Tag Archives: child abuse

The Monster Is Just Down The Hall – Guest Post By Tanya R Simon

I am privileged to publish the below guest post by Tanya R Simon, an abuse survivor. For my review of Tanya’s book, “This Present Garden Of Pain” please visit the following link, (http://newauthoronline.com/tag/this-present-garden-of-pain-tanya-r-simon-book-review/). Thank you to Tanya for the below article.




The Monster Is Just Down The Hall




Tanya R. Simon



Most everyone in America was taught not to talk to strangers, not to take anything from strangers, not to trust strangers, etc. In the 1980s, we began to teach out children what to do if someone tries to make them go somewhere and that person is not a friend or family member.


Though first coined in 1963, the phrase, “Stranger Danger” is what school programs, PTA, Neighborhood Watch Organizations, and parents have focused most of their protective energies toward. I think for many people this phrase conjures up a weirdo, standing outside of a school playground in a trench coat with nothing on under, waiting to flash children at recess.


The Sex Offender Registry, which became national in 1996, but actually started in 1947 in California, was designed so all parents would know if there was a registered sex offender in their neighborhood.


While every single one of these measures is a valid and needed move in the war against those who would harm children. They fail to protect the vast majority of children who are sexually abused. They fail because more often than not, the monster waiting to rob a child of their innocence is right down the hall from them every night.


The terrifying fact is that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys under the age of twelve will be molested by someone they know. And of those who are molested by someone they know, a staggering 30% are molested by a parent.


Children molested by a parent or sibling, are less likely to report it to a teacher or counselor. They are more likely to go on to molest their own children. They are more likely to grow up with confused sexual identities, regardless of the sex of the parent who molested them. These children often spend their entire lives living in the shadows of their childhoods.


You can protect your child in several ways:


  1. Be aware what is or is not normal behavior for your child. If your child is extremely talkative and suddenly becomes quiet and reserved, investigate the reason.


  1. Be aware of the background of the people who you let into your child’s lives. Use online services to perform background checks on anyone you plan on having your child around. Never leave your child alone with anyone you have not checked out and know something about. Use babysitting services, accredited daycares, well-known camps and sports programs.


  1. If your child does not want to be alone with someone or they tell you they do not like someone, remove the person from your child’s life until you can find out the reasons why.


  1. Never assume anything when it comes to the safety of your child. Just because a friend safely left his or her child with someone does not mean your child will be safe with the person. Pedophiles have types and the other child might not have been the pedophiles chosen type. The pedophile may have figured it could not get away with anything with the other child for a variety of reasons, but thinks they can with your child.


  1. Following your instincts, never thinking that you must have misunderstood what you saw or felt. Better to alienate a friend than have your child scarred for life.


There are textbook signs of abuse that you should be aware of:


  1. Sudden hostility towards you or other adults in authority positions in the child’s life.


  1. Aggressive behavior towards siblings or friends.


  1. Sexually inappropriate behavior of any kind.


  1. Bedwetting if the child had not been a bed wetter before. This one would merit a trip to the doctor to check for a physiological reason for the wetting.


  1. Terror at the thought of spending time with someone. Even if you think the terror is from spending time with a school friend, there is a good chance it is not the friend but someone in the friend’s life that your child is truly terrified of.


  1. Bruises of an unexplained nature, ANYWHERE on the body. Just because your child is sporting a bruise on his ankle and is known to be clumsy or active in sports, does not mean the bruise got there innocently.


  1. Bleeding in their private regions or blood on their underwear, sheets or clothes.


How you treat your child after finding out they have been abused can also shape the life they will lead.


  1. Though you are most likely volcanically angry, do not show this anger in front of the child. No matter their age, in that emotional state they will think the anger is directed at them. And they will take on blame for the abuse they suffered. They will also no longer trust you as someone safe to tell their problems to.


  1. NEVER, under any circumstances, ask the child why they didn’t tell you. This also implies that what they just went through was their fault because they could not tell you. There are dozens of reasons why they took so long or never did and you discovered it. Often the perpetrator has threatened the life or safety of someone they love, maybe even yours. The child is terrified of the perp, so no matter how much they think you are a superhero, a part of them believes this could happen and they are not willing to risk you or their siblings or Grandma to take the chance they will be believed. Rest assured the perp has told them that no one will believe them if they tell.


  1. Do not treat the child like they are irrevocably damaged. This will send a message to them that they will never get past this experience and can do irreparable damage.


  1. Do not treat the child as though nothing has happened. This minimizes the feelings they have surrounding their abuse. It sends a message that they are not being mature or grown up or even right in feeling the way they feel.


  1. Please, do not think you can handle the recovery of your child alone. Even if you are a trained professional, this is your child, and you are not qualified. Seek the help of someone who is a specialist in dealing with children who have been through sexual abuse. They usually will state this specification in their website or phone book listing. Often law enforcement officials will have a list of professionals in your area who are qualified. Also, whether you think you need it or not, please get professional help for yourself as well.


  1. Please, no matter whom it was or if they promise never to do it again, report the abuser to the authorities. Doing this can stop another child from living through this nightmare, it can get a sick person help, and most importantly it sends a message to your child that they have your belief and your protection and you are not ashamed of them.


  1. Tell your child in plain language that they did nothing wrong, that you still love them, and that they are still going to be able to have a good life.


  1. Unfortunately, in today’s justice system the laws surrounding Non-Stranger Sexual Abuse are inadequate. Many require DNA samples or bruising in the genital area to even arrest the individual. If you find out after a recent attack, you have to put your child through the collection of the DNA and the taking of the pictures to show their bruises. If there was no recent attack or they suppressed the events, there is no DNA evidence or bruises. A few states do allow for medical records to be submitted into evidence. This allows for physical damage caused by the attack, but does not in anyway tie the perpetrator to the damage, so it usually gets thrown out of court. With all of these possibilities that the person who attacked them will never even see the inside of a court room, NEVER promise your child their attacker is going to go to jail.


  1. Never threaten to harm the perp in front of your child because they have probably lived with the fear of losing you because of this and you going to prison forever means they will have lost you. This action can cause a child who has been victimized to recant just to protect the parent they so desperately need.


  1. And most of you will think this is a given, but it isn’t, do not stay with the abuser if you live in the same house as they do. Take the child and move away if possible, if not then have the person removed from the house, change the locks and make it clear to everyone in the home that the perp is no longer allowed to be there. Your continuing to allow the perp to be a part of your life tells the child that you value them more than you do the child.


  1. Go on loving your child, teaching your child and being an active part of your child’s live. They should not lose anyone or anything else more than they already have.








Ring Around Rosie By Emily Pattullo Book Review

It isn’t often that I read a book in one day but, in the case of Ring Around Rosie by Emily Pattullo, this is what I did, all 299 pages!

Ring Around Rosie deals with the issue of child trafficking and is aimed at the young adult market, however Pattullo’s novel can be read by all ages (12-13 upwards). Rosie, a rebellious 14-year-old leaves London with her parents and brother Ted to escape the temptations of the capital. Following a group of men she finds they are engaged in criminal activity but before Rosie can slip away she is captured and finds herself on the way to London in a truck full of children.

Rosie is drawn into a world of child prostitution, one in which “respectable” men pay for sex with trafficked children in their homes or in exclusive member’s only clubs. Pattullo deals sensitively with rape. The reader is aware that abuse of children is taking place, however the writing isn’t graphic, many abuse scenes being hinted at (not described in graphic detail) which makes the book suitable for the young adult market.

Pattullo shows how victims can become dependent on their captors and even bond with them in a perverse manner.

Rosie’s brother Ted is distraught at the plight of his sister and goes to London to rescue her. Will he succeed before Rosie is lost to him and their parents forever? The ending is not what the reader is expecting.

Ring Around Rosie can be purchased as a Kindle download for £1.99 at Amazon, http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009T5W4TC/ref=pe_364691_36330161_M1T1DP

About Suffering They Were Never Wrong

“About suffering they were never wrong,

The old Masters: how well they understood

Its human position: how it takes place

While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;

How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting

For the miraculous birth, there always must be

Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating

On a pond at the edge of the wood …”.


Those lines of W H Auden came powerfully to mind when I received a call from The National Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Children, the NSPCC, who are running a campaign in schools to explain to very young children what abuse is and how to report it. As a donor to the NSPCC they wanted me to increase my direct debit to assist in paying for Childline in schools. The Society say they are receiving an increasing number of calls from children aged around 11 which has prompted the Childline initiative in schools.

The tragedy of the situation is that many children blame themselves for the abuse or somehow try to convince themselves that it is normal. Here in Crystal Palace it is a lovely sunny day but those lines of Auden, quoted above just keep replaying themselves in my head. Terrible suffering of children does go on while we go about our daily lives. As I write this a child, somewhere is being physically or sexually abused. I can give money. I only wish that I could do more.


For Auden’s poem please visit http://english.emory.edu/classes/paintings&poems/auden.html

The Bogeyman

The child dreads the bogeyman, the figment of fevered imaginings. The creature lurking in dark corners, croutched, like a cat ready to pounce. Adults frighten children half to death with ghosts, ghouls and other things which go bump at the dead of night. Kids lie in the dark, needing the toilet but not daring to leave the relative safety of their beds, for ghastly demons lie in wait for the unwary child. But the abused child, he who is to terrified to speak knows that there are no goblins waiting to torment him for he lives in hell and endures the torment of a flesh and blood devil. Oh to be the child frightend of ghosts and ghouls. How lucky in comparison is he?

Sweeping Up

“another bloody pervert” Sergeant Ben Marshal said as he looked down contemptuously at the man lying on the living room floor.

“How can you be so callous?” constable Haley Dixon asked.

“Look Haley when you have seen so many weirdos as I have kill themselves while getting their kinks you will feel just as pissed off as I do. We should be out there catching criminals not investigating the deaths of pervs who get their kicks out of tying vacuum cleaner chords around their necks to obtain sexual gratification. Its an obvious case of accidental death while he (pointing to the corpse) was getting his jollies.  I bet you £20 that the coroner finds that this is accidental death”.

“I don’t gamble”.

“Pitty as it’s a dead cert that £20 would be coming my way if you did”.



The elderly man leaned heavily on his walking stick as he approached the front door. These days it took him several minutes to get from the arm chair to the door by which time many callers had given up waiting and left leaving only an empty space when he finally opened the door.

“I’m coming” he called in a quavering voice.

Finally he reached the front door. He fumbled with the latch. His arthritic fingers could barely manage to cope with the simple mechanism. Eventually the latch clicked and he opened the door.

A gloved handwas pressed over his mouth.

“Get inside. If you make a sound I’ll use this” the caller said the flick knife glinting in his gloved left hand.

The man shrank back into the hallway.

“I’m going to remove my hand but if you try to summon help I’ll use this” the visitor said holding the knife so that it’s blade was a mere millimetre away from the elderly man’s neck.

“The money is in my bedroom under the matress. Just take it and go” the old man pleaded.

“Oh Bert don’t you remember your own step son? I’m truly hurt. Don’t you recall the times we spent alone in this very house?”

The elderly man squinted short sightedly at his unwelcome guest. Slowly recognition dawned.

“You always liked a joke didn’t you Johny. Always larking around you where but the jokes over now. Put that away (pointing to the knife) and lets have a cup of tea”.

“No lets play a game. You always liked to play games when I was a child”.

“I’m to old for games Johny. My old body is falling to bits”.

“Oh you are never to old for games. Do you remember the hoover game?”

“The what?”

“The hoover game” Johny said patiently as though he was addressing a particularly stupid child.

“No I don’t remember that son”.

“Really you do surprise me. If you can’t remember then I certainly can. Where do you keep the vacuum cleaner?”

“The vacuum cleaner?”

“Oh dear I can’t be making myself clear today. Yes where do you keep the vacuum cleaner, the hoover, the thing which is designed for removing dirt like you”.

“What do you want the vacuum cleaner for” the elderly man asked in a quavering voice.

“Don’t you like surprises? I do. If I tell you then it won’t be a surprise will it and that will take all the fun out of the game” Johny said with a smile.

“I can’t remember”.

“That’s OK. I’ll help you. I remember that it used to be kept in the cupboard under the stairs. Is it still there I wonder? Well there is only one way to find out Johny, to go and look. Walk in front of me so that I can keep an eye on you. That’s right, stay to the left of the cupboard where I can keep an eye on you. Ah it’s the same vacuum cleaner. Who would have believed that it’s the self same hoover after all these years. Take it out and we can play a game”.

“I can’t manage it Johny. The lady from social services vacuums when she comes round on a Thursday afternoon”.

“Really! As a child of 10 I could barely manage to hold that machine above my head but I had to play the game. Do you remember making me hold the hoover above my head? God my shoulders ached but I knew that if I dropped it then I’d suffer even more. Christ holding that thing at the top of the stairs was scary. I felt as though I was going to topple down and be crushed by it”.

“I don’t know what you are talking about Johny” whimpered the old man.

“Yes you fucking do now get that out of the cupboard or I’ll cut you” Johny said advancing on the shaking man with the knife.

Slowly Bert reached into the cupboard and with great effort pulled out the vacuum cleaner.

“There now I told you that you could do it didn’t I? You aren’t quite so weak and feeble as you like to pretend are you?”

“You where always a naughty boy Johny. You deserved to be punished. It was for your own good”.

Johny rraised his right arm as though to stab Bert with the knife full in the neck. With an effort he contained himself.

“A little boy that is what I was. A terrified little child holding a fucking vacuum cleaner above his head. Do you remember the cushion game? Perhaps we can play that after we’ve finished with the hoover. Would you like that?”

“No please”.

“Why not cushions are nice and comfortable. Don’t you like a nice soft cushion? I remember the feeling of the fabric as you pressed it down on my little face. Why didn’t you kill me? I’ve often asked myself that. Perhaps you gained more satisfaction out of having me alive and watching me suffer than you gained from the prospect of killing me. Anyway lovely as it is to chat with my step dad I don’t have all day. Unwind that cable”.


The end

Feeling Queasy

The subject of paedophilia is a highly emotive one, “others rush in where angels fear to tread”. Over the weekend I wrote “An Act of Madness” in which we are introduced to Ian, a man with an unhealthy sexual interest in young teenage girls. Ian graduates from looking at images of child abuse online to raping a 13-year-old child who has been procured for him by an unsavoury pimp, Tom.

Although I wrote “An Act of Madness” in a period of only 2 days it is the most difficult story I have written. What Ian does is monstrous and I felt queasy throughout the composition of “An Act of Madness”. The best way to describe why I wrote this story is to say that I felt compelled to do so. One can not brush child abuse under the carpet and it is important to understand what causes men (and sometimes women) to sexually and physically abuse children. Of course to understand is not to condone, the monstrosity of child abuse can never be condoned, however by attempting to get into the mind of the paedophile we can, perhaps help to prevent him from offending or reoffending.

On the one level there is an inevitability in Ian’s offending. He has, for a considerable period and by his own admission maintained an unhealthy interest in very young teenage girls. This interest escalates from looking to physical and sexual abuse (the road from clicking on images of child abuse to the rape of 13-year-old girl is, for Ian all to easy). However Ian recognises that he has a problem, he has the opportunity to seek help, an opportunity which he fails to take. Had he listened to the wee small voice of conscience which cries out in the depths of the night he may, possibly have avoided the offending behaviour which leads to tragedy for both him and the children involved.

For “An Act of Madness” please visit http://newauthoronline.com/2013/06/01/an-act-of-madness-part-1/

An Act of Madness Part 5

Below is the final part of my story, An Act of Madness. For Part 4 please visit http://newauthoronline.com/2013/06/02/an-act-of-madness-part-4/.


Ian woke to the sound of the dawn chorus. Even in the heart of Brixton the birds sing, Ian thought. For a few moments he was at peace listening to the sound of many birds singing fit to burst. All to soon the recollections of the previous evening’s debauchery came flooding back. He turned to see Lisa one arm around that beloved bear and the other draped over Angel. Despite being only 13 Lisa had attempted to protect Angel from Ian’s drug and alcohol fuelled lust. It had, of course been useless. Ian had struck Lisa a crushing blow across the face sending the girl flying across the room. As Lisa lay dazed on the floor Ian had raped Angel while she watched helplessly. Lisa’s face was deeply scarred where Ian’s ring had sliced into her cheek. Both girls face’s showed signs of dried tears mixed with the blood which Ian had drawn during his animal rage.

Ian turned away. He couldn’t look anymore. Getting out of bed he dressed quickly, opened the bedroom door and headed for the stairs. This time there was no Tom to detain him at the front door. Ian pulled back the heavy bolts and stepped out into the cool morning air. The birds still sang but Ian did not hear them. His thoughts where dark, no joy filled his soul.

“God, god what have I done? What have I done?”

Ian wandered aimlessly for over an hour. He wasn’t conscious of having been aiming for Brixton Tube, however, looking up he found himself outside. He entered, bought a ticket from the ticket machine and headed for the Victoria line.

The platform was relatively empty as at just after 6 am the morning rush hour had not yet begun in earnest.

Ian stood close to the yellow line, the point of safety which the public should not cross when trains are approaching. He felt nothing, absolutely empty. His life was meaningless. Looking into the future Ian saw more young lives blighted by him, scores of children stretching forward all brought to the depths of depravity due to his selfish desires.

A tube approached.

“Stand back, stand behind the yellow line” the underground official on the platform yelled at Ian.

“Sweet Jesus he’s jumped” could be heard over the radios carried by his colleagues.

It is often said that people who jump in front of trains frequently  don’t die immediately. Rather they linger on in agony, sometimes for days before merciful death relieves them of their sufferings. Others do survive but with severe disabilities. In Ian’s case it was quick. The wheels of the train cut him in half. There was a moment of acute agony, a pearcing scream and then what had been the essence of Ian was snuffed out, forever.

An Act of Madness Part 2

Below is part 2 of my story, An Act of Madness. For part 1 please visit http://newauthoronline.com/2013/06/01/an-act-of-madness-part-1/.


Ian knew that he had a problem. For a long time he had convinced himself that he could control the fantasies. There was after all no harm in fantasising Ian told himself. Indeed if everyone was locked up due to what went on in the darkest recesses of their brain then half the population, perhaps three quarters would be behind bars.

Ian had for so long as he could recollect felt an attraction to young girls. This did not present a problem when, as a boy of 16 he fantasised about girls a year or so younger than him. However, as he grew older the fantasising intensified. As a man of 25 he found himself making excuses for taking public transport at times when he knew that the buses would be full of teenage girls on their way to or from school. He would sit on the bus pretending to read the paper while allowing his eyes to take in the school girls as they sat giggling with their friends. On reaching home he would dash into the toilet or his bedroom and masturbate while the images of the teenage girls remained fresh in his mind. After he had obtained his release the temporary feeling of elation would soon give way to one of utter self loathing.

“You fucking pervert, you should be locked up” he told himself.

For a while he managed to stop. At the times when he knew that the school buses would be full of young girls he stayed at home and attempted to read the paper or a book. It was no good, the words on the page made no sense, his mind was far away on the bus watching teen girls giggling with their friends or flirting with boys of their own age.

At first he saw the internet as a way of safely indulging his fantasies.

“I’m not harming anyone, they are only pictures. I’d never, ever, ever touch a child!” he reassured himself.

Initially he searched for “teen girls” and found mild stimulation in the pictures of nubile 18 and 19-year-olds in various states of undress or engaged in sexual activity. However bordom soon set in. “Teen girls” was soon replaced with “barely legal teens” and “underage sex”.

Every time he turned on the computer he felt his heart start to thump. The sense of breaking a taboo, of kicking against convention caused excitement to course through his body. Still, he reassured himself he was only looking. He would never harm a child. It was pure fantasy, where was the harm in that?

Then it happened. He was looking at a site displaying teens many of whom where clearly under 18-years-old when a pop-up advert directing him to a teen contact website appeared on screen.  Ian’s heart began to thump so loudly that he fancied that the people in the neighbouring flat could hear it. With sweating palms he clicked on the pop-up and was directed to a poorly designed webpage with a line of text

“For teen fun call –“.

There where no pictures, just the single line of text. Ian could feel his manhood stir.

“No this is so, so wrong, close the site, forget you ever saw it” the voice of conscience and common sense whispered.

Another voice chipped in

“What harm is there in calling? It will be an advert for 18 or 19-year-old hookers. Maybe you can have some safe legal fun with a teen girl. You can indulge your fantasies and scratch that itch once and for all”.

Ian reached for his mobile. Several times he started to dial only to delete the number and replace the phone in his pocket. Eventually he dialled and pressed the call button. The phone rang. On the second ring a man answered

“Yeah man?”

“I saw the advert and …” Ian trailed off not sure how to continue.

“You want some fun with a young girl?”

“Yeah, so long as she is legal”.

The man at the other end of the line snorted with laughter

“Sure man you and me both no the score. I’ve got a real cutie, very young with blue eyes and blond hair. Slim”.

“What do I need to do? I’ve never done this before” Ian said through his constricted throat.

“Its £400 for the girl. Wana come over?”

“Yeah” Ian managed to whisper. His mouth felt like sandpaper.

“Is this your number?”


“OK, I’ll text you the address”, with that the line went dead.

An Act of Madness (part 1)

He awoke to a thousand little imps banging their tiny hammers inside his skull. Tentatively he opened his eyes. The battered old chair on which he had flung his clothes the previous evening with such wild abandon swam into view. Cans of beer some still half full littered the threadbare carpet but it was the scent of sex, cheap perfume mixed with the sickly odour of rutting animals which made him lean over the side of the bed and vomit onto the filthy brown carpet.

The act of vomiting made him feel a little better. Slowly his mind cleared. He focused on the girl lying beside him. She lay her head resting on the filthy pillow, her right arm clutching a battered old teddy bear. The bear had been brown long ago but the years had turned it almost black. The sheet had fallen away leaving the girl’s body exposed. Her almost hairless vagina and barely formed breasts showed that she was in her early teens, 13 or 14 but no older.

“Christ what have I done?” the man said.

His words spoken out loud made the girl open her beautiful blue eyes.

“Please, please mister don’t hurt me again” she said clutching the bear protectively against her.

“I’m sorry” he mumbled attempting to put his arm around her in what was, he hoped a comforting manner.

“Please, no more” she pleaded her eyes swimming with tears.

Without another word the man got out of bed and flung on his clothes. As he reached the bedroom door he looked back one final time at the girl. She lay her head buried in that bear her shoulders shaking convulsively with deep sobs.

The man descended the rickety uncarpeted staircase, his feet seemed unnaturally loud to him in this silent place.

“God I need to get out” the man muttered as he descended the final stair.

“Enjoy yourself did you man?”

The man’s heart leapt into his mouth. He haden’t seen the Jamaican standing, in the shadows at the bottom of the stairwell.

“Little cutie isn’t she. Just turned 13. I told you that Jo could find you fresh young meat. I didn’t lie to you”.

“No she was lovely” the man said. He wished the Jamaican would step out of the way of the front door so that he could get the hell out of that stinking flea pit.

“OK man, remember Tom and the next time you want some fun give me a call”.

The man nodded and Tom stepped out of the way allowing him to open the front door and leave.