Interview With Keith Dion

I always say that there is no best way to tell your story. Write it, paint it or sing it. Look for Keith’s book coming soon.

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1. Abuse can be defined in many ways. How would you say that you and your brother were abused growing up?

 

Answer: Verbally, emotionally, physically. Eventually we were disowned by our parents and left to starve to death by the side of the road which resulted in the complete mental breakdown of my brother and his then very mysterious disappearance.

2. How did you and your brother cope with the treatment you were given at home?

 

Answer:  Not so well, but him much worse than I.  Despite a 4.0 gpa he was expelled from school and then went on a crime spree, joined the local chapter of the New Zealand Hells Angels and was eventually arrested on a series of burglary, robbery and car theft charges.

3. You lived away from home many times at a young age. What was this experience like? What did you learn from being out on your own, given the circumstances?

 

Answer:  I basically learned that I had only myself to depend on, and could rely on no one else for support. It also made me basically very suspicious of everyone and anything – this mind set of mine of course lead to others being suspicious of me. It took me years to identify this and to learn to start trusting people again. After being disowned by my parents and left to starve to death on the streets, and then watching my twin brother’s mental breakdown and disappearance it ended up being 10 years before I saw any of my family members again.

4. Despite the tumultuous atmosphere back home, did you still miss it? If so, was that hard for you and your brother to have these conflicting emotions?

 

Answer: Of course. Though completely abusive and dysfunctional, it was of course the only home and family I had. As for my brother, he had a complete schizophrenic breakdown and surfaced years later in Riker’s Island criminal insane ward. Conflicting emotions about my parents were the least of his problems at that point.

5. You go into detail in your transcript about your brother’s deteriorating mental state. How hard was it to be there every step of the way during his transformation?

 

Answer: Unbelievably difficult. I was completely helpless and had to just sit back and watch it happen. It was a miracle that I didn’t slip over the abyss into complete mental collapse with hm. I’ve heard some bad, bad stories of child abuse during my life from friends and associates and nothing touches this one. That is what prompted me to write it all down and attempt this book’s completion. A few years ago after a very serious car accident I had to go to a psychiatrist regarding panic attacks I was having. He of course asked me about my childhood, and when I told him this story, he nearly fell out of his chair and told me that it was the worst case of child abuse he’d heard in his 35 year career. It was he who told me that indeed me and my brother were “survivors” of filicide.

6. Has this experience inspired you to take action to help others who are affected by similar situations?

Answer: Yes, I donate time, energy and money to support homeless shelters and the homeless whenever I can. There’s nothing quite like being homeless and I hope it never happens to me again. People take their “homes and families” for granted. It’s quite something when they are taken away from you – especially violently via a PTSD damaged, Vietnam War veteran father.

 

7. How does this story tie in to the album “Reno Nevada and Other Songs of Gambling, Vice and Betrayal” that you wrote for your band The Great American Robber Barons?

 

Answer: All of the songs on the album are about Gambling, Vice and Betrayal and all link back to or are in some way related to what went down with all of this – we were of course abandoned by my parents on the border of Reno NV and Lake Tahoe CA on XMAS Eve.  There are many references to these events in the lyrics and song titles of the album such as:

 

Reno Nevada

I Know You Just Don’t Want Me Anymore

Where Were You When I Needed You

Nowhere Left To Go

It Was All My Fault For Ever Trusting You

Nobody Saw It Coming

I Promise I’ll Never Blow It Again

What Were They Thinking

 

This last one – What Were They Thinking – is the clincher. It has many verses about these events and their follow up.  The song can be found on our virtual press kit (http://cyberpr.biz/clients/3227), and the lyrics can be found here.

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How Disasters and Trauma Can Affect Children’s Empathy

The researchers at OHSU analyzed 11 studies that evaluated the effectiveness  of child abuse and neglect prevention programs or interventions that took place  in clinics — such as meetings with a social worker, for example. They gave  parents questionnaires that assessed such risk factors as substance abuse,  depression, stress and attitudes  toward physical punishment — as well as noting whether parents were concerned  that their child may have been physically or sexually abused. Doctors discussed  the risk factors with parents and referred them to social workers if needed.  After three years, researchers found that parents who took part in risk  assessments and received social work referrals, if necessary, had decreased  incidences of abuse, fewer reports to Child Protective Services (CPS) and  better adherence to immunization schedules.

But the studies’ results were not persuasive enough to warrant new  recommendations for physicians, says Dr. Heidi Nelson, senior author of the  study analysis published in Annals of Internal Medicine and a research  professor in medical informatics, clinical epidemiology and medicine at OHSU. “This is not about identifying kids who are being abused,” says Nelson. “This is  about determining if a family in front of me is at risk for abuse in the  future.”

A major challenge with determining who is at risk for child abuse is how — and to whom — to pose questions. If the parents who bring a child to a check-up  are mistreating that child, says Grossman, it’s not likely they will volunteer  that information. “You are potentially asking the perpetrators if there is a  problem,” he says.

While evidence underpinning the effectiveness of screening questions is  scanty, home visits seem to have had more success. Last year, a study in the Journal of the American Medical  Association (JAMA) found that home visits can cut child maltreatment cases  by up to half. States determine eligibility for home visits in different  ways, but poor moms, single moms, homeless moms, teen moms and those with a  history of domestic violence typically top the list. Home visitors serve as a  sounding board and support system, educating moms about normal infant behavior,  cautioning them against shaking crying babies and offering suggestions for  stress relief and interacting with their babies. Parenting can be overwhelming  even for educated, well-to-do women, but those who are less fortunate stand to  benefit even more from having someone help them navigate the challenges of  child-rearing. In fact, when researchers evaluated the effect of home  visitations, they found that those babies whose families were visited by nurses  were less likely to die of all causes by age 9 than other children. Some studies  showed that children who benefited from home visits had less contact with CPS  and fewer trips to the hospital.

But other studies on home visits have shown mixed results, leading the task  force to stop short of issuing a blanket recommendation for primary-care clinics  across the U.S to adopt the program for families they perceive to be at risk. “It’s one thing to say that it’s a good idea, but it’s another to say that we  have definite proof,” says Nelson.

The task force last took up this issue in 2004; it will take another look at  any new studies that have emerged five years from now to see if things have  changed. In the meantime, for the next 30 days the public is welcome to submit comments on the task force’s preliminary  recommendations. “We are looking to see if we missed any key pieces of  evidence,” says Grossman.

Credits: http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/23/child-abuse-why-its-so-hard-to-determine-whos-at-risk/#ixzz2JUcdo28r

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Hasidic Man Denies Abuse of Young Girl He Counseled

“What were you looking to do in terms of her?” asked Michael Farkas, a defense attorney, as Mr. Weberman testified in his own defense.

“To save her life,” Mr. Weberman said.

He spoke on the concluding day of witness testimony in a closely watched trial in State Supreme Court; it is one of the first times a prominent member of the insular Satmar Hasidic community of Williamsburg has faced child sexual abuse charges before a secular court. Closing arguments are expected to begin Thursday.

The unusual decision by Mr. Weberman, 54, to take the stand in his own defense turned the trial into a credibility battle between Mr. Weberman and the accusing witness, an 18-year-old who claimed over four days of testimony last week that she had been forced to perform oral sex on him during counseling sessions, when she was between the ages of 12 and 15.

Dressed in the traditional long black coat and white shirt of the Satmar Hasidim, Mr. Weberman testified that he had first begun counseling his accuser in 2008, not in 2007, as she had claimed. He testified that he billed $150 an hour to see her, and also charged her family $1,500 for a trip upstate that he took alone with her. He denied that anything untoward had happened.

He based his testimony on work records, but under further questioning from prosecutors, Mr. Weberman admitted that he did not always record his meetings with clients. Mr. Weberman also admitted in court that he had used the finances of a nonprofit corporation he runs to help the poor, called the Congregation of Classon, to pay private school tuition bills for his children. Lingerie purchases were also billed to its accounts, prosecutors said.

“Maybe it did,” pay for lingerie, Mr. Weberman said of the foundation, “for certain individuals. I don’t know.”

At least three troubled teenage girls have lived in his office apartment in recent years, Mr. Weberman said, but he could not remember if there were more. One of the girls, Baila Gluck, now 23, took the stand Wednesday morning and said that Mr. Weberman had always acted appropriately and that she was grateful to him for his help.

Beyond the details of the accuser’s case, the testimony also shed light into the way the Satmar Hasidic community enforces its strict religious rules. Ms. Gluck testified that masked men from the religious modesty committee, based in Monroe, N.Y., had come into her bedroom at night when she was 15 or 16 years old to take away a cellphone that she was not permitted to have. The same committee, Mr. Weberman testified, regularly referred young boys and girls to him for counseling.

Mr. Weberman testified that as an unlicensed counselor, he was not obligated to report allegations of child abuse to secular authorities, nor was he legally bound to respect the privacy of the young people he was counseling. As a result, he shared information given to him by the teenagers with their parents and schools, he said.

At the center of Mr. Weberman’s defense is an example of that kind of information sharing. His lawyers have argued that his accuser invented her charges as an act of revenge, after she learned that when she was 15, Mr. Weberman had told her father about an 18-year-old boyfriend she had, leading to the boyfriend’s arrest.

Mr. Weberman testified on Wednesday that he had indeed told the father, but had falsely assured the girl that he knew nothing about what had happened.

“So she wouldn’t have known,” about his involvement said Kevin O’Donnell, an assistant district attorney.

“Right,” Mr. Weberman said.

CREDITS:  THE NEW YORK TIMES

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