When I was a child, our father sexually abused me. I was afraid. I was afraid of what he would do if I told. I was afraid of what would happen to me if I told. I thought telling was a death sentence. I also thought that I was the last and only one he had done anything to. I never saw a reason to bring it up, because really, who wants more drama? Everytime it was his weekend, or it was his visitation time during the summer, I was stuck. Why make an already hard and scary situation even worse? I didn’t understand the purpose or the beauty of telling my story, until it was too late.
When Skye was about three years old, she disclosed to me that our father was sexually touching her “kiki” (private parts) and digging his elbows into her back. She said “daddy hurt me”. I asked her if she wanted to see Daddy again and she said “No. Daddy mean.” I was in complete and utter shock. I wasn’t the only one. I had been lying to myself for fifteen years.
When Skye told me what happened to her I knew I had to say something. I have always loved the Albert Einstein quote that went “the world is an evil place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do NOTHING.” How could I tell my sister I loved her, if I wasn’t willing to stand up and protect her from the same childhood I had experienced? How could I look her in the eyes and tell her that everything was going to be OK, when I knew from my own experience that it wasn’t? How could I be a role model for her if I didn’t speak out and fight for what is right? I couldn’t do any of these things, that I whole heartedly wanted to do for Skye, if I didn’t speak out. I knew that speaking out would cost me. I would lose my “relationship” with my biological father. That was hard because he had drilled in my head “blood is thicker than water” it was dishonorable in his eyes to go against family, even if it’s the right thing to do. I would lose the entire Crowe family. They would all side with him, like they always did. They would turn their backs on me, without a second thought. I would have to face what happened to me. I would have to face every feeling & every memory head on. I knew that eventually I would have to testify in court and face my abuser, and tell him what he had done to me and let him know that I no longer was going to protect him and keep his dirty little secret.
I got my opportunity to tell my story almost immediately. We had an investigator working on our case and he came to talk to me to “gather information”, which was just another way of finding out if I was keeping a secret. We went to Carrows Diner and sat in the corner booth by the window. I was so nervous, and all of this was so surreal, I felt like I was in the middle of a movie set…waiting for someone to yell “and thats a wrap!” Nobody did, so I pressed on. From here on out we will call the investigator “Joe” and his assistant “Jane”.
Joe and Jane introduced themselves, caught me up to speed on what they were doing, and what they were trying to do. They assured me that they were on my side, and that I was in a “safe zone” and could tell them anything and everything. I felt a peace about it, and I liked Joe right away. He looked tough on the outside, but you could tell his heart was in the right place. He was there to help. It was one of those days in life that you will never forget. Joe and Jane sat across from me at the booth. He would consistantly be looking over his shoulder and scan the area to make sure nobody was there. I sat there shaking, took a deep breath, and told them that my biological father had in fact sexually abused me as a child. I also relayed memories of physical abuse, as well as the countless times and ways he mentally and emotionally abused me.
After I had told them everything, every small little detail I could remember, I felt a sense of freedom. I was on my way to breaking all the chains that connected me to my abuser.
About a month later we were due in court. I had been subpoenad to testify and I was a surprise no one was expecting to see in court that day. I’ll never forget the look on my fathers face when he was told that I was to testify that day. I saw shock and fear and anger rise up in less than a second. He immediately found me in the hallway and dod everything he could to try and groom me into falling for his lies again. “Presley, Daddy’s here…Everything’s going to be OK, Presley….I love you Presley…” Thankfully, I had a wonderful support system with me that day who blocked him and I was able to attempt to regain composure. Once my “blockade” was up, the anger came out. He angrily said that “you can’t keep me away from my daughter!!” We all thought to ourselves, “that’s exactly what we are going to do.” When a father manipulates, abuses, and destroys the innocence and life of a little girl he has NO RIGHT to any part of her or her life. That day in court was full of drama, because at the time I was a minor, and they were trying to decide whether or not I would need BOTH my mother and fathers permission to testify. To make a long story short, they did NOT allow me to testify, but they did allow me to talk to the three attorneys. All three attorneys were slimy. Right off the bat I could tell none of them believed me, and they were going to do everything they could to make sure that I was silenced. I left court that day wondering what I had gotten myself into, and whether it was worth it. I just reminded myself that this is not just a physical, mental, emotional, and financial battle, but also a spiritual one. I needed to prepare myself for every road block…this was the first of many coming my way.
Though I left court feeling somewhat defeated, I also left pumped because I KNEW I would have my day in court, and they had to prepare themselves.
Not long after we were due in court again, hoping and praying that this time I would actually be able to testify. I waited in the courthouse hall for almost four hours, waiting for everyone else to testify (psychologists, daycare providers, etc.). Finally, my name was called. I walked in. Shaking. “Do you swear to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” “I do.” This time, my father didn’t have an attorney representing him, he was representing himself, which meant he was allowed to question me. He wanted to intimidate me. With tears in my eyes, I looked at him and thought “bring it on.” I was questioned by Skyes mom, and I relayed my story, the facts, what he made me do, and what Skye had disclosed to me about the sexual abuse she was enduring. It was my biological fathers turn to question. He couldn’t even look me in the eye. He was stumbling over his questions, and didn’t seem to have a clue what he wanted to get from me. The most memorable question he asked me while I was on stand was “Did you ever call your mom the 911 Queen?” Next up to question me was Skye’s attorney, who looked ready for war. Again, I thought to myself “bring it on, you’re not going to stop me from protecting my sister”. She asked me question after question, with no real direction. It was almost as if her purpose was to trip me up, and somehow frame it so it looked like I was lying! It was rediculous. This is the woman the county assigned to DEFEND & PROTECT my sister and her rights…and here she was throwing my sister in the lions den with no self defense. I stared him down the whole time I was on stand. I had spent 15 years hangin my head in shame and guilt over what HE had done to ME. I was not going to allow him to make me feel guilty, shameful, and ugly anymore. I wanted him to know that I was in control of my life. I was in control, not him. He no longer had power over me. Finally, it was over. I asked the judge if I could have a closing statement because there is SO MUCH I would LOVE to tell my father. And if I didn’t tell it to him in court in front of the judge, I know he would try and use it in court and say that I “attacked” him, or that I was “harrassing” him. The judge denied my request. So, as I walked past my father, and said “I hope you know what you lost.”
I left the courthouse that day free. I had stood up to my abuser, and if I could do that, I could do anything. It was the hardest thing I had ever had to do, but it was also the most freeing and greatest thing I have ever done.
In March of 2009 we recieved the judge’s decision. He granted TEMPORARY full custody of Skye to my father. Key word, temporary. It’s been almost two years since he won, and he still has full custody….that is anything BUT temporary. Skye’s mom is allowed two supervised visits a week for two hours per visit. She is forced to pay a supervisor to see her own daughter!!!!
It would be a year and a half (after the judge’s decision) that I would see my sister again….and then I would have to be supervised. I had to see my sister in a filthy little room with a stranger watching us. My sister and I were already victims of our father, and now we were being victimized by the system that was put in place to PROTECT us. Only now, it was not only my sister and I, it was all of our family who are not allowed to see Skye because our “father” gets to decide who gets to see her. An abuser likes to isolate their victims, and now our “justice” system is helping the pedophiles and abusers do just that.
It’s been almost two years since he won full custody. I have seen my sister a twice in the last two years. All of us have missed holidays, birthdays, and precious time with Skye, all because Amador County refuses to follow the law and is allowing Skye to be abused.
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. ”- Martin Luther King, Jr.
I lost my childhood to a man that had sick sexual desires, and thats something I will never get back. I REFUSE to allow Amador County, CPS, and Dishonorable Judge Thomas Smith to grant my sister that same fate. She deserves to be in a loving and caring and HEALTHY home. She deserves so much more in life. She is the strongest little girl I have ever met, and she is my hero. She’s a fighter and she won’t let anyone silence her. Amador County, CPS, Dishonorable Judge Thomas Smith, and our “father” are doing everything they can to silence her, to silence me, and to stop Skyes mom from fighting for her. I won’t allow it. I will fight for her and her rights. I will not allow anyone to stand in my way of protecting my sister.
Last April I appeared on the Dr. Phil Show and told my story and Skye’s story. For safety reasons, I went “undercover”. I will continue to tell my story and be a voice for Skye until justice is served, not only for Skye, but for every child who is being placed in the hands of their abusers because our Family Court System refuses to protect them.
EVERY CHILD SHOULD BE SEEN, HEARD, AND BELIEVED!!! SOS! SAVE OUR SKYE!