to inform
me that the video was a concerted effort to harass and discredit the man named as the
abuser, Mike Rinder. They went on to say it was all because of his work, along with actress
Leah Rimini, to expose the Church of Scientology. Their partnership and efforts
have been documented in a television show on A&E - Leah Remini: Scientology and
the Aftermath. The lightbulb in my head went off and I could see red flags all around
Now, as an experienced advocate I knew I had to take a step back and research everything
I could as I was now caught up in what is known as triangulation. For me, I had to
discern who was the manipulator and who really was the target. Unfortunately, I am extremely
familiar with the twisted dynamics of power and control in domestic violence.
Either someone was lying and/or there were slivers of truths being exaggerated for revenge.
I was mad. My anger came from knowing other survivors were being drawn into this
toxic environment, perhaps too there were vulnerable victims being recruited into something
they may have felt was hope only to be entering a greater form of trauma and
Yes, I was pissed off. I was pissed off because no matter what, the nightmare of domestic
violence was being used by one side, maybe both sides, for revenge and they
were taking innocent bystanders down with them.
In the videos the woman said she created and organization to help bring justice for
her mother and others. I went to their website and took a good look at all it contained.
What I found was worrisome. There were a lot of accusations but little, if not no, real
help for others.
Women had left comments on her blog posts - many comments, but there were no responses.
Some of these women shared their own stories, yet again, no words of support
nor any gratitude in response. It felt cold and with one purpose only - revenge. When it
comes to revenge, the waters get murky.
If there were any links for resources for others experiencing domestic violence ,they
must be buried, as I couldn’t find them. There were no warnings anywhere I could see. I
was looking for warnings about how video content may have PTSD triggers. There was
just one phone number sitting down in the footer of the website for interested parties to
phone. The Facebook page was pretty much the same.
Something was off.
I contacted Mike Rinder via an email on a blog he maintains.
I read his own posts on what his daughter was saying.
He has been vocal in claiming innocence and that he was a
targeted for 1: leaving the Church of Scientology and 2: exposing
the behind closed doors abuse in the Church of Scientology.
Often on the television show the church has been
Page 7 When I Became Free January 31, 2020
of questions. Considering I have already posted his daughter’s video on our page, giving
her a platform, I am including what those questions were and his responses —-
What advice do you have for victims of abuse?
First, you did nothing wrong. What happened to you is not right and you did nothing
that caused it to happen.
Be strong, others have gone through what you have gone through and can help you.
And in turn, your strength helps others.
What words of inspiration would you give to anyone targeted by false allegations
of domestic violence?
No matter what anyone else thinks or says, be true to your own self and live by your
own truth. False accusations cannot change who you are, as long as you don't succumb
to the temptation to hate.
Fight back, but do so with truth and dignity. It is in these terrible times that you discover
who your real friends are, and that is valuable forever.
Rather than dissecting the controversy into this drama playing out in the public’s eye
any more than I already have, I have decided to focus on the victims and now survivors
of domestic violence who may have accessed this all via me posting the video.
I urge all of you not to get caught up in the he said/she said with perhaps another entity
attempting to control the situation. Focus on your own healing. If there was something
in her video you identified with, then you need to reach out to safe people, tell
your truth, and get on your own path to healing. You can do that by accessing resources,
of which, we always include in the back end of our issues.
Realize that all of this serves as an example of what plays out in our own communities
when neighbors whisper and spread what they think are our truths. It is very much
similar to that quicksand of rumors and not having the whole story we’ve found ourselves
in while attempting to seek freedom and justice.
It is a reminder that we are in fact, not alone. Domestic violence can and does happen
everywhere. All forms of abuse cross over every demographic there is.
I have worked with victims of religious and cult abuse, which included sexual assault
and domestic violence. It is a very real issue and probably one of the most difficult
types of abuse to break free from as the first brainwashing loyalty to get past is the
tie to a twisted community - one the victim fights leaving even though deep within them
they know something is not right.
I have also known people who have been falsely accused of crimes of abuse when in
fact they were the ones being abused. Gaslighting is the goto method for most abusers.
This is why I urge anyone who may have seen that video to not get caught up in the
drama but rather seek out resources for assistance. Once you’re on that path embracing
your story will come much easier and rather than seeking revenge you will work to
make sure no other victim ever feels alone - you will be able to tell them where to go
for help - you will stand strong with confidence and not let the naysayers dictate your
self worth. That, my friends, is what it means to be free.
To end, I will say this situation reminded me that we need to address how communities
within communities can often be where abuse planted and grows. In future issues
we will share with you how to protect yourself during your most vulnerable times from
not latching on to organized terror as we will be sharing information on becoming free
from cults and religious abuse.
As always, be well.
Page 8 When I Became Free January 31, 2020
February is Teen Dating Violence
Jan. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- During February’s Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month,
domestic violence and youth advocacy organizations are inviting Americans to work together to
prevent dating abuse through the #1Thing campaign. Studies show one in three high school students
experience physical and/or sexual violence by someone they are dating.
Data shows that dating violence is experienced by nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide
each year and nearly
half (43%) of all college
women and one third (28%) of
college men report having experienced
either abuse or controlling
behaviors in a dating
“Dating violence is an epidemic
that is 100% preventable.
We need to support our
teens with education about
dating violence prevention,”
says Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of
The National Domestic Violence
Hotline and its project
loveisrespect. “If every teen
can understand just one more
thing, we can prevent dating
Throughout the month, participants are encouraged to engage others on social media using
#1Thing, and download the #1Thing Action Guide.
“With 1 in 3 teens experiencing dating violence, it is clear that all teens are at risk,” says Katie
Ray-Jones. “We want everyone to come together to promote messages highlighting the differences
between healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships.”
Follow #TDVAM2020 and #1Thing to join the conversation. loveisrespect.org is a project of
The National Domestic Violence Hotline. Its purpose is to engage, educate and empower young
people to prevent and end abusive relationships. Advocates provide support through online chat at
loveisrespect.org, text loveis to 22522* or call 1-866-331-9474, 24/7/365. *Msg&Data Rates
22522 to unsubscribe. Text HELP to 22522 for tech support.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline relies on the generous support of individuals, private
gifts from corporations, foundations, and federal grants. It is funded in part by Grant Number
90EV0426 from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services
Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its contents are solely the responsibility
of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Administration for Children
and Families or the U.S. Department of HHS.
Keeping Awareness Going
How YOU Can Help!
BY EVA MARIE WOYWOD
If you're a regular reader then you know we've been working hard at giving a voice to issues
and raising awareness around the plight of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual
assault. In October of 2019 we started publishing a digital weekly newspaper to help promote
awareness, address issues, and remind survivors that they are not alone.
All of this is being done by volunteers - volunteers who write for the paper, volunteers who
put the content together and publish it.
Since the paper started we have now published 14 issues. I am unable to write as much
as I once did so instead I do the pagination and some editing of the paper but I do write
when I can. I wear the editor/publisher's hat.
I rely on the talented and vocal survivors we have writing for us, Mechelle, Kelli and Savannah
- at times others have submitted pieces. Then of course and unfortunately, there are
always press releases and news about tragedies that take place any given week, including
lives lost to domestic violence and child abuse. I must tell you, I long for the time when I am
unable to find those tragic stories.
There's the backstory to the weekly news, as for the When I Became Free project itself,
like life it has had some twist and turns since coming to be - but, the goal remains the same,
bringing awareness to issues and survivors of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.
This is where YOU can help...
If you have a story you would like to share, or give your voice a platform, please email us
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Same is true if you belong to an organization and you
have news to share. Share the paper with others. Give a like to our Facebook page! And, if
you feel so moved think about sponsoring our efforts.
Follow this link and help us grow! There are three levels of sponsorship: $25, $50, and
$100. If you have a difficult time with the dropdown menu on the site just zip off an email to
us at email@example.com.If you've missed any of our issues, also be sure to check
them out! Remember...pass them on!
Thank you for paying attention!
January 31, 2020 WHEN I BECAME FREE Page 9
Protect Our Defenders & Military
Sexual Assault Survivors Announce
Launch of 2020 Presidential Candidate Pledge to
Help End Crisis of Military Sexual Assault
Washington, DC – Protect Our Defenders (POD), the only national organization solely dedicated to ending
the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the military, today announced the launch of a national campaign
to help end the crisis of military sexual assault ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Led by a
community of courageous military sexual assault survivors including Air Force veteran Harmony Allen,
whose rape case is set to appear before the Supreme Court, and Tailhook Whistleblower Paula Coughlin,
the campaign asks candidates running for President to sign the Presidential Candidate Pledge committing
to fundamental military justice reform.
Fundamental reform would remove prosecutorial authority from the chain of command for non-military
crimes such as rape and murder, and empower experienced military prosecutors. Senator Warren, Senator
Sanders, Senator Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang, Governor Weld, and Mayor Buttigieg are among
the majority of the presidential candidates who already support fundamental reform.
Pentagon estimates of sexual assault and rape of active duty members have skyrocketed by 38% and the
rate of assault for servicewomen has increased by 50% since 2016. Military women who report sexual assault
are 12 times as likely to experience some form of retaliation as to see their attacker convicted of a sex
offense. Despite decades of promises from military leadership, the problem continues to grow.
“I was raped two decades ago while serving in the Air Force. And while I’m grateful for the progress
I’ve made in my own case, with relentless effort and support from Protect Our Defenders, most survivors
never get the chance at justice,” said Harmony Allen, Air Force veteran and military sexual assault survivor.
“The epidemic of sexual assault is just as bad — if not worse — than when I first entered the military. The
next President of the United States must protect the women and men who serve our country by committing
to fundamental military justice reform.”
Fundamental military justice reform would professionalize military prosecution of serious crimes such
as sexual assault, murder, and domestic abuse by empowering independent, trained military prosecutors,
rather than commanders, with the authority to prosecute non-military offenses. Doing so would help prevent
sexual harassment, assault and retaliation, and take a vital step towards removing the systemic barriers
that survivors of military sexual assault face when coming forward to report crimes. It would also free
commanders of conflicting responsibilities and better enable them to maintain good order and discipline.
“This is not a problem with an ambiguous solution — we know how to address the military sexual assault
crisis,” said Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United State Air Force
and President of POD. “Protect Our Defenders and countless brave survivors have been fighting toward that
end for years, but we need our lawmakers, and particularly the next Commander-In-Chief, to take action.
Until we institute true reform and put serious crimes in the hands of trained professionals, the epidemic of
sexual assault will persist.”
This campaign represents a groundbreaking step towards achieving significant reform and giving military
survivors a fair chance at justice. In addition to the 2020 Presidential Candidate Pledge, the campaign
also involves an online Change.org petition, digital and social media efforts, and local events to demand that
each presidential candidate commit to empowering trained prosecutors to lead the military justice process.
The military veterans and sexual assault survivors leading the campaign include Air Force veteran Harmony
Allen, Tailhook Whistleblower and former US Naval Helicopter pilot Paula Coughlin, Army veteran
and CEO of the Women Veteran Social Justice Network BriGette McCoy, Army veteran Terri Odom, and
Navy Veteran Heath Phillips.
“We cannot rely on the military to institute its own reform — I certainly could not rely on the military
in the wake of my assault,” said Coughlin. “The time has come to demand real, lasting change. I am heartened
that the majority of presidential candidates have signed the pledge. I hope every candidate recognizes
what it means to be Commander-In-Chief, and the role they must play in protecting our armed forces. Our
service members deserve a fair justice system that protects everyone and is equitable to our civilian courts.”
The announcement comes at a pivotal time for the military justice system. In November 2019, the U.S.
Supreme Court announced that it would hear an appeal from the Justice Department to review US vs Mangahas,
a military court decision that reversed decades of legal precedent and established a 5-year statute of
limitations for rape in the military, ultimately setting free or stopping the prosecutions of dozens of rapists.
Harmony Allen, one of the survivors leading the POD campaign, is one of the three survivors whose case
will appear before the Supreme Court. Earlier this January, Allen filed an amicus curiae brief with POD’s
To ask the 2020 presidential candidates to commit to fundamental military justice reform, please visit:
http://change.org/protectourdefenders. To learn more about the campaign, please visit: https://www.protectourdefenders.com/pledge.
Page 10 When I Became Free January 31, 2020
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Dating Abuse Helpline
National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp
National Sexual Assault Hotline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Center for Victims of Crime
National Human Trafficking Resource Center/Polaris Project
Call: 1-888-373-7888 | Text: HELP to BeFree (233733)
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
www.nrcdv.org and www.vawnet.org
Futures Without Violence:
The National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence
National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health
1-312-726-7020 ext. 2011
Childhelp USA/National Child Abuse Hotline
Children’s Defense Fund
Child Welfare League of America
National Council on Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Child Protection and Custody/Resource Center on Domestic Violence
Center for Judicial Excellence
Love is respect Hotline:
Break the Cycle
Domestic Violence Initiative
(303) 839-5510/ (877) 839-5510
Deaf Abused Women’s Network (DAWN)
WOMEN OF COLOR
Women of Color Network
Women of Color Against Violence
Casa de Esperanza Linea de crisis
24-horas/24-hour crisis line 1-651-772-1611
National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities
The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project
National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
Indigenous Women’s Network
Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence
Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV)
Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community
January 31, 2020 WHEN I BECAME FREE Page 11
The Black Church and Domestic Violence Institute
LESBIAN, BI-SEXUAL, GAY, TRANSGENDER,
The Audre Lorde Project
LAMBDA GLBT Community Services
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans,
Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse
ABUSE IN LATER LIFE
National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life
Legal Network for Gender Equity
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
Suicide And Crisis
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides referrals to
support groups, mental health professionals, resources on loss and suicide
prevention information. Phone: 888-333-2377
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects callers to trained crisis counselors
24/7. They also provide a chat function on their website.
Mental Health Conditions
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) provides information
on prevention, treatment and symptoms of anxiety, depression
and related conditions. Phone: 240-485-1001
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) provides information
on bipolar disorder and depression, offers in-person and online support
groups and forums. Phone: 800-826-3632
International OCD Foundation provides information on OCD and treatment
referrals. Phone: 617-973-5801
National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (NCEED) provides
up-to-date, reliable and evidence-based information about eating disorders.
TARA (Treatment and Research Advancements for Borderline Personality
Disorder)offers a referral center for information, support, education
and treatment options for BPD. Phone: 888-482-7227
National Center for Elder Abuse
National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS)
A Call to Men
Men Can Stop Rape
Men Stopping Violence
Battered Women’s Justice Project
National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women
1-800-903-0111 x 3
Pae 12 When I Became Free January 31, 2020