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Not Safe in Your Own Home: Book Review

A True Story of Child Abuse
(Photo by Carla St. Rose- Rein)

When a child is trapped in her mother's home, there is no escape from a sexual predator! Carla St. Rose-Rein remembers how she lived in fear of her mother's boy friends and second husband from the time she was 12 through the age of 18. "I suddenly awakened to see his hand was inside my panties."

At 50, Carla now appears on the radio, television, and at seminars to awaken the public and send a message to child molesters. Hoping to help others by discussing her traumatic experiences, she warns single mothers to be aware and watch for signs of trouble. Many predators target single mothers because the women are busy taking care of their children and need to feel they are still attractive and wanted.

Carla feels, "It is easier not to believe the child. The single mother finally found a man and suddenly there is a problem because of the kid. What do you expect if you confront the molester? Of course, he is going to say no. Some men need to be around children. They always say, "This is the first time." Like today is the day they all decided they would cross the line. The opportunity presented itself.

Molestation does not take a long time. If mom makes a 15 minute run to the grocery, that is enough time. If he tells the mother, "Take a shower, I will watch the kids. That is enough time. People do not understand, it does not take hours. Nobody thinks it could happen. Not in my family! How many times does it have to happen for a parent to get the message? Parents must not expose their children to this situation, they must protect the child. When I told my mother, she decided to wait until Friday to get his pay check before asking him to leave. What am I to do between now and Friday?"

Carla St. Rose-Rein's brilliantly written book, "Land of Broken Toys", is a shocking look at her life. The name is a metaphor for all that is broken in the life of a child once physical and sexual abuse starts to happen. Carla's writing style moves like a novel, as we meet her family and watch Carla face situations that should never happen to children. She warns, "We have to pay attention to male relatives. The way the family close ranks on their relatives to protect them and refuse to believe the child. They do not want to deal with uncle Charlie. He may be the breadwinner of the family. Kids become disposable. Unfortunately, the child has to figure out how to survive this frightening situation.

I did not know what was going on but felt instantly uncomfortable and knew it was wrong. He offered me a dollar if I would not say anything. It was repugnant even at 12. Mother's boy friends were usually around 6', 280 pounds. I was 90 pounds soaking wet. How can a child fight a big man like that? It was a physical impossibility. The next day the same scenario. He waited for everyone to leave the house. He eased off for a moment and I bolted out the door running to our neighbor's home. Later my mother slapped me and said, "How dare I let the neighborhood know what is happening in our home!"

Carla had no place to go. Her mother's violent beatings left Carla with eyes swollen shut, swollen lips, cuts, and bruises over her body. Carla says, "Anger is a dangerous thing to have around the house. My mother did not have the ability to control her temper all the time. Today we might say she was bipolar or suffered from a chemical imbalance. In the 60's, my teachers and school counselors ignored all of these signs of physical abuse.

If I went to school today with all of the black and blue marks, my mother would have been sent to jail. When you see physical abuse today you inquire what is going on? People did not want to get involved back then. Nobody said, "Carla what happened?" With time I tried to understand why people did that. When you find a dog, you treat it with more respect and dignity I got those days. It made me feel alone and very angry.

I was convinced that the world was filled with insensitive, uncaring, thoughtless people. My attitudes were set for the next few years. People did not care about me. Children are not empowered to say anything. We now have laws on the books today, but children still understand they need their mom and dad. They do not want to rock the boat and be responsible for fragmenting the family. Consider the actions that you take as a parent and the long term repercussions on the children.

What type of human being are you helping to create and release on society. If I went left instead of right in certain instances, I could have been sitting in a prison cell with the level of rage I walked around with. It does not take a lot for a person with that much inside her to snap to find somebody they can unload it all on. Behavioral problems are the first sign in children. The early part of my life, I was belligerent and angry all the time. A child can not act out anger against their mother, but can transfer hostile feelings to others. Over time I realized I did not want to live like that, did not want my relationships destroyed because of anger. I had to work very hard not to become like my mother.

With all of these predators in the home, there is another group who are afraid of the recent laws. They are hopping planes and going to places like Cambodia to sleep with 4- 5- 6- 7 year olds. For $20, he could be with three children. Most predators do not see the people they are victimizing as a person. If a little child cries and says, "You are hurting me," and the man continues to molest the child, he has dehumanized her. She can not be human to you if you could do that to her. It causes her pain.

This is more of a serious problem than we realize globally and has far-reaching repercussions as a society. Many of these children who are molested today will grow up and become child molesters tomorrow. Pedophiles are as varied as there are many different types of men. You may have watched "To catch a Predator" on television, where someone pretends to be a young child. It is the priest, doctors, bankers, and men from all social classes in these situations. Each perpetrator is different, some of them may even kill the child if he is threatened with arrest."

Although all of those men hurt Carla, can she trust men now? Carla is happily married, "God brought a wonderful human being in my path, a man who is as close to being a pure soul that we can get. A human being who is not demanding and understands dealing with somebody who has a problem with broken trust.

He showed me, he can be trusted, I need not fear." They own a photography business specializing in weddings and portraits. Her life shows women that they can overcome their experiences and look forward to their future. The "Land of Broken Toys" is available at book stores or online at Amazon.