Jan 31 2020 When I Became Free


Community gossip, rumors, and turning a blind eye can keep victims of abuse trapped -
Also in this issue a situation arose which put us in contact with ex-scientologist Mike Rinder who says he is the victim of false allegations of domestic abuse.

When I Became Free

You Matter!

“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

Page 3

When I didn’t give up is


He Said / She Said

The Accusations Against ex-Scientologist

Mike Rinder

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

Freelance Writers:

Kelli Bungert

Mechelle Cichy

Savannah May


April Fichthorn

Bethany Fichthorn

Gabriel Brown

Kyle Roberts

Phone Number 901 949-2226

Email: WhenIBecameFree@gmail.com

Website: whenibecamefree.com

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



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

he is.

“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

spot him.

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

with them.”

“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.


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

hidden truth.

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



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(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 cshipp@dioc-fr.org


Father Herbert T. Nichols

Ordained 1975

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



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

September either.

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



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

Awareness Month


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

apply on text for help services. Read our privacy policy and Terms & Conditions. Text STOP to

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!



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 whenibecamefree@gmail.com. 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 whenibecamefree@gmail.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

National Resources

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)


National Dating Abuse Helpline



National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp

1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)


National Sexual Assault Hotline

1-800-656-4673 (HOPE)


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255 (TALK)


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)

Email: Hotline@deafdawn.org

VP: 202-559-5366



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

(202) 274-4457



National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center



Indigenous Women’s Network




Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence



Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV)

1-212- 473-6485






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





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



Trans Lifeline




National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life



Legal Network for Gender Equity



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.

Phone: 800-273-8255

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.

Phone: 800-931-2237

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



Legal Momentum





National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women

1-800-903-0111 x 3


Pae 12 When I Became Free January 31, 2020

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