So far in the 21st century nearly a third of a billion children have been sexually abused, most of them multiple times, some thousands of times. 6 out of 7 are girls. Anything you can do to get this message to as many people as possible will help save abused children all over the world, and maybe even some of the abusers. Please read "Save A Child from Sexual Abuse by 3:15 PM" under "First Time Visitor?" May God bless you and anoint this ministry.
Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!
3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour
Saturday, 13 January 2018
11 y/o Sexual Assault Survivor: 'It Felt Like My Soul was Breaking'
One Young Survivor's Story
Lex Talamo, firstname.lastname@example.org
"I told him, 'I'm not even 13, you need to stop doing this to me.'" (Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times)
The first time 10-year-old Dillan Weileder spoke about her sexual abuse, she described it as, "I felt like my soul was breaking."
A man she had known as her "uncle" for her entire life had been touching her inappropriately and ordering her not to tell for more than a year.
But one night, in the same room where she had been abused, Dillan was alone with her younger brother and the "secret" came out.
"I thought he wouldn't tell anyone," Dillan said. "But he was so shocked. He said, 'We have to tell Mom.' I said, 'I don't want to tell Mom!' But he dragged me out."
Dixie Weileder, a mother of three, said she "held it together" until her two young children had returned to their rooms. Then she fell apart.
"They heard me crying," she said.
Dixie Weileder said she "held it together" until her two young children had returned to their rooms. Then she fell apart. (Photo: Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times)
Thursday, Dillan — a sprightly now 11-year-old with effervescent blue eyes and a quick smile — and her family received news that Dillan called "a victory."
Ten long months after the filed police report, the offender who had harmed Dillan had been brought to justice in a Caddo court of law.
Thomas Leroy Millerpleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery on Jan. 11. The sentence: 30 years in prison, 25 to be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension.
And registration as a sex offender — for life.
"You hear horror stories about people who do horrible things to children and then get six months," Weileder said. "I was surprised. But people need to know his name, his face, and what he did. He worked with children before this."
The Times normally does not publish the names of sexual assault victims. In this case, Dillan and her mom asked that the girl's story, including her name, be told.
The first time 10-year-old Dillan Weileder spoke about her sexual abuse, she described it as, "I felt like my soul was breaking." (Photo: Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times)
Miller was a 20-year family friend, someone Dillan had called "uncle" and been taught to respect.
The abuse started when Dillan was 9. Miller got permission to take Dillan to pick up fireworks from his house. On the way back, in the privacy of the car, he touched her for the first time, Dillan said. She didn't know that anything "bad" had happened — until her "uncle" told her not to tell anyone.
When Dillan finally disclosed in March 2017 how the abuse had started almost a year earlier, her mom was shocked.
"I had talked with Dillan about touching. We had that conversation, many times," Weileder said. "That first time he touched her, they couldn't have been gone ten minutes."
Dillan has Asperger Syndrome, on the autism spectrum. One characteristic is that she is more detached emotionally from events than are other children her age, Weileder said.
But as the abuse became more frequent, Dillan became increasingly uncomfortable.
"He offered me $5 once to do something, and I told him, 'No, I don't want your money,'" Dillan said. "And I told him, 'I'm not even 13, you need to stop doing this to me.'"
Weileder said she never questioned her daughter was telling the truth, especially when Dillan shared the specifics of the final time she was abused.
"He offered me $5 once to do something, and I told him, 'No, I don't want your money,'" Dillan said. "And I told him, 'I'm not even 13, you need to stop doing this to me.'" (Photo: Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times)
"With Aspergers, she doesn't lie. She doesn't make stuff up," Weileder said. "After she told him to stop, he said, 'Ok, but one for the road.' I instantly believed her because she didn't even know what that meant."
Looking back, Weileder said, she should have seen the signs.
"It's one of those things where you look back, and you see. He was always obsessed with Dillan, asking to take her places without her brothers, even though we told him no," Weileder said. "But I didn't think more of it. Someone once told me, 'You don't see it, your mind doesn't go there, because it's so inconceivable.'"
This is a problem, not just on an individual scale but on a mega-scale as well. People don't want to believe there is so much of this stuff happening out there that they simply refuse to think about it. The consequence is that our children are often unprepared to defend themselves or even to recognize that they are being abused.
The day after Dillan's disclosure, Weileder reported the abuse to police. Then, for seven long weeks, she waited.
"Waiting to get the call that he was in custody, while having to pretend like everything was fine, that nothing had changed, that was the hardest part," she said.
Miller remained in jail in lieu of a $35,000 bail amount following his arrest and was ordered to have no contact with Dillan.
It was the start of a very long, anxiety-inducing road to justice, Weileder said.
A long road
Weileder said a prosecutor told her it would probably take at least two years to close Dillan's case. She started a secret Facebook page to keep family and friends updated.
"I do not know if he will remain in jail that whole time. We were given a protection order automatically... that makes me believe they expected him to get out," she wrote in a June update. "The lawyer said what detectives consider confession is different from what prosecutors do."
Lisa Casey, Dillan's grandmother, said Weileder received harsh criticism for documenting Dillan's journey.
Lisa Casey, Dillan's grandmother. (Photo: Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times)
"People came down on Dixie when she started the page, saying she was putting Dillan more at risk," Casey said. "But Dillan had actually asked for her to create a page to speak so she could help others. People said, 'She might be okay with it now, but she might not be later.'"
Weileder said she wanted to honor her daughter's request to help others — and to emphasize the abuse had not been Dillan's fault.
"My goal when this happened was I never wanted her to feel ashamed or that she did something wrong," Weileder said. "The best way to accomplish that is not to tell her we need to keep it a secret."
May 24 marked the first recorded court filings in Miller's case. A preliminary exam to establish probable cause happened almost a month later. Then came five separate hearing dates, each one to two months apart.
Agonized social media posts from Weileder throughout show the waiting didn't get any easier.
"We have court on Tuesday. At this time, I don't know what is happening at this hearing," Weileder wrote in November. "I get a pang in my stomach every time I think about it. I think it is just because it has been a few months since I've had to look at him, and I don't want to do it again."
At the age of 11, why should she have to? Modern judicial systems need to function in a much more child-friendly way than they do now.
Meanwhile, Dillan started counseling at the Gingerbread House — first in weekly sessions, then monthly. She attended school field trips.
She was carrying on. But she had also started carrying and hiding knives, little plastic knives. Weileder found them tucked under her daughter's pillow, in her purse, in nooks around her room.
Dillan feared that her abuser would come to kill her in the night for telling, Weileder said. But her daughter also started telling her more.
"Dillan and I were talking today and she told me something she hadn't before. She is telling me more as time goes on," Weileder wrote in June. "I called the detective to tell him, and he was busy. He asked me to email him. He was nice, but I always feel like I am bugging people. I guess that is good."
Dillan said during an interview with The Times that the more she told, the more she remembered.
"And I started to feel better, like if I told more, maybe he could be in jail more and things would get better," she said.
Other situations arose that Weileder didn't know how to handle initially. Dillan started to show an interest in learning more about other children who had undergone sexual assault, something from which Weileder initially tried to shield her.
Weileder was watching television when she a news story about an Olympic gymnastics doctor who had molested a child flashed across the screen. She tried to fast forward, afraid the coverage might upset Dillan.
"She asked me to let her watch," Weileder said. "She said she wanted to know how the girls handled it and if the guy was in jail. I actually think it made her feel better, knowing it isn't just her."
Becoming a survivor
In Louisiana, child sexual abuse crimes can carry minimum sentences of between 25 and 99 years.
The Gingerbread House, a child advocacy center in Shreveport, videotapes children's testimony for use in court, to minimize additional trauma from repeatedly describing the sexual abuse to strangers.
But when cases head to trial, victims still must be present in the courtroom for cross examination. Their alleged abusers are in the same room.
Laura Fulco, first assistant district attorney in Caddo Parish, told The Times in previous coverage that child sexual abuse cases sometimes end with "plea" deals.
The offender will plead guilty to the charges in return for a fixed sentence agreed to by the defendant, prosecutor and victim's family. The child, in return, will not have to be present, and be re-traumatized, at trial, Fulco said.
That happened with Miller, who pleaded guilty to a sexual battery charge and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Weileder said she was willing to accept the plea deal to keep her daughter "off the stand." The pre-teen also said she was happy that she would not have to see Miller again.
One day this month, Dillan proudly showed off a multi-colored pendant hanging from a delicate silver chain around her neck.
It was a "survivor" necklace, she said, that staff at the Gingerbread House gave her after her forensic interview.
"I want to talk about what happened to me, so that if it happens to someone else they will know to tell their parents and the police," Dillan said. "I want to tell others, 'Don't be afraid. It's not your fault.'"
Mollie Corbett's 'Outlier' expands to empower survivors statewide
Mollie Walton Corbett, a Shreveport artist, first told the Times about Dillan's story.
"I got a call from one of my Outlier mothers just now to say that the man that abused her young daughter got 30 years of jail for his sentence," Corbett said.
The artist shared the family's excitement, noting: "There are so few who report, so few who tell, so few who get justice. It's such a strong reaction and sentencing in light of our current climate."
Corbett, herself a sexual assault survivor, launched her first "Outlier" exhibit — a photography series of haunting but powerful portraits of individuals who survived sexual assault — in April 2016.
She defines an outlier as "a person who is unusual or successful and not like others in the same group, a survivor, someone who manages to continue a successful life despite very bad experiences."
The series has allowed women to cast aside shame and stigma from having undergone sexual assault and instead become survivors, Corbett said.
The original Shreveport "Outlier" vision has since expanded to exhibits in Lafayette and New Orleans. Corbett said at least 50 survivors, including three men, have shared their stories with her.
Corbett and her team shot video during those trips, which they assembled into a documentary that Corbett is trying to sell to a network to raise awareness.
"We have had industry interest, and there should be more news soon," she said. "I think something big will happen soon."
Corbettt said Dillan will be allowed to be an official "Outlier" story once she turns 18. Until then, Corbett said, she was proud of the young woman who "saved herself 30 years of couch-less living" by telling immediately.
"I am so proud of Dillan for telling. And I am so proud of her mother, first for believing and then for acting," Corbett said. "Dillan does not even understand yet what she's done for herself. She has restored her life before even knowing she needed the transformation and healing."