All posts by Bev Moore-Davis

Miles For Smiles Survivor’s Walk

The Miles For Smiles Survivor’s walk is a 4 km walk for child abuse survivors.  The walk represents life after abuse as we realize we are stronger together, we are never alone and we ARE survivors – in every sense of the word.

We invite survivors along with friends, parents, siblings, children, colleges or anyone that has been affected by child abuse to join us as we walk to show there is life after abuse.

Bev Moore Davis is a local child abuse prevention advocate and founder of the Miles For Smiles Foundation. The walk will take place in Georgetown and Marysvale – approximately 45 minutes west of St John’s – and will bring us back to the community where Bev ran away from home at 17 years of age.

 

Walk Details:

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

1pm – Registration at the Marysvale Ballfield (Or Marysvale Community Centre if weather is unfavorable)

Live Entertainment and Face Painting

2pm – Opening Ceremonies

2:30 pm – Ribbon Cutting and 4 km Survivors Walk around Long Pond

3:30-5:30pm – Live Entertainment

BBQ

Entertainment for the kids including Zorb Balls, Bouncy Castles provided by Frontline Action

Blue Balloon Chain in support of local survivors

*Unfavorable weather does not stop child abuse, and on July 9th it will not stop us.

 

How childhood trauma can have a life-long impact on health

A history of childhood trauma can affect the mental health of adults.

But what is less well-recognized, even by doctors, is the link to physical health.

Childhood trauma raises the risk of everything from diabetes to lung cancer to heart disease. Those who endured a high level of trauma in their youth have an average life expectancy 20 years lower than those who didn’t.

The risk factors are leading some doctors to suggest that, along with standard questions about medical history, health-care practitioners should routinely ask patients about what they may have lived through as children.

Surveys have shown that nearly a third of Canadians suffered abuse or neglect in their youth.

Dr. Robert Maunder, a psychiatrist at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital as well as the co-author of Love, Fear, and Health: How our Attachments to Others Shape Health and Health Care, says that just scratches the surface.

“It actually goes beyond abuse and neglect to other kinds of adversity that kids experience,” Dr. Maunder tells The Current‘s Anna Maria Tremonti.

“[It can be] having a parent with a mental illness, having a parent with addiction, witnessing violence in the family.”

Dr. Maunder describes a “double whammy” in terms of the ongoing effects of trauma on health.

“On the one hand it puts you at risk of becoming ill, but once you’re ill and once you’re in the hospital, it complicates health care,” he says.

Dr. Maunder gives an example of a woman with Crohn’s disease who refuses a colonoscopy needed to develop her treatment plan. A doctor who knows her history of childhood sexual abuse would know that this type of test would be a trigger for her — and be able to suggest alternative tests. A doctor who hasn’t asked about any childhood trauma might just see her as a difficult patient.

“And then the relationship becomes poisoned with mistrust,” says Dr. Maunder.

Dr. Maunder has worked with Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto to incorporate this strategy into how their emergency room treats “difficult patients” — patients who are in the ER frequently and whose problems are difficult to solve.

Dr. Howard Ovens is the chief medical strategy officer for the Sinai Health System, and until April of this year, he was the chief of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.

“People who have chaotic lives have trouble following through in maintaining relationships, keeping appointments,” he explains.

“And the emergency department is open 24 hours a day every day.”

Now, these patients are seen in the ER by members of the psychiatric team linked to the childhood trauma project, who then work on building a relationship with them — and building an individual comprehensive care plan for all health-care staff to use.

The new care model helps not only the patients, but the health-care practitioners at the hospital as well.

Dr. Ovens says it supports the staff who find many of these people “very upsetting, challenging.”

“It’s a source of burnout for a lot of our staff. But if they feel that they are supported, that we’ve given them some direction and will stand behind them in employing a particular approach, it really makes them feel like they’re part of a team,” he says.

“It has been a very important morale booster for the staff.”

This segment was produced by The Current’s Sujata Berry and Willow Smit

 

No need for Zachary Turner to die: death review

The social services system in Newfoundland and Labrador failed a 13-month-old boy, who drowned along with his mother in a 2003 murder-suicide, a review has found.

Zachary Turner died when Shirley Turner, 42, clutched him to her body and jumped into Conception Bay, several kilometres outside of St. John’s.

“Nowhere did I find any ongoing assessment of the safety needs of the children,” coroner Peter Markesteyn, referring both to Zachary and Turner’s daughter from another relationship, wrote in a three-volume report released Wednesday.

Turner, a general practitioner,fled to Newfoundland after her estranged lover Andrew Bagby, 28, was shot to death in a Pennsylvania parking lot on Nov. 5, 2001.

Turner had obtained bail from the Newfoundland Supreme Court, and gave birth to Zachary,Bagby’s son, while fighting extradition to the United States to stand trial for the murder of Bagby. About two months before the murder-suicide,a judge cleared the way for Turner’s extradition.

Responding to Markesteyn’s child death review, Community Services Minister Tom Osborne said the provincial government accepted the report and would examine the 29 recommendations to see which ones could be acted on immediately.

He added that the province had already addressed some of the issues raised by Zachary’s death.

Serious flaws pinpointed

Markesteyn, based in Winnipeg, found fundamental flaws through child protection system that dealt with the Turner case in the months leading up to the murder-suicide.

In finding that Zachary’s death could have been prevented, he determined poor communication between officials contributed to the sequence of events that triggered the tragedy.

Darlene Neville, Newfoundland and Labrador’s child and youth advocate,called immediately for an external review of the child, youth and family services program.

Neville, who said she is concerned that other children in the province are in similar circumstances, described the results of the investigation as shocking.

“The fact that a whole organization could be so out of touch with the reality everyone else was wondering about is baffling,” she told reporters.

Neville said two things were evident from reading the report. “One: Zachary Turner’s death was preventable. And two: Zachary was in his mother’s care when he should not have been.”

Markesteyn found that officials, who were working on the presumption of Turner’s innocence,were more concerned about the welfare of the woman than for her infant.

Turner frequently asked for, and received,help from social workers, with dozens of visits made on her behalf.

Neville said she found it difficult that no one was putting Zachary’s interests first.

“Given the amount of resources that were put in to meeting Dr. Shirley Turner’s needs and demands, and what she identified as necessary, if those same resources had been taken and put in to assessing what Zachary’s needs were and how could his rights would be best protected, I would suggest there would be a strong likelihood we would have had a different outcome,” Neville said.

Markesteyn, who was asked to review the case in 2005,could not delve into an issue pressed by the Bagby family: how Turner was able to obtain bail from the Newfoundland Supreme Court.

Courts beyond mandate

David Bagby, Zachary’s grandfather, said the report is an important step but he is disappointed the issue of the bail process could not have been addressed thoroughly in the review.

“My focus is bail,” he said adding that a suspect in a brutal crime shouldn’t be “walking around free so they could do it again. I’ve said it a hundred times.”Bagby travelled from California for the release of the report.

Markesteyn nonetheless raised question after question about how bail was granted to Turner, particularly about the actions of federal government counsel.

As well, here commended that a separate review of the justice system’s handling of the case be launched.

With the social services system, Markesteyn sharply criticised a lack of critical analysis and sound judgement among officials who dealt with Turner while she was on bail.

Markesteyn found that social workers worked co-cooperatively with the review and that “the impression they conveyed was they believed they had done everything they could, given their legislative and policy mandate, to assist the children’s mother, Dr. Turner, in caring for her children.”

‘An obvious difference of opinion’

He also noted”an obvious difference of opinion” between case workers and their managers, who recognized a possible need for long-term intervention. Their concerns, he wrote, were not communicated to frontline staff.

Turner’s daughter, who stayed with her mother for periods of time during which she was on bail, also suffered in terms of her educational development, as well as from guilt over her mother’s and half-brother’s deaths, Markesteyn said. The girl is in the care of other family members.

As well, he found a lack of accountability within the social services system.

“Yes, individuals were upset and sad when Zachary was murdered, but what was really confusing was the limited sense of accountability in terms of the hierarchy and lines of authority,” he wrote.

Markesteyn also critiqued the office of the child and youth advocate for its handling of Turner’s case while she was still alive. He suggested an intervention should have been made.

“To me, it is most relevant that there had been considerable media exposure and resulting knowledge of the Pennsylvania criminal charges which Dr. Turner was facing,” he wrote.

Met at medical school

Turner had been married twice before meeting Bagby while both were medical students at Memorial University in the 1990’s.

Markesteyn’s research,which involved interviews and reading scores of documents about Turner,found numerous cases indicating that she had personality and emotional problems, including during her medical training at Memorial.

A supervisor there described her as “putting on a show” for superiors, and found she was confrontational, manipulative and unwilling to address negative evaluations. Markesteyn noted that the Turner experience led to changes in how residents are evaluated.

Among other things, the report found Turner had ingested drugs in either an attempted suicide or what Markesteyn said could have been a “suicide gesture.” In a 1999 letter sent to a would-be paramour before she ingested prescription drugs, she described herself: “I am not evil, just sick.”

Markesteyn also found that Turner had been under the care of at least four psychiatrists during her lifetime.

Parents who kill their children: Why would someone do the unthinkable?

The troubling allegation against Trent Spencer Butt is gut-wrenching, and brings with it a host of sobering and painful questions.

Most notably, why would a parent kill his or her own child? Their own flesh and blood?

That’s a question being asked by many throughout Newfoundland and Labrador following an unfathomable tragedy in Carbonear on Sunday.

Police believe 37-year-old Trent Butt killed his five-year-old daughter Quinn and then set fire to his modern home on a quiet street in the Conception Bay North town.

He faces charges of first-degree murder and arson, but neither charge has been proven in court.

Dads a greater threat

Experts have long tried to understand why fathers and mothers commit filicide, the term used when a parent kills their own child.

The answer is difficult to come by, but it’s clear that dads are more likely to kill children than moms.

That’s the case about 60 per cent of the time, says Peter Jaffe, a professor in the faculty of education at Western University in Ontario.

Research also shows that when dads kill their children, they typically do it out of revenge after a partner has left the relationship, and there is usually a history of domestic violence, said Jaffe.

“The way for the father to get back at the mother for getting out of the relationship is to kill the thing that is most precious to her, which is her child or children,” Jaffe told the St. John’s Morning Show on Thursday.

Moms typically kill infants

Jaffe said mothers who commit filicide tend to do so following a mental health breakdown, such as postpartum depression, and their victims tend to be younger, usually an infant.

He said fathers typically kill offspring that are older.

“You’re dealing with extreme circumstances,” noted Jaffe, but he said these cases are rarely out of the blue.

A host of tell-tale signs — prior history of domestic violence, actual or pending separation, depression, stalking and threats — are usually noticed by family, friends and frontline professionals such as social workers and police.

“In Ontario when we find a child killed by a parent, on average there’s nine different professionals that have been involved in some way … in the prior years leading up to the homicide,” he said.

Because filicide is something most people can’t even comprehend, Jaffe said many don’t know what to do when they see the warning signs.

He said research shows that greater public awareness is needed, and those close to a situation should encourage a troubled parent to seek help.

“It’s essential that the community gets involved. You’ve often heard that it takes a village to raise a child, well it also take a village to protect a child.”

A strained relationship

Firefighters rescued Trent Butt from certain death. He’s now in serious condition, but is expected to live. Desperate efforts to save Quinn were unsuccessful.

The tragedy followed the marriage breakup of Quinn’s parents, and a custody sharing arrangement that sources say was strained.

Court documents also show the relationship between Butt and his estranged wife was volatile, with Butt charged with three separate counts of assault against the mother dating back to 2013 and 2014. All three charges were dismissed.

The tragedy has rekindled dark memories of the death of Zachary Turner 13 years ago.

The 13-month-old and his mother, Shirley Turner, both died after the mother committed murder-suicide by walking into Conception Bay in August 2003.

Turner was facing extradition to the United States on a charge that she killed her former lover two years prior.​

Carbonear man accused of killing five-year-old daughter and setting the home on fire

Trent Butt of Carbonear, the man accused of killing his young daughter and then setting his home ablaze last year, will stand trial on first-degree murder and arson charges, a preliminary inquiry at provincial court in Harbour Grace has ruled.

Judge Bruce Short handed down his ruling Monday.

It means Butt’s case will now be moved to Supreme Court, though it could be as much as a year before a trial gets underway.

The inquiry, meanwhile, began on Jan. 12 and included 11 hours of proceedings, the details of which cannot be reported.

Trent Spencer Butt, 38, has been in custody for nine months.

He is accused of killing his five-year-old daughter Quinn during the early hours of April 24, 2016 and then setting his Hayden Heights home on fire.

The case has been followed closely by those who advocate against domestic violence, and there’s been an outpouring of support for Quinn’s mother and her family.

A large crowd gathered inside and outside the courtroom in Harbour Grace Monday as Butt made his latest appearance, with many sporting purple — one of Quinn’s favourite colours — in her memory.

Mother guilty of 20 child abuse charges in Conception Bay

A woman in Conception Bay North was found guilty of 20 charges related to child abuse in a Harbour Grace courtroom Wednesday afternoon.

The mother, who can’t be identified under a publication ban to protect the identities of the children, was facing more than 40 counts when the trial began.

Judge James Walsh found the mother, 32, guilty of charges including assault, forcible confinement, negligence and child corruption.

Some charges of assault were dismissed.

Walsh said one of the children was “systematically tortured by her mother.”

The court heard the children were routinely slapped, punched and kicked by the woman over a period of years.

During the trial, some of the children testified their mother would become angry and frustrated when she couldn’t have sex, and took it out on the children.

Some of the children also said their parents would force them to watch from the floor as the couple had sex on their bed.

The woman is expected back in court in July, when the defence and Crown will present their sentencing recommendations.

Dave Pelzer – A Child Called It

Dave has experienced a truly extraordinary life. As a child, he endured the horrors of child abuse which included physical torture, mental cruelty, and near starvation. Dave was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous games–games that left him Dave nearly dead. With only his willpower to survive, He learned how to play his Mother’s sinister games in order to survive because she no longer considered Dave a son but a slave, and no longer a boy but an “It.”

Upon Dave’s rescue, he was identified as one of the most severely abused children in California’s history. At age 12, Dave’s teachers risked their careers to notify the authorities and saved his life. Once he entered the foster care system, Dave fights for a stable setting, but found himself moving in out of five different homes, while continuing the fight to cope with his past. Throughout his journey, social service personnel, educators, counselors, and foster parents give their all to ensure Dave’s well-being and protection from his vindictive mother, who, at one point, wishes to have Dave committed to a mental institution.

Once he left the foster care system at age 18, Dave enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. As a young adult Dave was determined to better himself–no matter what the odds.

As a member of the armed forces, Dave was hand-picked to midair refuel the highly secretive SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Stealth Fighter, which played a major role in Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm.

Some of Dave’s distinctive accomplishments have been recognized through a number of awards, as well as personal commendations from Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. In 1990, he was the recipient of the J.C. Penney Golden Rule Award, making him the California Volunteer of the Year. In 1993, Dave was honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans. He joins a distinguished group of alumni which includes: John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Anne Bancroft, Orson Welles, Walt Disney, and Nelson Rockefeller. In 1994, Dave was the only American to be honored as one of The Outstanding Young Persons of the World. He also carried the coveted Centennial flame for the 1996 Olympics.

Dave’s first book, A Child Called “It,” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. It tells his story as a young child. Dave is one of the only authors to have three books simultaneously on the New York Times Best Sellers List and the first author to have two books simultaneously on this list in trade paperback. All three books are highly acclaimed throughout the world. Dave’s incredible life’s story was featured on The Montel Williams Show, Sally Jesse, and Barbara Walter’s The View.

Dave’s unique and intriguing outlook on life, coupled with his “Robin Williams” like wit and sense of humor entertain and encourage men and women to overcome any obstacle while living life to its fullest. Dave is a living testament of resilience, faith in humanity, and personal responsibility. This is what makes him one of the most exceptional and unequaled entities of today. As an author, educator, and consultant, Dave has dedicated his life helping others . . . to help themselves.

Miles For Smiles Celebrates growth in Community Walks.

2017 brought another successful Miles For Smiles Walk in St. John’s and in addition this year walks were held in the following communities:

New: Marsystown – Organized by Conetta Wakely and Wally Pittman

Halifax – 2nd year, organized by Cathy McDonald

St. John’s – 5th Annual Event organized by Bev Moore Davis

New: Gander – Organized by Debbie Ryan

New: Standish, Maine – organized by Vickie Morgan and Tracey Gurney

Christopher Reeves

September 25, 1952 – October 10, 2004

He once played a man who could fly. Christopher Reeve demonstrated a rare ability that exceeds the speed of flight. Christopher learned to live outside his body in a way that few people have the strength or courage to do.

All of us are, in some ways, prisoners in life — some by limited thinking, others by physical limitation. But rarely has a man demonstrated such a wonderful ability to face limitation, to cry for all that it robbed him of, and then step beyond it into a life that knows no limitation.

Name: Christopher Reeve

Born: September 25, 1952 in New York, New York

Home: Westchester County, N.Y.

As a Role Model: Known the world over as Superman, Christopher Reeve served as a symbol of strength, the force of good, with the ability to fly and soar over the problems of man. He was strength and mobility personified to people throughout the world. Thus, it came as a shock when Christopher Reeve fell from his horse during a riding show accident, and landed on his head. The fall broke his spinal cord and paralyzed him from the neck down.

In the face of enormous frustration, Reeve held up as an example of courage in the face of enormous frustration. Although he was not able to move from the waist down, Reeve continued to travel, do public appearances, and serve as a voice for the paralyzed in the United States.

Christopher made numerous public appearances around the US after his accident. He was a proponent for medical research to help quadriplegics. He gave the commencement speech at Boston University in May, 1997 and urged the medical graduates to “show us the cures.” Reeve was unable to move his limbs and was confined to a wheelchair that he operated by sipping or puffing on a straw. Reeve continued to fight with incredible strength of will and optimism–and remained convinced that he would walk again.

The former Superman admitted that he cried every day dealing with the reality of being in a wheelchair. “In the morning, I need twenty minutes to cry,” he said. “To wake up and make that shift, you know, and to just say, “This really sucks”…to really allow yourself the feeling of loss…still needs to be acknowledged.”

But after his long, hard cry each day, he would tell himself, “And now, forward!”

Christopher Reeve has been an example to us all, that you keep on going in spite of limitations.

Despite his paralysis, Reeve directed the HBO film In The Gloaming. It starred Glenn Close, Bridget Fonda, and Whoopi Goldberg.

The film stars Robert Sean Leonard who plays the part of a young man with AIDS who comes home to die. He is cared for by his mother who is played by Glenn Close.

In April, 1997 Reeve was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The week before this in April, Christopher Reeve broke his arm and had surgery, but he still managed to attend the premiere of his directing debut. He was working out on an exercise bike and as he was being transferred from the bike to his wheelchair, the people who lift him got out of sync. Christopher fell over on his side and his arm snapped like a match stick. It was repaired with a titanium rod that was inserted into his arm.

Even though he felt a little “feeble” he went on with the premiere. He was grateful to be in the company of other directors who were welcoming him into the fraternity of directors. Christopher said: “I’m starting a new chapter in my life, and you have no idea how much that means.”

While under great handicap from his paralysis, Christopher Reeve continued to travel and do outreach work. He joined Cal Ripken, Jr. as a featured speaker at a motivational conference in Washington D.C. He went to the New School in Manhattan to give a speech to students. While doing so his body went into crazy spasms. While being attended to he joked, “Sorry. One second, guys. I’ll be right with you…. Now, where were we?”

The former Superman was given the National Courage Award at the Minnesota Courage Center. He also joined his good friend Robin Williams at a fund-raising dinner to benefit victims of spinal cord injuries.

Biggest Goal and Wish: Reeve said he had one wish, and that was to hug his son, Will. “That’s what he’s entitled to,” Reeve said. “And I believe that day is coming.”

Early Beginnings: As a boy, Christopher Reeve studied piano and voice, worked as an assistant orchestra conductor, and made his acting debut with a Princeton, New Jersey theater company at age nine.

College Education: Graduated from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Studied drama at the Juilliard School in New York where he roomed with comedian Robin Williams. Performed his Master’s degree performances at London’s Old Vic and a t the Comedie Francaise in Paris.

Early Acting History: Played in a TV soap opera, Love of Life, and played on Broadway in A Matter of Gravity opposite Kathryn Hepburn.

Most Famous Role: Reeve was chosen from a pool of more than two hundred actors to play Superman. His looks, his fitness and physique and charming humility breathed life into the comic book hero. The great success of Superman meant three very popular sequels. While Christopher appeared in other films, it is his role as Superman that made him famous.

Other Interests: Reeve has done documentaries and a TV special about aviation and sailing, which are two of his life passions. He also has been a passionate spokesperson for the arts and helped to found the Creative Coalition, a non-partisan advocacy group of artists including Ron Silver, Glenn Close, Blair Brown, and Susan Sarandon — who concern themselves with the environment, homelessness and the protection of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Christopher Reeve’s Family: Wife: Dana Morosini, Son: William (with Dana). He has two other children, Matthew and Alexandra, (from his relationship with Gae Exton.)

Christopher Reeve believes that there is a cosmic purpose to his accident and he was very successful in his efforts to lobby in Washington for increased funding for spinal cord research. He wass trying to help other people with the same type of paralysis. Christopher Reeve was an example to us all.

Closing Quote from Christopher Reeve: “When the first Superman movie came out I was frequently asked ‘What is a hero?’ I remember the glib response I repeated so many times. My answer was that a hero is someone who commits a courageous action without considering the consequences–a soldier who crawls out of a foxhole to drag an injured buddy to safety. And I also meant individuals who are slightly larger than life: Houdini and Lindbergh, John Wayne, JFK, and Joe DiMaggio. Now my definition is completely different. I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.