Saturday, June 14, 2008

My School Years by Petra Luna

The Lavender Power ladies have asked me a few times to write my story. I was trying to oblige them but for some strange reason, I was having some sort of writers block and was not able to do it. It took a tragedy to make me see why.

I was watching a TV show about the Virginia Tech Massacre and they showed a video of Seung-Hui Cho going on and on about how the kids at his school would bully and pick on him. The worst part is that the kids who he killed did not even know him, much less torture him.

This tragedy and many like it are caused by 3 factors; 1.) Mental illness, an area where the parents and the mental health system failed. Somehow these people slip through the cracks and go unchecked. 2.) Easy access to weapons. How this man was cleared to have those handguns is uncomprehencible. 3.) The problem that created the rage to make Cho commit mass murder. The bullying and teasing that is hard enough for a normal kid to handle but impossible for a mentally ill person to even deal with.

When the show was over, I had these strange feelings that ovewhelmed me and I wasn’t sure what it was. I just knew that when he was talking about the kids picking on him, I remembered when I was a kid, how so many times as a result of being bullied and picked on, I wanted to lock the doors of my school and blow it up with all those horrible people in it. The difference between him and me is not the rage, but that fact that he acted upon those urges and I didn’t. I can remember being asked to come to a reunion at my High School. I was so upset and angry that a woman who was on the side of the kids who tortured me, would have the nearve to ask me to a reunion. I sent her a letter stating I was working on a new CD and would be in New York that weekend and to never, EVER send me her junk mail again. I was not good enough for them then and I have no use for them now. She replied saying that they would love to get to talk to me and know me now. Yea, now that I have done something with my life. My brother who remained in the area where I was raised would always say to me, “They were just kids back then”. (There were 3 brothers. This one did not get picked on.) Sorry, not good enough. Yes, I have unresoved issues here. I am only human. I will never be proud to announce where I went to Grade School or High School. Those people and those places are dead to me. Damn, for me as a kid, there was no safe place at home and no safe place at school.

When I was a child, my mother suffered from mild schitsophrenia and paranoia and had many metal challenges. When she was around her kids she would abuse us, so on most occasions, she would just neglect us completely. My father was in a specialized profession that kept him away from home most of the time but he did the best he could to raise us despite that violent and hostile conditions. He is old school and divorce was not an option. Needless to say, I would go to school without being woken up at all. I remember someone always yelling for me to get up because the bus was at the end of the driveway. I would jump out of bed and put on what clothes I could find. It was usually the same thing I wore the day before. I only had 3 or 4 outfits to wear for the whole year and as the year went on, the clothes got more and more worn out. I would also run to the bus in the snow barefoot because I did not have time to put on my shoes and wet socks were horrible to be in all day. My hair was never combed and I always looked unkept. Breakfast was non-existant and I almost never had lunch money. Most kids had nice lunch boxes and cool food. I would catch hell for forgetting my lunch money all the time. The school cafeteria still let me eat and had my Dad pay later. I really wanted to be a part of afterschool activities but that meant I missed the bus home and with my Dad working late, there was no one to pick me up. When I did join an activity, I would wait outside the school alone on many occasions, with no way home since my house was 10 miles from school. I was a perfect target for child predators. It’s a good things my angels were always watching me. Eventually, my Dad would come get me after work when it was already dark. With all that going on, I was the excellent target for being isolated, picked on, bullied and tortured by the kids at school. Also, coming from a big family, my oldest and one of my middle brothers were also subject to this abuse. I always say that those who are physically wonded usually always heal but phscycological abuse can leave many perminantly damaged.

Myself, my oldest and the younger middle brother always got abused by the other kids. We were always laughed at and never chosen to be on anyone's groups or teams for class activities. In the 6th grade, a bully made me run laps in front of the other kids and forced me to beat up my best friend. The younger, middle brother was gay and was staring to act differently. He was beat up on the playground, more like the hunting ground, everyday. The oldest one came out OK but the younger brother could have easily become a kid that would shoot all his class mates now. His bullying and teasing case was probably the worst I have ever seen with my own eyes. The 3 of us hated school.

Now you have to remember that I never had any guidance and was starved for anyone to pay attention to me. I had no explanations of sex except “Don’t’ have sex with boys” and when I was trying to tell my Mom that I got my period, she yelled saying. “I am not driving you anywhere!” I cried and ran away. When I was a Freshman in High School and about 14 years old, there was a group of boys that were Juniors (2 years older). This group of boys knew me from grade school and thought I would be a great target for their sexual explorations. One boy pretended to really like me and I did not know how to handle it. Because I was so afraid to loose the kindness that was being shown to me by that boy, I gave in to sex and lost my virginity and was dumped shortly afterwards. It was a terrible experience. There was another boy in the group that I fell madly in love with and desperately wanted to have as a boyfriend. He did take me out a few times and became frustrated when I would not give him what his “friend” got. One weekend afternoon, we took a drive with another couple. There was a boy and girl in the front seat and I was in the back seat with him. We stared to kiss and when I refused to comply with his wishes, he raised his fist and proceeded to rape me in that back seat while the two in the front did nothing to help me. THEN, to add insult to injury they all went to school the next Monday and had me marked as the school SLUT! After that, I was never asked to one dance by a boy that went to my own school. Not to mention the teasing, and isolation was at an all time high. I remember a violent outburst I had in class one day after I just couldn’t take it anymore. I screamed “All of you low life small minded evil people are going to pay someday for what you did to me and my brother!!”. The principal and I were well acquainted. I decided to defy all of them and got all As and went on to college and even graduated with Honors! I also made friends from other schools and went to thier dances and mine as well. At 17 I left that small town, never to return.

My brother did become a member on MENSA, a certified genius and was able work for a few years as an engineer but all the abuse caught up with him. Today he is pumped up on so many drugs that he is unable to focus or work and is currently on disability. He has attempted to kill himself several times. I’m not sure if I could ever forgive those monsters. It would take a formal apology from those schools for me to even think about it and that will never happen.

Who do I blame? I blame the school first and foremost for forcing my brothers and I to go out on the playground for recess when we did not want to. They knew what was happening and chose to do nothing. I blame the parents for not getting a grip on their cruel kids, even when the school occasionally notified them. I also blame ALL of the kids that stood there and watched my brothers and I be tortured day after day and even be raped and did NOTHING!

How many more massacres is it going to take for us to start paying attention to this terrible problem? I cannot do anything about the mental health system or about gun control but out respect for the innocent victims of the Virginia Tech Massacre and their families, as the leader of the War On Abuse Movement, I SURE THE HELL CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT BULLIES AND THEIR ACCOMPLICES!!! You can bet your ass I can and will! I am vowing right now to start a new child abuse battle dedicated to the awareness and prevention of schoolmate bullying and teasing. I will need volunteers for this? It is abuse and it need to be stomped out, PERIOD!

I am going to suggest training teachers to identify and act on this problem and for parents to become aware and find out if you’re their child is a victim, bully or an accomplice. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem!

For those guilty of instigating and committing these acts, proper punishment should be the following;

1st offence-parents called and detention where the child has to write 2 letters. One, on why they did it and two, an apology to the victim.

2nd offence-parents called with suspension from school and community service.

3rd offense-expultion and transfer to another school.

Also, any physical assaults on or off school grounds should be counted as a misdemeanor with community service. Any further assaults are already covered by the criminal justice system.

For those who stand by and don’t report the incidents to the teachers, please see 1 and 2 above?

I also will suggest a class to be given on how to handle teasing and bullying in schools. These kids need to be responsible for their actions.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Turning Point by Petra Luna

Welcome To My Personal Blog!
This blog was given to me as a gift from Absolute Zero. Isn’t it beautiful???

Many times over I have been asked, “What happened to you to make you so driven towards fighting child abuse?” Well there is one of my abuse stories that had changed my life and to launch this beautiful new blog, I have sat down to write it.

(Note: The names have been changed to protect the people involved in this story.)


I met Sam in 1997. He was extremely handsome and charming, as many abusers are. I stayed with him three years. The first two years were great until the end of the third year when we got engaged and I moved in with him. I had a great life in the city of Chicago and my apartment was a steal! But I decided to move to the suburbs with Sam and let the city life go for him. He had 3 children, a teenage daughter and son from a first marriage and another small daughter from a second marriage. At the time, he was going through a vicious and difficult divorce with his second ex-wife. I never understood her rage until I learned who Sam really was, and that was not until I moved in. I set up my little office in a downstairs room, while the rest of the house and his office and computer were upstairs. His oldest son was named Brent. He was always in and out of prison and drug rehab. He would cut himself with a razor. There were always slices on his face, arms, legs and abdomen and his drug of choice was heroin. Sam and I would fight often about how I felt that Brent was not being given a fair shake since he was forced to live on the streets and could never come home to Sam’s house since he couldn’t “follow the rules”. Sam and Brent had a strained relationship. His daughter from the 1st marriage, Shawna lived with Sam’s parents since the divorce and was very lucky for that. Candi was his youngest 4 year old daughter from the most recent marriage and her mother was the one in a divorce and custody battle for her. Sam had Candi three days a week during their divorce litigation. After I got moved in and settled, little Candi would always want to be downstairs and play in my office. After the second week, Sam would scold Candi for spending too much time downstairs. You would think if I were to eventually be her step mother, that he would want me to bond with the child. I started to see a terror in the child’s eyes for her father, but I was in denial at the time. Love is not just blind, it is stupid. Shauna would visit on occasion and when she did, Sam seemed to ignore her and she would sit with nothing to do, so I would always try to take the teens to activities and then get angry with Sam for not doing his part. Meanwhile, the battle to let Brent come back home off the streets raged on. All of his kids seemed to want to bond with me. Perhaps, I was the only sane adult in that house at the time.

The relationship between Sam and I grew even more toxic and abusive. I knew he had an abusive side and he did abuse me at times, but as any good victim, I had every excuse to defend him. By the time I moved in, he had me completely, mentally brain washed and I allowed him to abuse me sexually against my will. After a lifetime of abuse I had no skills to combat the abuse in any way. I just submitted 100% with no will to protect myself. I had never met the 2nd ex-wife but was friendly with the mother of the teens from the first marriage. At the end of the third week there, he came up to me and told me that I had to move out by the end of the week. “Why so soon!?” I was shocked that I had picked up my entire life to be with him and he did not even give me a week to move out of his house. I was crushed beyond all comprehension. A day latter he presented me with what he called a “Sex Contract”. The contract said that I could stay at his house if I promised to have sex with him wearing whatever he wanted, however he wanted and whenever he wanted. I told him that I needed to think about it. After a few hours of prayer, I took the contract and tore it up in his face. He left for work and then the phone rang. I don’t normally answer his phone but I though it was him calling to give me an apology for the thousandth time. It was Melony, his first ex-wife and the mother of the teens. She asked for Sam and I told her he was not in. She could see that I was crying and asked if I was alright. I told her that Sam was being awful to me and continued to cry. Without hesitation she told me, “Get your stuff and get out of that house, TODAY!! You have no idea what you are involved with over there.” She was married to Sam for 12 years so I knew I should listen. I moved out a week latter into an apartment in the same town so I could continue to date Sam. I know, you are thinking, she is crazy. Well, I was. After I left, Sam found another girlfriend and I became suicidal. I was so ready to die that I was writing out a little will for myself. I could not and would not live without him. I was too far gone. Melony started to check on me and knew I was near the end. She invited me over 3 times a week for prayer vigils so that I would not kill myself. In a few weeks God did give me the strength to survive. I can thank Melody for saving my life. She did. I had hard feelings for Melody because she was married to a man that didn’t like or want kids. He would not allow Brent to even visit. I confronted him and asked why he would marry a woman with kids if he did not want them. I also would grill her as to why she would choose a man over her kids. Despite the opinions, she became by best friend and would let me cry on the phone with her for up to 6 hours at a time, a real saint. Sam eventually left the new girlfriend and returned to me. I was in therapy but had no resistance to him. As always, I was a perfect victim. Although, when I did go back, I was seeing things through different eyes and I was not as trusting. The therapy was starting to help. God was keeping an eye out for me and I could feel it, this time around.

Then one night changed everything for me. I was cooking and Brent came to dinner. He started begging Sam to let him stay the night and as always, his father said no. Then Brent said that if he couldn’t stay with his dad that he did have somewhere to go but he would have to have sex with the man in order to earn his keep. I watched for Sam’s reaction and it was just a blank stare. After another half hour of begging, I asked if he wanted me to take him myself since it was the middle of winter and he didn’t have a ride. I got in the car with Brent and drove him to the man’s house and cursed his fathers name the whole way home. When I flung open the door, it was war! I screamed at him and said, “What kind of man would let his own son go and prostitute himself to have a bed to sleep in at night?” My eyes were opened at that point. Denial showed its evil head, but this time it was different. A few days later, I walked in on him and little Candi in the shower. I will spare the details. I ran out of the house shaking. That was it! I have to do something to protect little Candi and that was my final decision. If not, she will end up just like Brent someday or even worse, dead on the streets at 14. That was not going to happen to her, not on my watch!

I went to Melony and started asking why her son was so messed up? We visited Brent who was living in horribly, filthy conditions in a basement room without heat. Please keep in mind that the Chicago area has record low temperatures in the winter time. Melody started to tell me how Sam’s mother was suspected of sexually abusing Sam and then I snapped. I told her that if she doesn’t help me find out what was wrong with Brent that she was a failure as a woman and a mother. At that point, I cut her off from lack of respect. I believe a mother should defend her children with her life if necessary. I told her that she and ex number 2 was scared of him but I wasn’t and he can go to hell! I am reporting him with or without them. Many times I told myself, “These are not my kids, just walk away,” but I loved them and simply could not. I was not scared of him any more and Melony and the 2nd ex-wife needed to step up to the plate! It took me another month but Melony decided to help me for the sake of Candi. She started by writing a 4 page letter about all she remembered that had happened I the past. She remembered how at a family function one year, that her nieces complained of Sam touching them inappropriately. She also recalled walking into Brent’s room to find him inspecting his rectum. She suspected that his anus was injured and although she had suspicions, she was too afraid of Sam, being his victim for so many years at that point, to act on them. She told me the creepiest thing one time. She said that before my children were even born, that he had her believing that they weren’t even hers. Now that is brainwashing at its worst, ouch! Then we tracked down ex number 2 and she said that one day Candi came home telling her that Daddy had touched her in the underwear are. She took the child to be examined by a doctor, but Candi’s hymen was not broken. Even Brent to opened up and admitted to a family friend that his father had been raping him for years. It was on. We called DCFS, the county and the state police but ex number two decided that since she was scared of Sam and in a custody battle, so she would not get involved. Brent at first promised to testify, but Sam caught wind of our plans and was able to silence him by letting Brent come home to an allowance and his own room. Since Brent had turned 18, we were not able to pursue the case if he refused to testify. Brent refused to talk after that. I guess drug money to an addict is more important than justice or Candi. Melony and I were crushed. We had to let it go and just pray for little Candi.

Two weeks passed and Sam showed up at my job with flowers and yet another marriage proposal for me. After many ignored phone calls, I finally picked up and told him everything we accused him of and that Melony and I had reported him to the authorities. His only response was, “You can’t prove anything” in a tone as cold as ice. Any innocent man would have attempted to clear his name and straighten out the misunderstanding. Not him, he was guilty as hell and he knew it. I would cry myself to sleep thinking about little Candi and how I failed to protect her. Candi’s mom never hated me like I thought, she was glad to have me live there and keep an eye on her daughter. Now, no one could save her. I could only pray for all of them.

Two months had passed and I started dating a man long distance. He was an executive from the west coast. It was all I could handle at the time. Besides, I wanted to leave Chicago for good after that. There were too many bad memories in that town. One Sunday night, after spending a great weekend with my new man, he and I were driving to the airport, so he could fly back home, when my best friend, at the time, called me crying hysterically. She said that Sam was dead and that he had committed suicide. His funeral and memorial service were some of the worst experiences in my life. I actually mourned the passing of my worst abuser, unbelievable! After the services, I went to his house and saw the bed where he shot himself, with blood all over it. I don’t know why, but I had to see it. His mother was there and I asked her if there was any fowl play since Brent was living there at the time and he was found by his then girlfriend at the time. I never knew her name. I figured maybe Brent drove him to guilt or threatened to expose him for whatever reason. His mother, who always thought that I was never good enough for her son told me plainly that the coroner declared it a suicide and that was it. I was able to locate the officer who found him and also spoke to him. I told him everything and he said what I was thinking, that any innocent man would have tried to clear his name and that many child molesters take their lives out of guilt. At that point I stopped digging. The Lord’s justice was not to be messed with.

Two years passed and I was able to pay off my large debt and move to Los Angeles. That incident inspired the writing of my CD “Empowerment”, which I recorded here in LA. I was so upset that he not only preyed on and destroyed his everyone’s lives around him, but he left his children with that terrible legacy of his death. I still get to spend holidays with his kids occasionally and I keep a picture of Candi by my bed to remind me of my purpose. Oh, and Melody eventually left her husband that did not want kids around. Candi now lives with her mom and a loving step dad. They are all very happy.

Then I got angry.