Category Archives: Sexual Abuse

TEDx Talk – First We Save the Children – Jeffery Kirkendall

Sunday, October 8th, 2017, I had the privilege of doing a TEDx Talk at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. It was a milestone event. The young scholars who brought the program to fruition conducted themselves with grace, professionalism, and inspired the same in their speakers.

I hope you will watch this video, then return here with helpful responses. This video is part of a project for the second year of my Ph.D. program at Prescott College. I am studying and working to improve my effectiveness as a Child Rights Advocate.

If you find the message worthy,  please pass it around your sphere of influence.  Use your communication devices,  social medias, mainstream media, even snail-mail.  Share with people . . . 

 First We Save the Children  [YouTube Video]

Many blessings,

Jeffery Kirkendall

Ashton Kutcher, International Hero!

This young man, who was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa  and made his popular mark in life as an actor in Hollywood,  is calling out

Photo by The Hollywood Reporter

citizens of the world with a moral imperative to stop sexual slavery in this 21st Century. He has invested his time, energy, creativity, passion, and money into this Great Cause for Child Justice.  He leads by example, and courageously uses  language for this crime against humanity in unvarnished specificity.

Mr. Kutcher’s testimony evokes the wisdom of Edmond Burke,

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Ashton Kutcher’s Testimony

Kutcher, by unspoken logic, challenges our entire male gender.  The implications are clear.  This complex profit-making criminal enterprise is literally  A  Man-Made Crime.

Do men have the will and fortitude to fight it?

Learn of Kutcher’s work through wearethorn.org, an organization he co-founded with Demi Moore utilizing cutting edge technology to fight international sexual slavery.

Call your Senator and Congressperson and tell her/him to VOTE.

Cover by Faceout Studio

For more information on this issue, read the journalist-super-hero work  of Lydia Cacho, Slavery Inc. – The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking

Publishers Weekly – Lionhearted Mexican journalist and activist Cacho probes prostitution, pedophilia, and sex trafficking rings across Southeast Asia, South America, and beyond.

Two heroes calling us to action…JK

 

Heading photo of Mr. Kutcher courtesy of Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Women Rule?! . . . Really?! . . by Jeffery Kirkendall

 

The above Washington Post photo suits my purpose perfectly.

Photo by Evensi
Photo by Evensi

I missed a Women’s March in the early 1980’s. I did not realize the significance of the event until it was over. As best I remember it, I went to class that night at Arizona State University. A more important educational experience  was taking place in the streets of a Phoenix suburb.

While working on my Masters of Counseling Degree, I was a volunteer and four-hour-per-week data analyst at the Center Against Sexual Assault (CASA). I was one of two men working there with a dozen or more women.  It was a job which transformed into a lifetime mission of moral and legal justice for survivors and fatalities of childhood sexual abuse (CSA).

At the time, many of the staff were involved in planning a Take Back the Night march when a nearby mayor did something significantly unenlightened. Two serial rapists were stalking their prey in his community, and the mayor decided to wade in with an executive order. He established a nine-o’clock curfew for women to be off the streets, for their own safety. His timing could not have been more appropriate to the feminist cause. Women came out to march in what was then considered great numbers. I learned about the protest later from my co-workers.

The organizers started the march in the mayor’s community nine o’clock at night. The gathering was comprised of women from all races, religions,  educations, classes, ages, incomes,  gender identifications, and sexual orientations. The peaceful protesters not only united and came out against the female curfew, they demanded a male curfew. After all, who was making the streets dangerous, the women?!

Over the  past three decades, I have learned about cultural and institutional  discrimination and sexual abuses of women. I developed a deep respect and brotherly love for those women. This compassionate army of sisters welcomed me into their world. I have

Photo from Etsy
Photo from Etsy

missed that shared consciousness since my wife passed away three years ago. I still miss Carol, but I am no longer alone with my convictions.

I have discovered recently, at sixty-four years of age, a cadre of dedicated and passionate kindred spirits. I found them in the Ph.D. program at Prescott College, Arizona.

After much time quietly standing back and closely observing our nation’s political season, I have decided it is time for me to declare where I stand. This past weekend I found my political tribe. I do not enter this commitment blindly. I have issues to debate with some of the members.

However, we are confronted with  what I believe may be the bleakest challenges in American history. I believe the most visionary, prophetic, and moral group available to me has been called together in the Women’s March on Washington.

I now join my peaceful warrior sisters, daughters, mothers, grandmothers, and brothers with gratitude and humility.

Photo by the Washington Post
Photo by the Washington Post

I stand with women and men all around the world. That indigenous person in the photo with her raised and closed hand expresses solidarity. She represents me. I am there with her and the rest of those women. I embrace  our cause.

Who will join me?

 

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First We Save the Children!

This link  below is to the video of a nine-minute speech that I gave Author photos and more 016 at a meeting of Toastmasters. It was the first of three speeches I did as a project for my Doctoral Program at Prescott College. I was inspired by a dream I describe and some of the  abused children I have known in my work.  Audience responses have been highly favorable..

I hope you will give this a watch and provide me with  feedback.  Please share this with anyone who might benefit.

With respect and gratitude, . . Jeffery Kirkendall

First We Save the Children! [Video]

A Little Girl Named Marie

My first client as a professional counselor was a little girl named Marie. She was three-

 Jeffery in 1986
Jeffery in 1986

and-a-half years old. She was non-verbal and had not spoken a word since she was put into foster care. Both she and her six-year-old sister were being treated for gonorrhea. Both of their parents were in jail.

That was the fall of 1981. I was twenty-nine years old. I was a trained volunteer for The Center Against Sexual Assault. I had been taking regular shifts answering the 24-hour hotline..

Based on my undergraduate work as a research assistant and strong statistics background, the agency hired me as a data analyst for four hours per week at five dollars per hour.

Let me be clear.

This was not the work I planned on doing forever. I figured that if I could learn some counseling skills with that agency’s clientele, then I could probably handle just about any counseling situation that would come up in life.

My real goal was to get my Ph.D., go into Organizational Psychology, and make big bucks doing corporate work, solving interpersonal and group problems, helping big business function more efficiently.

Secondly, and more deeply important . . .

I thought this sexual assault organization might hold some insights or answers into my nagging dissatisfaction with my religious upbringing. I thought that if there was a God, and I was asking that question at that time in my life, then surely there would be something to discover in this fringe element of the counseling profession.

A few weeks after starting the job, a veteran therapist there, who knew I was in the Masters of Counseling Program, asked me if I would like to help her with the children’s play-therapy group.

I said that I would like to do that.

The therapist explained that the half-dozen children in the group were pre-school to second grade. There were two sisters just starting the group, ages 3-1/2 and 6. The foster parents of these two girls were very involved in the kids’ therapy and formed a good supportive family.

The lead therapist asked me to pay special attention to the littlest girl. She was going to need a lot of help. The other children we making progress at a reasonable pace.

Over those first three weeks I used what I learned in Early Childhood Development to build trust with Marie, making periodic eye contact, smiling, using a gentle voice, encouraging her to draw pictures and make choices. Session four, she was smiling back and engaging in some of the projects the other children were involved in. Then late in that session, there was a group sing along, and out of the blue, Marie joined in.

The first words I heard from Marie were in her singing a joyful sound. From there she grew by leaps and bounds.

The thing that drove the lesson home for me was a chance meeting two weeks later at a street fair in downtown Tempe. On a crowded sidewalk on a Saturday morning, I heard a little voice calling from behind me somewhere. I stopped and turned around, the crowd parted like the Red Sea. The little girl named Marie was running up the sidewalk calling out, “Mr. Kookendall, ( She had trouble pronouncing my name Kirkendall) Mr. Kookendall, Mr. Kookendall!” Her foster parents and sister were walking hand-in-hand behind her smiling at having surprised me.

I knelt down and greeted Marie. She gave me an appropriate hug. While I knelt at eye-to-eye level with Marie, we all talked for a while. Then I watched them walk away together Marie waving as she looked back.

My life changed that day forever.

Something Godly had happened, and I was a part of it.

I could not . . . I could not . . . I could not turn away.

For me, no work in the world could be more precious.

I was right. I worked saving children for 20 years.

It was this time of year thirty-four years ago that I met that little girl named Marie. I imagine her now in her late thirties, and I wish I could send her a letter.

Dear Marie,

Thank you . . where ever you are. . . Thank you Marie.

I pray that you are blessed with healthy children,

healthy grandchildren,

Jeffery in 2015
Jeffery in 2015

and that we both periodically pause

in our busy lives

to sing out

a joyful sound.

 

Forever,

Mr. Kookendall

Voice in the Wilderness

I have prayed with people from wildly diverse faiths, races, and socio-economic groups. I April 2014 023have prayed with people in the midst of some of the most cruel circumstances a family might experience in life. Someone was sexually tortured or terrorized.

Prayer helped. It helped them and helped me.

I have counseled sexually terrorized people for thirty-four years. I have studied the subject, written about it, spoken about it, and even sung songs about it. I continue to create a body of work that will help those who suffer for such sins of others after I have passed on. I continue to pray my way through the challenges.

To stay sane, I walk somewhere in nature every week. It is truly good medicine for me.

The longer I walk, the more distant becomes civilization. As I walk through miles of rolling grassland wilderness, I become more humanly isolated. I can see things coming for a thousand yards in every direction. There is no one to surprise me. I am free and safe. There is only the wind in the grass and nearby meadowlarks calling for my attention.

As I walk, my prayers and movement become a ceremonial ritual. I call it The Spirit Trail. I express my gratitudes, my fears, my pains, and my passions. I ask for guidance in knowing how I might use my unusual knowledge and experiences to do the greatest good for the greatest number.

And so it was recently.

After some time of intense walking-communication, a quiet pleasure came over me. It was accompanied by a growing faith that I would know what to do when it was time to do it.

I came back to grounding when I realized I had a sticker inside my boot. With a smile of peaceful satisfaction, I sat down on the earth to loosen my boot. As I did, I admired the mountains forty miles to the north. As I tied off my boot, I gazed at the snow-capped sacred peaks a hundred miles to the north-east. I then stood and turned my head to the distant mountains in the east. More magnificence.

After a significant pause, I turned around to see the mountains to the south.

I was not alone!

image by pinterest.com
image by pinterest.com

A herd of pronghorn antelope,

ears up, alert and listening,

all looked at me,

me looking at them

for the longest time in the universe.

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I just love it when that happens!

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Co-Authoring Adventures

Hello. My name is Jeff. I am a recovering writer. I can’t help myself. I just have to write

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

things that I want to remember. Mostly I want to remember the stories. I want to remember what I learned, the people I met, the unusual experiences, and how it all unfolded.

I am regularly amazed and grateful for my life adventures.   I am rich with memories.

Talking about my late wife Carol at the Peregrine Book Company was fantastic. It was like bearing witness, or describing a rare and beautiful phenomenon in nature, or giving a toast to her in front of my peers.

Let me back up.

I belong to the Professional Writers of Prescott. It is an organization and a monthly meeting of local authors, writers, poets, readers, all getting together to share our crafts, learn from each other, and hopefully inspiring one another to keep writing and sending out our messages in a bottle.

Five of us were at the Peregrine Book Company in Prescott Arizona to tell about our Co-authoring Adventures.

Carole Bolinski, who brought us co-authors together, told the audience of her experiences sharing with her brother. Their book of poetry is titled Pearls Beneath The Rind. Bill Lynam told of him and his brother bicycling and mopedding across Europe a decade after World War II. They also “footloosed” their way through South America and back across the United States. His book is Footloose Pilgrims. Connie Johnson engagingly told the story of her and her sister’s collaboration on their book Farm Kids, A 1950’s Wisconsin Memior

Herbert Windolf recalled his precious long-distance relationship with a German woman, whose poetry he translated into English. Herb, an accomplished poet himself, dazzled us all by reading a poem in German and then the same poem in English. His book is The Year Mirrored in Poems.

It was marvelous experience collaborating with these writers, these kindred spirits, holy scribes, keepers of ancient traditions. I had a nice laugh with the audience when I finished my presentation by explaining that I was going to convince my colleagues Carole, Connie, Herb, and Bill to join forces, rent a van, and go on a national book tour of our own.

I know it doesn’t sound that funny the way I describe it now, but it really was cute and everyone in the audience laughed.  As a storyteller and teacher and entertainer long ago, it felt great to be back.

I spoke of my experiences co-authoring the book  Without Consent: How to Overcome Childhood Sexual Abuse with my late wife Carol Jarvis-Kirkendall.  I explained how our writing together was a big part of my decision to marry her. We were great together saving families. easing suffering, and sometimes helping send bad guys to prison. She had my back, and I had hers, and sometimes when people are really good together, one plus one can equal three. Our work has been a healing influence in thousands of lives.

I read my popular story Marriage Decision Vision. (Click here).  I explained that I made a promise to Carol early in our relationship that when she left this world, I would be holding her in my arms. She would know that she was safe and loved and had lived a good life. I told my listeners that I kept my word and that was just how Carol passed.

I thanked everyone there for coming. I thanked Susan Lang for the pleasure of speaking at the Peregrine Book Company. I explained that if anyone in the audience would like to know more about the child on the cover of Without Consent, they needed to read my Indians & Aliens – and unexpected short stories.

I further explained that if they bought both my books that day, I would ride home with them, do a dramatic reading, and stay for dinner.

They laughed. I laughed.

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

Met a lot of nice people.

So thank you writers,

and thank you readers.

It was a great day.

 

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Co-authoring Adventures

ANNOUNCINGAuthor photos and more 016

2 pm / Saturday,

January 31st, 2015

Jeffery Kirkendall will speak

at the Peregrine Book Company

In Prescott, Arizona

 

Five writers present their adventures collaborating with a spouse, friend or sibling.  Hear the struggles, conflicts and laughter that each writer experience on the journey to complete a book.  One has to do with developing a transatlantic friendship.  Another is a coming of age experience.

The other authors share about soul-mates finding one another and sibling harmony.  These story tellers reveal how in co-authorship their stories and poetry exceeded what one could have accomplished alone

TO LEARN MORE CLICK HERE.

 

AUTHOR SUNDAY

It is hard to write The Great American Novel . . . fifteen-minutes-at-a-time.

I provide 24/7 care-taking for a disabled seventy-five-year-old woman who has been my best friend, lover, wife, and the most influential woman in my life for thirty years.  It is the only paying job I have had for the last four years.  Medicade nets me two-hundred-and-forty-five dollars a week to care for my wife, and that will soon be cut to about two-hundred.  We live and love in our vintage thirty-foot Holiday Rambler travel trailer that my cousin bought us a year ago after we lost our home.

My life-style is close to that of a single mom with a disabled child at home.  Every hour of every day has a list of things that need attention, and I know that I will not get to them all.  What is important?

On Sundays I practice a role-playing routine.  I pretend that I am a noteworthy writer, that writing is my forte’, my profession, my Calling, if you will.  I put on my New York City writer’s hat, dress like an author going to meet his agent, and act like I would imagine someone would act who has something to contribute to the world, even a  legacy to leave.

I still get my sweetheart her meds on time, food on time, exercise, reading, resting, getting to the bathroom on time.  But I do not sweat the small stuff on Sunday.  No rent, utilities, leaking faucet, laundry, dirty floors, or creditors.  I have to work at blocking these things out of my mind while washing the dishes.

While my partner sleeps, I write, or think about writing, meditate, pray, and attempt to discern what is most important to get down.  Then I do it.  I never know how long I will have to finish before I have to move on to my critical responsibilities.  Will I get to complete my thoughts?

So this is what I have done this Author Sunday. . . . Excuse me, she has pulled off her oxygen hose.

Okay, I’m back, but she will need to get to the bathroom soon, so let me say this before the day takes off in another  direction.

The long-term effects on aging victims of childhood torture and terrorism are profound, even mind-boggling.  Being beaten, choked, shocked, kicked, burned, sexually-impaled, over years, . . leaves damaged spines, brain trauma, organ-tissue damage, deformed joints, hearing and sight impairment, and then there are the nightmares, flashbacks, and the relentless, soul-challenging physical pain.

And all this suffering, all of it, is for the sins of others.

That has to make it one of the most tragic scenarios Life can deal a human being, don’t you think?

I have to go now and put my arms around the love of my life and slow-dance with her to the commode.  She laughs when I whisper in her ear the way I did when we were newly weds.

Younger Days
Younger Days

So here is my finale’.

Make a difference where you can. 

Love the one you’re with. 

          And remember, . . .

                    Living Gracefully

                                is the best revenge.

J. Kirkendall

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Note from JK:  The following is a letter written by the little girl (as an adult) whose childhood abuse I partially described in the previous posting – “A Legitimate Rape Question.”  As in that article, I have used pseudonyms to protect people’s privacy.  The letter addresses the question, “Can victims of sexual terrorism find true love?”

 

Dear Mom & Dad,

Well it has been nineteen years and what a ride!

There we were, on a beautiful spring day, sitting on the porch at your house in Payson. Dad made a call to someone he called Raymond to ask if he could meet us for dinner. Dad said he was a poor man with a deformed back. Well, I figured what harm could it do?  Afterall  I was poor, and I had a deformed back!  Dinner at El Rancho Restaurant sounded like an innocent enough night out.

I had been feeling pretty ill from physical and mental stress. I was underweight, depressed, afraid of life as I knew it. Well, we went to the restaurant, and we waited…..After a bit we thought that maybe he wasn’t going to show, so we ordered.

Two men were near our booth talking, one of them a very big man, with a strong voice (Later I was told that man was a radio disc jockey). The other man was very, very handsome! Smooth voice, slender body, mature looking, a mustache that reminded me of my favorite cowboys, Doc Holiday. I tried not to stare, not knowing this was the man I was about to meet and spend the rest of my life with.

I was completely flustered that he sat down right next to me!!!! I couldn’t breathe. I looked at his profile and saw his chiseled face, black hair, slight receding hair-line, and handsome as ever, eyes that were like that of a Greek god that swept away the innocence of any thoughts I was thinking.

I looked for the deformity in his back, of course, and it was not as I had been told. As a matter of fact, this man had the body of an athlete. I swept my nose across his path to smell him without being noticed, and he smelled deliciously of musk, amber, and the smell that must be what they say attracts a man to a woman and vice-versa. I became so nervous and suddenly realized I hadn’t done anything with myself to show that I was even in existence. I slowly became more comfortable and began to converse.

After dinner we retreated to Mom and Dad’s place. I could see Mom approved and Dad was quick to give me a glance of approval too. The three of us went up into the tree house out back, the most beautiful tree house ever, to this day, been up in. We shared stories, and we laughed. We shared things in the night air, things about ourselves that would forever stay with us.

Mom decided to go inside and await Dad’s arrival for the night. Dad had set this all up. He had known that Raymond was a gentle and beautiful man. He loved Raymond. He had gotten to know Raymond before I did. When Raymond said his goodbye’s and prepared to go home to the little trailer he shared with his big dog Dakota, he started to walk away.

I walked him out, and asked him if I could hug him. He looked so surprised, yet turned to me, put his strong arms around me. I smelled his scent again. Wow!!!! I went to bed that night with the feelings I had never had before. Dad came into the room with a smile, approaching the bed to hug me goodnight. He asked me if I enjoyed the night, if I liked Raymond, a smile on his face, and then we both laughed in synchronicity.

I told him I was in love for the first time in my life, that I was scared, that I was happy. “What do I do?” I asked him.

His reply was perfect, “Just be yourself. Just let it happen. If it’s meant to be, it will be.” He turned to me as he left the room and said “I love you. I’m so glad to see you happy. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you smile and laugh like you did tonight. Remember to just be yourself. You are beautiful just the way you are. Take it slow. Let him call you. Don’t chase him. I’ve got a feeling he will be calling you soon. Goodnight my daughter. I love you.”

I looked at him with tears in my eyes, with only joy and an overwhelming sense that my life was going to be changed forever for the better. For once I was alive with a healthy and functional love. Also I felt an exceptional amount of love from a father, a father figure I never had in my life before he married my mother. He was looking out for me.

A beautiful night in March, four people got together and changed the course of my life forever for the better. What a wonderful night. What a great father. What a great mother. What a wonderful man named Raymond that sat down next to me and said, “Hello, I’m Raymond. Nice to meet you.”

He said yes to going to the tree house. He took a chance. We all did. Thank you Dad. Thank you Mom.

You are in both of our hearts tonight, in our memories of that wonderful time, that wonderful night we all connected in a restaurant booth, in a tree house, in this goofy world, . . we had a great experience that will last a lifetime.

How does “Thank you” do justice? I love you forever for all that you give, all that you are, all that you have been to me. Thank you for life as I now know it – happily married, happy with the family we have become.

Happy Anniversary to the four of us!!!!!

We were all there when it happened.

Goodnight.

Forever you daughter,

I Love You,

Emily Fawn