Tag Archives: Advocacy

Be Your Own Advocate!!

As little as 40 years ago, it was not considered out of the ordinary for a doctor to treat patients as “less than”, woman especially because we had a society that regarded marriage as ownership.  Their voices were ignored and they were treated as though they were mentally damaged and didn’t have the capacity to understand what they were being told, so the husband did the answering and the ordering.

One where the husband was the one making decisions for his wife, rather than what the woman wanted/needed for herself.  Going back a little further you had instructions on how to behave for your husband and how he may discipline you.  Believe it or not, spanking a wife was somewhat commonplace (and it had nothing to do with 50 Shades, for those wondering.)

My mother and my Great Aunt were both overlooked as their husbands were asked for a medical authorization.  Back then a husband could call the doctor and get test results, find out how their office visit went, etc and make decisions for his wife going forward without the slightest bit of input from the one receiving the care.

Another Great Aunt was taken by her husband (because she wasn’t “allowed” to drive, his rules) to the dentist’s office to get a filling in her tooth.  Her husband asked what condition the rest of them were in, then with that information told the dentist to remove all of her teeth and give her dentures because he didn’t want to be dumping a bunch of money on his wife’s dental care.

Can you imagine being in the dentists’ chair waiting for your tooth to be drilled, only for the doctor to come over and just started pulling her teeth!  She was 25 years old and had absolutely no say in the matter, her husband told him what to do and that was the end of the discussion.

That time is gone.  Thank the gods.

 

Woman With A 50-Pound Ovarian Cyst Was
Initially Told To Just Lose Weight!!

 

We also used to be a society where doctors weren’t questioned, much less second-guessed because he was seen as the demi-god of treatment and healing.  My grandmother wound up with chemical burns and needed skin grafting due to a definite case of malpractice …but you didn’t pursue that back then. (This was when the nurses still wore white.)  Frankly, if doctors were all that, there’d be no need for medical insurance.

Thankfully, now we encourage second opinions on major issues or procedures, and especially surgery.  You must be your own advocate, no one else will be.  Remember that you are not at the mercy of your doctor.  He works for you and you pay your premiums to the insurance company so they can pay for your assorted medical needs.

They work for you

I saw the article about this poor woman with the cyst and I flashed back to all those terrible stories.  And of course, if a woman appears to be overweight, then she just needs to get off her butt and do some exercise.  This is something that would have been seen on a simple office ultrasound, but no, she needed to go on a diet.  This woman knew something was wrong with her body, but the doctor dismissed it.

There’s a number of different things that can cause weight gain in a centralized area like that, but he didn’t bother to check for any of those either.  Hell, I have a cousin that was used to her weight fluctuating so she just wore bigger baggy clothes.  That is until she was in so much pain that she thought she would die and they ran her to the ER only to find out it wasn’t her appendix bursting, it was that her water needed to break since she was in active labor.  But the whole time she was being told that she needed to exercise more, that she was getting fat.

The next time you know that something’s wrong with your body and it’s a significant issue and your doctor blows you off, tell him that he needs to prove you wrong, he needs to run the test to see if there is an underlying cause and not just chalking it up to overeating and under-exercising.  You have to stand up for yourself, don’t let them “tell you”, have a conversation with them.  Ask them why they feel that their diagnosis is the best for describing your current health.  Ask if there are any tests that can be done that can confirm or rule out things so you’re not waiting until something gets really bad.

I’m looking at having surgery this fall, my best friend is coming down to go with me to the surgeon’s so he can be my extra eyes and ears.  If you’ve got a friend or relative willing to do that for you, great.  I also used to carry a 3-ring binder with test results and whatnot in it.

Even now I have a small notebook in my TN that I am writing in regularly.  Appointment times & dates, recap the appointment, then I add what comments or questions that I want to address with them on the next visit.  Talk to them as peers, not as a subordinate waiting for the crumbs they throw you.

Have a good day and take it easy.

Maggie ॐ 

 

 

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Spotlight on an Advocate

Below is a self-interview with Theresa Kent.  She is a dear friend and advocate for child abuse victims, specifically those who are abused, not by their parents, but by the homes they are removed to.

 

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1. Do you work or volunteer with any organizations? I am in my second year as a full-time volunteer with the SIA organization (Survivors of Institutional Abuse).

2. What is SIA? SIA stands for Survivors of Institutional Abuse and it is a nonprofit organization that was started in 2010, dedicated to empower and aid the healing of adults who have been subjected to abuse in private or government institutions, detention centers or foster care placements. (SIA-NOW.org)

3. What do you do for each organization? For the SIA organization, I have given speeches, appeared on Radio shows, given reporters interviews, participated in protests/demonstrations; anything to spread awareness. I write letters for students wanting to learn more about how to get involved in Civil Rights. I campaign; even sharing my own personal story to gain the trust of fellow survivors who have been through similar circumstances.
Sometimes I will post something provocative to get people talking on social media; I respect all points of view as I believe we can all learn from each other. I host forums every day where topics are uncomfortable and passion runs deep.

4. What changes are you trying to make? I have outlined a few specific changes I would like to see made.

  • I want every child to have access to a phone (abuse hotline). Even if allegations of abuse are false. Children should be provided with protection and oversight from people who abuse power and authority. Especially in the FREE WORLD.
  • I want an end to the statute of limitation on crimes like rape or physical abuse against children. If a perpetrator will abuse/neglect or rape a child, (innocent victim) they should be held accountable no matter how much time has passed.
  • Facilities should have to be honest about their credentials (i.e. Telling parents they provide counseling/ or calling a home a school… and not having a Licensed Therapist or Certified Teacher) Children should have a set standard for their education. (accreditation/able to transfer high schools/credits etc.)
  • No home/school should have to right to obtain legal custody of a minor. There should be some oversight to this. While I understand the need for foster in our world, I do not believe an institution has the best interest of a child. Guardian ad Litem (public/private partnership) should be in place. Training, background checks, oversight etc. Checks and balances.
  • All of the above are our Constitutional Rights as Citizens of These United States. Amendment 8 States: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Amendment 14 states: nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. THIS DOES NOT EXCLUDE CHILD CITIZENS!

5. What are you doing to improve human lives? Speaking out, bringing a voice to the voiceless. Children are subject to the adults in their lives. I am an online Children’s Rights Advocate/Activist. We don’t want to raise a generation of violent, cold, uneducated adults. It’s a matter of ALL society.

6. What inspired you to become an activist? I am a Survivor. As a youth, I was unable to voice my own opinion in an effective manner. I have overcome the Child Welfare System, foster care and multiple placements including independent, private boarding schools without oversight. I did not have access to an accredited education or even a telephone. In these facilities, I have had to defecate in a 5 gallon bucket. I was force-fed Caster Oil, to ‘cleanse’ me from the inside out. Sometimes it takes experience to recognize where there is need.

7. What are some of the things SIA has accomplished since you started advocating for them?

  • This year we are hosting our 3rd annual SIA Convention.
  • We have worked with the media to uncover abuse in homes and institutions.
  • One of the teen programs has been shut down due to our efforts (Lighthouse in Florida).
  • We have made ourselves and our plight known to politicians such as Congressman George Miller’s office, Senator Michael Padilla (New Mexico), as well as the office of the Mayor of New York City. ); Senator Carlucci’s office (D, NY) honored Jodi Helms (SIA Director and founder) with a proclamation on 5/1/2014.
  • We council and have a peer mentorship with several survivors, including a fashion show we hosted for said survivors.
  • SIA has an online published daily newspaper now.http://paper.li/SIAOrganization/1322045283
  • We have gained support from people all over the world. http://www.sia-now.org/resources/

8. Why do you believe that work you are doing is important? If you don’t stand for something, you could fall for anything. What’s more important than my children?

9. Where are you located? I currently live in the State of Ohio. I have given speeches aired in Hawaii, Washington D.C., Virginia and I work on-line out of my home during the early morning hours to spread awareness. I was in Florida and Ohio facility placements.

10. How many people do you work or volunteer with? Our efforts have reached thousands. It’s a network of all volunteers. Precious time is the most valuable commodity. I have a tight knit group of people I work with consistently from all over the country / world that consists of about 100 people. SIA has 1,320 members as of 5/1/14. More than 2,300 people were officially invited to the convention.

11. Do they share similar stories? Some do. Many do not. Most of the Survivors struggle with basic daily living. We rely on people who are not damaged by their experiences to come forward. As you can imagine, it triggers emotions and memories for the ones who have had to re-live/recall their experiences. Some are relatives of a Survivor, some are teachers, politicians, and we even have media personal, authors and film directors that have taken an interest to our movement.

12. Are all the members of SIA located in different parts of the country? Just like the homes that are scattered all over, we have many supporters affected all over the country with similar experiences or interests.

13. What would you tell someone else that is interested in becoming involved with SIA? Not only would I would tell them what a great group of people these guys are, I would advise them to do their research. These people have seen the ugliest in mankind and they have dedicated their lives to, society’s future. In many cases, the very society that turned their back on them when they were children. I would remind them that this is not happening in a vacuum and that there are numerous people coming forward and reaching out to each other. The advancement in social media has exposed too many people from all over the country, who never met, have the same story.

14. How does someone become involved with SIA? Thank you for asking. We have our main website where you can sign up to volunteer and/or donate: www.sia-now.org (That’s me holding up a banner on the front page, and my son sitting next to the founder/director Jodi Helm-Hobbs). Also, we have events all over the country. We are having our 3rd Annual SIA Convention this week 5/1-5/4/2014 and streamed online: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/3325796/events/2965522

15. What are some things that an individual can do to help this cause?
Grassroots efforts are they way movements happen. This organization has grown substantially over the last few years, through social media. If an individual wishes to help our cause, they can:

16. Where does the funding come from for the activities of SIA and Heal-Online? The founder and director of SIA, Jodi Helm-Hobbs, has sacrificed her own time and funds as well as hosted sponsored events and fundraisers. Donations play a very important role in this organization. We are a 501(c)(3) organization.

17. What are some of the projects you are working on now? We are hosting our 3rd annual SIA convention this week in NYC. A demonstration is scheduled to take place in Time Square (the media capital of the world) 5/3/14. Next year will be the 4th annual convention in California. More to come…

Is there anything you would like to say or add? 

I gave a speech in Washington DC last year that can be heard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37Ttji9C2SE for the SIA convention to help spread awareness.

I also have appeared on Congressman Runner up Mark Levine’s Radio show in Washington D.C. (Last interview)
http://marklevinetalk.com/stop-institutional-child-abuse/.

I was contacted by a former student on-line and asked to do an interview for a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. That’s how I started my own involvement and research in 2012. Please see this entire study that was done over a year. It’s a three part article.

My home was one listed at a 12 person capacity with 13 separate allegations of abuse and 6 founded.
http://www.livawards.org/pdf/2012/zayas.pdf
http://tampabay.com/faccca/

Alex Zayas, the reporter, linked me with the SIA organization and I learned things about the home, such as its licensing and how they move from state to state that I was wasn’t aware of.

After I faked an illness and had an operation to get out, I made a report against the home back in 1997 to The State of Florida’s Department of Children and Families as well as the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s office. I carried a great deal of guilt for the girls I left there when I escaped. I learned the home was closed… Until in 2012, the article from the Tampa Bay Times surface and revealed the girls were shipped out and sent to another Roloff home in Texas.

Many years have passed since my time in the homes. If I only knew how much the world would love me today. This is the information I give to the boys and girls I talk to everyday that are continuing to come out of these facilities. That’s what SIA is; family for the ones who were literally left behind.

Please do your own research. I encourage it. Education and knowledge is POWER. These things happened to me. They are still happening all over the United States today and our children are suffering.

Theresa KentTheresa Kent is a full-time mom to three beautiful boys, advocate and student in addition to her day job.  She is an amazing inspiration, a survivor and a woman I’m proud to call friend.  Thanks for reading about her story.  I hope she inspires you as much as she does me.  You can follow her on facebook or on Twitter @TheresaKent.
Despite the fact that less than 1% of foster kids graduate from college (even though all are offered free tuition), she is a 4 year graduate of Columbia College. Theresa carried a 3.86 GPA for her A.A. in General Studies and has made the Deans List 4 times.  She carries a B.A. in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing.