Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Peyton Randolph, — Marked for Death by the British for His Role in the Continental Congress–52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, #26


Peyton Randolph held so many leadership roles in Colonial America that his name appeared on a list obtained from the British of people to be captured and hung until dead! This was war after all, and Peyton Randolph was an outspoken leader! It has been said he was the real “Father of our country” and /or “the Father of the Revolution.”  When you study his life and accomplishments, you can’t help but be impressed and realize how blessed we were to have such  intelligent, proactive men in the colonies. 

Peyton Randolph was born about 1721 in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was the second son of John and Susannah Beverly Randolph. This placed him in one of the wealthiest, most powerful planter families in Virginia! His father died when he was only 16, but he was already focused on attending William and Mary College and becoming a lawyer. He went back to England for law school, and upon returning to Virginia in 1744, was asked by Governor William Gooch to be the attorney general for the colony. By 1746 he had married Elizabeth Harrison and by 1749, Peyton had served as a vestryman for Bruton Parish Church, a representative in the House of Burgesses, and a Justice of the Peace–I wonder if he realized he was just beginning his life’s work! 

In 1753, when Peyton was only 32 years old, he was hired as an attorney to represent the House of Burgesses! He was sent to England to basically ask the King to veto the Governor of Virginia–Gov. Robert Dinwiddie ‘s new practice of charging a “tax”- a fee  for certifying land patents.  Going over the governor’s head was unheard of! However, London officials supported Peyton and the Gov. rescinded his tax and reinstated Peyton to his office from which he’d been fired! Talk about fireworks! Do you think those English officials were really mad they had supported Peyton Randolph as he moved on to support the revolutionary movement?!

Always active in colony leadership, things really heated up in 1764. As colonists learned more,  they became infuriated by The Stamp Act and conflict with England and the crown itself became more overt. Peyton was directed by the Virginia House of Burgesses to draft a set of protests to the King and Parliament! In 1766, Peyton was elected Speaker of the House of Burgesses. In 1769, Peyton and Patrick Henry, who had disagreed before, came together to work on passing resolves against the Towshend Duties. The Governor –Gov. Botetourt, however, disagreed with them, and dissolved the House of Burgesses! According to an article written in the online resources of Colonial Williamsburg  re. Peyton Randolph,  “The “former representatives of the people,” as they called themselves, met the next day at the Raleigh Tavern with Speaker Peyton Randolph in the chair. They adopted a compact drafted by George Mason and introduced by George Washington against the importation of British goods. Speaker Randolph was the first to sign.”  Obviously the House of Burgesses was reconvened in the next few months, and the Townshend Duties were repealed  except for that on tea! By 1773, the colonists were all upset with England again over the Boston Tea Party and its continuing conflicts. In 1774 the House of Burgesses passed a resolution written by Thomas Jefferson that said, 

“This House, being deeply impressed with apprehension of the great dangers, to be derived to British America, from the hostile Invasion of the City of Boston, in our Sister Colony of Massachusetts bay, whose commerce and harbour are, on the first Day of June next, to be stopped by an Armed force, deem it highly necessary that the said first day of June be set apart, by the Members of this House, as a day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, devoutly to implore the divine interposition for averting the heavy Calamity which threatens destruction to our Civil Rights, and the Evils of civil War; to give us one heart and one Mind to firmly oppose, by all just and proper means, every injury to American Rights; and that the Minds of his Majesty and his parliament, may be inspired from above with Wisdom, Moderation, and Justice, to remove from the loyal People of America, all cause of danger, from a continued pursuit of Measure, pregnant with their ruin.” (Colonial Williamsburg ref. cited previously)

In response,  “Governor Dunmore summoned the House on May 26, 1774 and told them: “Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the House of Burgesses, I have in my hand a paper published by order of your House, conceived in such terms as reflect highly upon His Majesty and the Parliament of Great Britain, which makes it necessary for me to dissolve you; and you are accordingly dissolved.”  

Again, the burgesses gathered at Raleigh Tavern and the very next day at Peyton Randolph’s house.  They planned a Virginia Convention that would take place prior to the Continental Congress which their group had proposed just the day before! (If you’d like, you can see a newspaper article written about one of the meetings of the Virginia Conventions in my blog post on William Langhorne, my 5th great-grandfather who took part.) On September 5, 1774, Peyton Randolph was unanimously elected Chairman of the First Continental Congress in the colonies! From then on he was accompanied everywhere he went by voluntary armed militia! They had learned that there was a list  for the execution of “rebel leaders” which included Peyton Randolph. In the Continental Congress meetings, the leaders of the thirteen colonies, with Georgia not participating until late in the second congress, It became increasingly clear that the colonies needed to make a “Declaration of Independence” and form their own government! The United States Declaration of Independence was formally approved on July 4, 1776, a date we continue to  celebrate today! The Articles of Confederation weren’t passed until November 1777. The Revolutionary War is generally considered lasting from 1775-1783. The defeat of the British at Yorktown, Virginia, with the French helping the Americans capture over 7000 British soldiers, effectively ended the war. The Treaty of Paris officially ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States of America in 1783! (Another blog post re. Yorktown is: Nicholas Martiau, Ancestor of George Washington and My 9th Great Grandfather — 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks)

Peyton Randolph continued to lead and inspire in the third Virginia convention! Unfortunately, on October 23, 1775  on a Sunday evening, Peyton had a stroke and died immediately. While he was first buried at Christ’s Church in Philadelphia, in 1776 he was brought home to Williamsburg and his “remains interred in the family crypt in the Chapel at the College of William and Mary.” ibid. How sad that he died before Independence was gained after working so hard for it. However, he has truly gone down in history for his leadership and contributions. 

Peyton Randolph was my second cousin! Since learning about him , and researching so man y illustrious ancestors in our family’s past, I have looked at current  family members with different interest, analysis, and respect perhaps. The characteristics of strong opinions, leadership, activism, and outspokenness can be interpreted many ways. Historically, we look back and usually admire the men and women who were our leaders, especially the ones who took us in brave new directions. But in the midst of making history, many hard feelings are often created. Peyton’s brother John was a loyalist to the crown, so he ended up leaving his brother and moving back to England, disgusted with what he saw as his brother’s treasonous behavior–the results of which we are celebrating today! Currently in our country,  we have a huge split between conservatives and liberals about how to run our country. The anger and rhetoric are not unlike that expressed by the citizens of our country at the time of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the time of Civil Rights–especially the 1960’s.  Maybe there comes a point where people must take a stand, where there is no room to compromise. I don’t like to think that, but we all have different ideas about what is “right”. Peyton Randolph had his ideas, and he was willing to put his life on the line, and he did, to support his beliefs. What a wonderful week to remember this ancestor–the week of July 4th, 2014! 


Peyton Randolph (1721 – 1775)
is your 2nd cousin 6x removed
mother of Peyton Randolph
father of Susannah Beverley
father of Col Peter Beverley
daughter of Maj. Robert Beverley Sr.
son of Mary Beverley
daughter of Maurice Langhorne
son of Elizabeth Langhorne
son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne
daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne
daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse

This gallery contains 6 photos

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Life happens, even when you are hiding!

It’s hard to believe that it has been two months since I posted an entry on my blog! Many of you know that I let the events in Connecticut, the shooting in the elementary school, knock me for a loop! I was in the middle of a series of articles about angels, and the miracles they bring us, when this terrible tragedy occurred! I just couldn’t continue. I was sad, and I was angry. I know in my heart that angels exist, and I know they have saved me and my daughter, and several people I know. But…BUT…what about these adorable, innocent children, and of course, the incredible educators who sacrificed their lives trying to protect the children. Why  didn’t the angels protect them?! 

I know all the arguments–they’re in a better place–God called them home–bad things happen to good people. It doesn’t matter, I was sickened! I was angry at the angels and therefore felt I could not continue the angel stories, so I let myself be disheartened, and just stopped blogging for awhile. Christmas came and went, it was a nice respite from the grief since my family is still intact, is that terribly selfish? 

After Christmas, my grandchildren both got very ill with high fevers and a flu like illness. They got better, but both of their parents got sick! We were trying to travel out of state to see family, but all three times, we had to cancel! My other daughter Annie, who lives here at home also got sick, a full seven days of a flu like illness! Amazingly I didn’t get it, but my husband, who never gets these things did! He was sick for about ten days! Bronchitis the doctor finally said. Our daughter Ali got better, just in time to throw a family party for our one year old granddaughter, and during the party you could see her go downhill! 

By the end, Ali was feverish and sick, and a trip to the doctor the next day verified that she had relapsed into pneumonia! Then the baby got bronchiolus, then the five year old! Dad was not to be left out with a terrible cold and other symptoms! The whole family rallied to try to bring soup and help in any way we could. My sister had pneumonia also, and two of our red hatters! What a mess! 

Suddenly it was Valentine’s Day, and I had not been back to my blog! I missed it! I realized that I like writing about life, and that life was tough sometimes, even tragic…not that I didn’t already know this…but that it was also happy and fun! I needed to get back to nurturing the fun, highlighting the joy, while admitting the sad events as well. So, here we are my friends. I hope you will join me in this journey and share your fun and sad times through your comments. As you know, I love a group, a community!

What was your Christmas like? Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Mardi Gras? the Chinese New Year? I really want to know!  Hope to hear from you soon. Helen

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Tragic Deaths in Connecticut of Young Children and Educators, Where Were the Angels?

     Today in the United States, in a small northeastern state,Connecticut, a terrible event took place. A deranged gunman (he’d have to be deranged in my mind, to do what he did!) killed his mother at home, then apparently proceeded to the elementary school where she was a teacher, and shot and killed 20 children, ages 5 -10, and six adults! He then killed himself before the police could even get to him! 
       Like almost everyone I talked to, I was in shock at the horror of this–at the pain for these parents who sent their children off to school this morning never dreaming they’d seen and hugged them for the last time! 
      I found myself overwhelmed with emotion and had to turn off the television news at one point, afraid I would have a heart attack if I watched more! I cried, but nothing like those mothers, fathers, and siblings did I’m sure! But what surprised me was how angry I got! I was angry at the angels and God! I thought, “Where were you!?  Why didn’t you protect those children?!!  Here I am writing, advocating on your behalf, and now …do you exist or not?!  Good Lord, how could you have let this happen?”  The Lord will have to forgive me, well, I hope he will, because he designed me!  I was mad and I was taking it out on Him and the angels! 
    There was a selfish side to this, it certainly made my experiences look trite I thought, or maybe false, if these children, and others could be so brutally murdered at such a young age! 
    We all know that many people don’t believe in angels anyway. For that matter, many people don’t believe in God. I do, and I still do of course, but I dont’ understand! Not that we were meant to. We know God is awesome, that his abilities to create are so beyond our knowledge and even our ability to imagine! 
    In looking for help coping with my emotions, I did many things! I called my daughter and talked to my own five year old grandson. It was irrational, but I just had to know he and Katy,age one, were all right! Of course they were, and it helped calm me. I wished I could hug them. I talked to good friends and family, in the neighborhood, on facebook, and on the phone! Sharing relieved some of the stress and I began to regain my perspective.  But I knew the parents of the kids couldn’t do that so easily. I knew it would  be months, years even, before they regained any perspective probably. I wondered if I should continue posting the angel stories I believed in so much, and want to share with you. It seemed almost mean to say, my angel saved me, if the angels didn’t save those innocent little children! I’ve always thought it is wrong to say, “But for the grace of God, I would be dead from that car accident!” or whatever befalls us. If we are alive by the grace of God, then that implies that those who die in automobile accidents, fires, bombs, whatever, don’t receive the Grace of God! I do NOT believe that!  If the angels saved me and my daughter, why would they do that and not save those precious children!? Why? 

      I know lots of the reasons Christians, Jews, and other people of faith, explain tragedy. My first introduction to some of this thinking came about 1981 when Rabbi Harold Kushner first came out with his now famous book (and still available) When Bad Things Happen to Good People”.  That book was very influential for me at that time as I was searching. My mother had died recently, we had moved out of state, I had become an elder in my church, and as a counselor, I also led workshops among other things, for women seeking a stronger relationship with God through prayer. Some people say God sends us to fulfill a certain role in this world, to be the homeless drunk sitting on the corner, to be the child who dies young. The idea is that it is supposed to teach the rest of us a lesson in sympathy, charity, protectiveness…who knows?  Some experts even say that we volunteer to serve God by accepting these tragic roles, we just forget during the birthing process. That’s actually a pretty  interesting concept to put some thought and study into.  
    There is another common “expert” concept that I have often read, and that is that at the moment of impact, the moment we die, we do not feel pain. I have read time and time again that our soul, our life energy, is immediately surrounded by white light, and angels of such intense and pure love, that we cannot imagine. On a day like today, that is at least a little comforting. If you have ever read The Shack by William Paul Young, you know the all encompassing love I’m talking about! I had never felt so loved as I did by my angels and God when I finished reading that book! 

      On facebook today, a police officer from Memphis, Tennessee posted a very  interesting poster and comment. He told us that his coworker, a woman police officer, died this morning also, violently, about an hour before the children. He said she was a nurturing soul, and he  wondered if she’d been called home to
be there for the children, to welcome them, to hug them, and to help them feel safe.Wow, that’s pretty powerful stuff!                 
 Who knows, only God.
     As great as all of these ideas are, and I do believe they, or parts of each, are true,  but most scientists would not believe! They want proof! Who can prove an intanagible belief? No one, but you know what? That no longer bothers me. For I believe, I have faith beyond measure, and I know what I experience is true. I just don’t know why it doesn’t happen to everyone! And it pains me–my heart aches for all the children and the adults killed today! When I get to heaven, I’m going to ask God,”why”, first thing!  (I talk a good story, I’m sure I’d be quaking in my boots, all meek and mild, at first!)
     What am I saying? Only that today has been a tragic day in the United States! I am so glad to see our President Obama  trying to bring the country together to console these families. Nothing and no one can help them tonight of course, but he helped me, and I am thankful.  Have I lost my faith in God, heaven’s no!  Have I lost my faith in angels, not even that, although it shook and quaked this morning!  I do not understand, but I am not meant to, we live in God’s design, according to His plan. I am a living example of that myself. Doctors at Duke University Medical Center said I could not live more than 5 years or so with the condition of my heart. It will have been 14 years soon! God’s time, God’s plan. Do you believe it? I’d like to know. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.



A New Beginning

So, we made it, we survived! Is that all we want? Of course not, not for most of us. We want the life we were denied as a child! We want and need to rewrite the stories of our lives!
      I  suspect I’ve been doing that since I was about 18, and went off to college.  I decided right as I arrived for my  freshman year, that unlike  the “responsible leader” I’d been in high school, that all the adults loved, that it was time to just be me, to figure out who and what that was! And to have some fun…fun you hear!   I decided not to join anything, not to hold any offices, just to “BE” , whatever that meant!   It soon meant dating, laughing with girlfriends in the dorm, sleeping through- and subsequently dropping classes to avoid failing them!  I was a mess. But I worked two jobs, and didn’t bother my folks, sometimes I think they forgot all about me, that was fine with me, I was busy. It was the 60’s , a time of unrest, civil rights, the Vietnam war. I was a flower child wanna be. I dressed the part, bell bottoms, leather fringe vest and hat! LOL Sometimes it would be a peasant skirt and

   I learned to play the guitar, and let Peter , Paul, and Mary, and Sweet Baby James Taylor speak to my soul!   At night, my roommate and I would listen to “The Sea” by  Rod  McKuen.   
By day, I read the Prophet, and made friends with other concerned citizens of the world.

We marched in protest, and sang songs of peace and harmony like, “All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance”.  Amazingly I didn’t get into drugs, it was such a part of the culture. But I was scared to give up that control of myself, I was enjoying being in charge for the first time!
        I even enjoyed my many jobs! Working in the cafeteria and flirting with my table full of boys was fun and I didn’t spill too much on them!  In those days, we had to go early and set the tables with white cloths , plates,  and silverware! Dinner was family style, so here I was carrying a huge tray full of bowls of steaming food across the cafeteria to this table of six guys! The six girls I had at the next table obviously didn’t count as much!  The boys weren’t my kind of guys either, they were the cool, slick, popular guys. But we became friends. At the end of the year, when we left our little families behind, they presented me with a golden spoon of appreciation–one they had swiped from the cafeteria and spray painted gold! LOL 

          By the end of my sophomore year, I learned I wouldn’t be allowed back in the Fall, that basically I had flunked out, I did not have enough quality points to go on! I found out from another student, a guy who knew me well, who was in the same fix!  I remember we were standing in line outside the registrar’s office, in the old “Main” building built in 1838, where I had slept as a freshman, when Mike said , “so you coming to summer school with me?”   Ah, “no, I guess not. My folks are actually on the way to pick me up, and I’ve got a job all lined up to start Monday!”    Mike looked at me, his mouth dropped open, and he said ,  “you’re leaving us?!”  I said with a laugh, “well, I’ll be back in September.”   And that rat…he burst my bubble by saying, “I don’t think so. I think you won’t be allowed back in if you don’t come to summer school and make 2  “A”s. He said he knew that was true, because we were in the same classes and had made the same grades and that was true for him also!   I was like…”No, I don’t think so, I’m not in that much trouble.”  Total oblivion!  But, just in case, I took myself up to the kindly registrar, and asked her to check my “quality points” whatever they were, and see if I was required to come to summer school if I wanted to return in the Fall !?  She slowly perused my  records, took a deep breath, and softly said “I’m sorry but that’s true…and you ‘d have to come both semesters and make 3 A’s and one B at the least! Your chances don’t look good young lady.”


Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it, I’d been playing around for two years, having a good ole time, and now I was going to flunk out! I certainly didn’t have the money for summer school, my Mom and Dad were on the way to get me, I was all packed, the room was clean, I had just turned in my key!  Full blown panic set in, and my parents walked in just as I lost it in a pile of hysteria!   I’m sure neither of them had ever seen me cry like that, I doubt I’d experienced it. I knew Dad would kill me when he found out, not because he wanted me in college, but mad that he’d come 3 1/2 hours to get me and I didn’t want to come home!  Mom would be so disappointed and embarrassed! What had I done! What would I do? So I just cried , hysterically!   I heard my Dad ask my Mom, “what in the hell is going on? Is she pregnant or something?!  I could have smacked him!  That was so “not me”.   He left, and I finally got to tell Mom, who wasn’t sick yet by the way, (that happened my Junior year.)  Oops, I spilled the beans! Yes Virginia, there was a  Junior year! But my totally playful days were over!  One of my Aunts who I was very close with, loaned me the money to go to summer school. Scratching their heads, my folks left, Dad amazingly quiet. I was shocked, and happy to see them gone! Whew!  But I knew I had to study! And I did, and I wrote papers, and so forth and so on! And I got straight “A”s just to prove I could! 

   That summer, I actually translated one of my favorite songs, “Yesterday , When We Were Young” into French, and sang and played it on the guitar for my class project!  Now that was beyond even my beliefs. My French teacher had me in her class for three years, she’d never seen such initiative. Perhaps I was more used to having a “gun to my head” then I knew, to make me perform.  My professors were shocked at the tests I took and the papers I wrote! It was a small school,  500 students total, so they all knew me.  What they didn’t know was that I really could think if I had to! LOL  I did all that while coming down with and suffering with  mononucleosis at the same time! I was sick as a dog. Which was probably a good thing. I’d drag myself to class, then crash back in bed, read and write, and sleep! The summer passed in a total haze of fever, depression, and writing! I was all alone in a two bedroom suite while my other three roommates were home swimming I imagined. I knew my own roommate was working as a camp counselor up in New Hampshire, where she had the fifth freedom! The freedom to go nude!  Every fall, when this religion major, all A student, came back to school, I, Helen, had to civilize her! LOL 
     The nurse was worried about my being so sick, and alone, and she brought me meals and drinks at the worst of it! Can you believe it! Only in a small, formerly all girls school!   And of course I survived, and thrived …again!
        I wish  I could tell you I kept those stellar grades up, but no.  I did better, but I was still having too much fun to be too serious about school. I did manage a solid B average those last two years. My roommate would get so mad at me, because she would work all along, study hard and yes, she got all “A”s.  I would work and play, and  then stay up all night reading and cramming for a test the next day, get an A on it, just in time to make up for my irregular attendance.  I had friends coaching me, making me exercise, the old song…”i get by with a little help from my friends” keeps running through my head ! 
       Like I said, I worked in the cafeteria, or the soda fountain in the student center, and off campus at the federal building answering the phone and making friends there too! One semester I lived off campus with a family who had a daughter my age, who had cerebral palsy, and was wheelchair bound. In return for caring for her in the bath and getting her in and out of bed, I received room and board and a scholarship to school.  She and I had a lot of fun together, going to events together, and playing. But riding the bus back and forth to school was for the birds, I was always missing them. So I learned to go to the day students parking lot where there were drivers with cars, and beg for rides.  I ended up dating several of the boys who gave me rides! It was a good way to make friends!  LOL As much as I loved my new friend, I missed living on campus with all my friends. So, back I went to the dorms the next Fall.
        At the end of my Junior year, one of my best friends from another college nearby thanked me for being such a steady friend with a gift of James Taylor’s and Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend”.     


 I had a work-study scholarship, so I made it. My senior year I met the man I’ve now been married to for almost 41 years! Its hard to believe!  After college I started teaching and had to act all grown up. I dealt with Mom and Dad again, and at 28 to 30 went to graduate school in clinical psychology, and made all “A”s. Having one child as well…it seems that I’d somehow grown up. Another child, a serious job with some seriously ill schizophrenics, bipolar, and abusive people; and volunteering at school and at church as well as having a  live- in disabled grandparent, my husband’s Dad, kept us so busy, and the years just flew by! Before I knew it, I had followed in my Mom’s footsteps and was disabled with heart disease at age 50!  I should have kept swimming, and kept strumming that guitar !  I wonder if life would have been any different, we’ll never know. But I had been too depressed, too responsible, and along came the Royal Red Divas to save me and let me play some more! No wonder I love them so! Besides being great women, we encourage each other to  laugh and get back in touch with that inner child who’s been buried under responsibility for a long time.
      I wish everybody could have something similar, especially my sweet, but hard working husband, who’s been my caretaker also for almost 13 years now! Good grief! Poor guy! He says I’m worth it, I think he’s amazing myself!   He even dedicated a song to me for our anniversary, it’s called “Lady Soul” and he says I’m his lady soul!  Now that will get him a kiss!


      I am having so much fun taking this musical stroll down memory lane!  There are so many songs I loved over the years, I could never include the smallest percentage of them!  The kids came along and we had so much fun singing children’s songs that I had learned at day camp as a youngster!  My favorite lullaby was  “Hush Little Baby” because one of our cousins , Mary Stuart Houchins  who was a soap opera star on Search for Tomorrow, recorded it .  I had loved it since I was 7 or 8. 
I sang it to both babies, Ali and Annie . Later I sang it to my grandchildren.

           Liam likes to ride around the neighborhood with me, perched on the arm of my power wheelchair, while we sing at the tops of our voices “Zippity Doo Dah Zippidi ay, my oh my , it’s a beautiful day!” They have brought pure joy into my life, the dark chapters , the abusive ones have faded into the far background.

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How Can We Help Prevent Child Abuse?

How do I prevent child abuse in my own home, and help others do the same?!

I found the website below while researching child abuse, and thought I’d share it with you. Its exactly what I’d like to say to any concerned person, so I decided to quote them for your information. Hope you enjoy, and feel you can get help if you need it. I will put a list of local and national help numbers on the next post. Perhaps  you can print them out and keep them in a private place so you know what to do.  Wishing you the best that life has to offer, which is a lot better than abuse!

Helen Holshouser



You Can Help !!

You Have What it needs to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect if you may:

1) Volunteer little of your time and money: Get involved with organizations working to prevent child abuse. Try to support families with emotional or financial problems. You can do more than what you think you could. You can make a change in the right direction.

2) Discipline your children thoughtfully: Never discipline your child when you are upset. Give yourself time to calm down.

Let’s remember that discipline is meant to teach a child and not a way of revenge.

Use privileges to encourage good behavior and time-outs to help your child regain control.

3) Examine your behavior: Abuse is not just physical. Both words and actions could inflict deep, lasting mental wounds.

Be a nurturing parent. Use your actions to show children and other adults that conflicts can be settled without hitting or yelling and that effective talking and listening can make a difference.

4) Educate yourself and others: Help educate others in your community about Child Abuse and Neglect.

Simple support for children and parents can be the best way to prevent Child Abuse.

After-school activities, parent education classes, mentoring programs, and respite care are some of the many ways to keep children safe from harm. Be a voice in support of these efforts in your community. Remember, any small effort can make a step towards the right way.

5)Teach children their rights: When children are taught they are special and have the right to be safe, they are less likely to think abuse is their fault, and more likely to report an offender. Encourage you children to view the www.be-free.info site. It contains helpful information.

6) Support prevention programs: Too often, intervention occurs only after abuse is reported.

Parent education, community centers, respite care services, and abuse treatment programs help to protect children by addressing circumstances that places families at risk for Child Abuse and Neglect.

7) Know what Child Abuse is: Child Abuse and Neglect takes more than one form. There are four main types of child maltreatment: physical abuse, physical or emotional neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Often more than one type of abuse or neglect occurs within families. Some types of maltreatment, such as emotional abuse, are much harder to substantiate than others like is the case with physical abuse.

Children can also be emotionally abused when they are rejected, berated, or continuously isolated. Refer to description of child abuse in this site.

8) Know the signs: Unexplained injuries aren’t the only signs of abuse.

Fear of a certain adult, difficulty trusting others or making friends, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene, secrecy, and hostility are often signs of family problems and may indicate a child is being neglected or physically, sexually, or emotionally abused.

9) Understand the causes: Most parents don’t hurt or neglect their children intentionally. Many were themselves abused or neglected. Very young or inexperienced parents might not know how to take care of their babies or what they can reasonably expect from children at different stages of development. Circumstances that places families under extraordinary stress—for instance, poverty, divorce, sickness, disability—sometimes take their toll in child maltreatment. Parents who abuse alcohol or other drugs are more likely to abuse or neglect their children.

Report Abuse: If you witness a child being harmed or see evidence of Abuse, or if a child tells you about abuse, make a report to the proper authorities in your country.

When talking to a child about Abuse, listen carefully, assure the child that he or she did the right thing by telling an adult, and affirm that he or she is not responsible for what happened.

11) Invest in Kids. Encourage leaders in the community to be supportive of children and families.

Ask employers to provide family-friendly work environments. Ask your local and national lawmakers to support legislation to better protect our children and to improve their lives.

12) Strengthen the fabric of your community: Know your neighbors’ names and the names of their children, and make sure they know yours. Give stressed parents a break by offering to watch their children. Volunteer. If you like interacting with children, great, but you do not have to volunteer directly with kids to contribute to prevention. All activities that strengthen communities, such as service to civic clubs and participation on boards and committees, ultimately contribute to the well-being of children.

Give your used clothing, furniture and toys for use to poor families. This can help relieve the stress of financial burdens that parents sometimes take out on their kids.

13) Be ready in an emergency: We’ve all have heard about the screaming-child-in-the-supermarket in UK whom was killed by another 2 children. Most parents take the typical tantrum in stride. But what if you witness the scene in the supermarket or anywhere else would you believe a child is being, or is about to be, physically or verbally abused? Responding in these circumstances technically moves beyond prevention to intervention, and intervention is best handled by professionals. Still, if you find yourself in a situation where you believe a child is being or will be abused at that moment, there are steps you can take. Bellow are examples of what you can do:

Talk to the adult to get their attention away from the child. Be friendly.

Say something like, “Children can really wear you out, can’t they?” or “My child has done the same thing.”

Ask if you could help in any way—could you carry some packages? Play with an older child so the baby can be fed or changed? Call someone on your cell phone?

If you see a child alone in a public place—for example, unattended in a grocery cart—stay if you can with the child until the parent returns.

 Finally—and most important if you are a parent—remember that prevention, like most positive things, begins at home. Take time to re-evaluate your parenting skills. Be honest with yourself—are you yelling at your children a lot or hitting them? Do you enjoy being a parent at least most of the time? If you could benefit from some help with parenting, seek it—getting help when you need it is an essential part of being a good parent. Talk to a professional that you trust; take a parenting class; read a book about child development.


Retrieved from

The Be-Free Team. 2012. You Can Help. 

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Staying Safe While Preparing to Leave the Abusive Situation


This is an excellent resource for legal information regarding Domestic Violence. I am reprinting one of the pages from  this  website so that you can see the important messages they have for you to consider. I highly recommend this resource. The url is given again at the end of this post.   Helen

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

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Staying Safe

·         UPDATED April 26, 2011


Getting Ready to Leave


No one deserves to be abused. If you are in an abusive relationship, and you feel that you are ready to leave the abuser, here are some tips to help keep you as safe as possible when preparing to leave.

Following these suggestions (often known as a safety plan) can’t guarantee your safety, but it could help make you safer. However, it is important that you create a safety plan that is right for you. Not all of these suggestions will work for everyone, and some could even place you in greater danger. You have to do what you think is best to keep yourself and your children safe.

·         Getting ready to leave
·         After you’ve left

                                       Getting ready to leave

·         Make a plan for how you are going to leave, including where you’re going to go, and how to cover your tracks. Make one plan for if you have time to prepare to leave the home. Make another plan for if you have to leave the home in a hurry.

·         If you can, keep any evidence of the physical abuse and take it with you when you leave. Make sure to keep this evidence in a safe place that the abuser will not find – this may mean that you have to keep it in a locked drawer at work or with a trusted family member. If the abuser finds it, you could be in more danger. Such evidence of physical abuse might include:

·     Pictures you have pictures of bruises or other injuries. If possible, try to have these pictures dated;

·     Torn or bloody clothing;

·     Household objects that the abuser damaged or broke during a violent episode;

·     Pictures that show your home destroyed or messed up after violence happened;

·     Any records you have from doctors or the police that document the abuse;

·     Whenever you are hurt, go to a doctor or to an emergency room as soon as possible if you can. Tell them what happened. Ask them to make a record of your visit and of what happened to you. Be sure to get a copy of the record.

·     A journal that you may have kept with details about the abuse, which could help prove the abuse in court.

·     Anything else you think could help show that you’ve been abused.

·         Get a bag together that you can easily grab when you leave. Some things to include in the bag are:

·     Spare car keys;

·     Your driver’s license;

·     A list of your credit cards so that you can track any activity on them;

·     Your checkbook;

·     Money;

·     Phone numbers for friends, relatives, doctors, schools, taxi services, and your local domestic violence organization;

·     A change of clothing for you and your children;

·     Any medication that you or your children usually take;

·     Copies of your children’s birth certificates, social security cards, school records and immunizations;

·     Copies of legal documents for you and the abuser, such as social security cards, passports, green cards, medical records, insurance information, birth certificates, marriage license, wills, welfare identification information and copies of any court orders (such as your protection order or custody order);

·     Copies of financial documents for you and the abuser, such as pay stubs, bank account information, a list of credit cards you hold by yourself or together with the abuser;

·     Any evidence you’ve been collecting to show that you’ve been abused; and

·     A few things you want to keep, like photographs, jewelry or other personal items.

·         Hide this bag somewhere the abuser will not find it. Try to keep it at a trusted friend or neighbor’s house. Avoid using next-door neighbors, close family members, or mutual friends, as the abuser might be more likely to find it there. If you’re in an emergency and need to get out right away, don’t worry about gathering these things. While they’re helpful to have, getting out safely should come first.

·         Hide an extra set of car keys in a place you can get to easily in case the abuser takes the car keys to prevent you from leaving.

·         Try to set money aside. If the abuser controls the household money, this might mean that you can only save a few dollars per week; the most important thing is that you save whatever amount you can that will not tip off the abuser and put you in further danger. You can ask trusted friends or family members to hold money for you so that the abuser cannot find it and/or use it.

·         If you are not employed, try to get job skills by taking classes at a community college or a vocational school if you can. This will help you to get a job either before or after you leave so that you won’t need to be financially dependent on the abuser.

·         Getting a protective order can be an important part of a safety plan when preparing to leave. Even if you get a protective order, you should still take other safety planning steps to keep yourself and your children safe. A legal protective order is not always enough to keep you safe. Locate your state in our Know the Laws section to find out more information about getting a protective order.

·         Leave when the abuser will least expect it. This will give you more time to get away before the abuser realizes that you are gone.

·         If you have time to call the police before leaving, you can ask the police to escort you out of the house as you leave. You can also ask them to be “on call” while you’re leaving, in case you need help.





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Taking your children with you

·         If you plan on taking your children with you when you leave, it is generally best to talk to a lawyer who specializes in domestic violence and custody issues beforehand to make sure that you are not in danger of violating any court custody order you may have or any criminal parental kidnapping laws. This is especially true if you want to leave the state with the children. Read more about this under the Parental Kidnapping section of our website and/or go to our Finding a Lawyer page for a list of free and paid legal services.

·         If you are considering leaving without your children, please talk to a lawyer who specializes in custody before doing this. Leaving your children with an abuser may negatively affect your chances of getting custody of them in court later on. Go to our Finding a Lawyer page for a list of free and paid legal services.


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After you’ve left

If you are fleeing to a confidential location and you fear that the abuser will come look for you, you might want to create a false trail AFTER you leave.

·         You could call motels, real estate agencies, schools etc. in a town at least six hours away from where you plan to go.

·         Ask them questions that will require them to call you back. Give them your old phone number (the number at the home you shared with the abuser, not the number to the place you are going).

However, do NOT make these phone calls before you leave. If anyone calls you back while you are still with the abuser, or if the abuser is able to check your phone to see what numbers you have called, the abuser would be tipped off that you are preparing to leave, which could put you in great danger.

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© 2008 National Network to End Domestic Violence, Inc. All rights reserved.



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What Should I Do if I am Attacked, Slapped, Punched, or if my Child is?

What should I do if I am attacked, slapped, punched, or if my child is?

Call 911, don’t talk yourself out of it saying you don’t want to hurt your husband, wife, or partner, ruin his reputation, or embarrass your children! If you are scared, trust yourself!  Leave, protect yourself and your children!


Hi, this is Helen talking. If you feel you or your children are in danger, leave the house if you can, and go to a neighbor’s or a friends or family members and call the police. If needed scream, take your children and run, whatever it takes to be safe.

When someone is out of control, angry, is not the time to try to reason with them, just leave if you can. Think about it ahead of time if possible, like right now.
 What if…
You got yourself one of those remote car starters that had an alarm on it! They make your car horn honk, the lights flash, and a loud alarm sound. It will surely make someone call the police. If it costs too much for you, try to find a way to raise or borrow the money—your own and your child’s life just might depend on it! Dealerships can order them.

Don’t hesitate, just grab your kids and leave. Don’t talk, you can explain later. Think how to be safe. Shelters and those kinds of  places will help you rebuild your life. Better to have a life, than your child’s Wii system, they’ll be sad, but alive!

If you have no car, or can’t ever afford the remote key fob to set off an alarm, there are many less expensive things out there. There are stun guns, pepper gels sprays, steel batons, back up cell phones for when he grabs and destroys yours, and even personal alarms you can carry or wear. There are gadgets that hang around your neck and are alarms, easy to set off. You  can go to the library and do a search, search Google or Yahoo for “Self Protection”.  One  web address I found where you can order self protection items is http://www.tbotech.com When you make a purchase, consider  having them sent somewhere else so that your husband/wife won’t know you ordered them. Once they come however, you must keep them with you at all times, on you, or within reach.