"A victim's first scream is for help; a victim's second scream is for justice."
– Coral Anika Theill
Coral Anika Theill's published works address abuse and trauma recovery and most recently, wounded Marines and Montford Point Marines. Her writings have encouraged and inspired numerous trauma victims and wounded Marines and service members recovering from PTS and TBI. Coral's positive insights as a survivor have also earned the respect of clinical therapists, advocates, professors and authors.
BONSHEÁ Making Light of the Dark has been used as a college text for nursing students at Linfield College, Portland, Oregon. In July 2011 Coral received the Lester Granger Award from the National Montford Point Marine Association. In 2002 she received a Writer's Award from iUniverse Publishing Co. She is also a contributing writer for Leatherneck Magazine and Short Rations for Marines. Her October 2011 Leatherneck Magazine article, "Invisible Battle Scars: Confronting the Stigma Associated with PTS & TBI," is cited in the U.S. Army War College "Psychological Health Notes."
Ms. Theill is a survivor of childhood sex trafficking, molestation and abuse, rape, domestic violence, marital rape, spiritual abuse, and nearly twenty years of “legal stalking” and judicial injustice. Before her marriage, she was co-valedictorian of her high school class, completed pilot training and ground school (age 17) and worked as a court reporter and legal secretary. She survived twenty years of domestic violence and now lives under a “state address protection program” from her former husband, Marty Warner of Independence, Oregon.
"It has been said, time heals all wounds. I do not agree. The wound remains. In time the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” -Rose Kennedy
Many mothers who seek safety from abuse are routinely prohibited from having even the most basic contact with their own children, not because they were unfit parents, but because they were outspent, out represented, and out-maneuvered in a court atmosphere not prepared to understand the needs of families dealing with domestic violence.
To unnecessarily and violently separate a woman and her young children can represent the gravest form of abuse, with major social ramifications in generations to come.
When a court orders the removal of a child from a parent it can have the same emotional wounding effect on the deprived mother (or father) as if that child has been kidnapped or murdered. When the deprived parent has been the protective parent, and the court gives custody and decision-making power to the abusive parent under the guise of "Best Interests of the Child" statutes, the loss to the severed parent is deeply damaging.
In addition to trying to recover from the abuse of a spouse and the profound grief at being separated from your children, there is an overwhelming guilt at not having fought successfully to protect your children. The fact is that sometimes the courts get it wrong. Prolonged custody fights require a tremendous amount of stamina and money for lawyers. A domineering and abusive spouse with access to funds can easily manipulate the court system to his (or her) advantage and drag the fight out for years. One day you wake up to discover that the children you love and cherish and have been aching for have grown up, been told for years that you abandoned them and taught to hate you.
Many children who have no contact with their protective parent have clear functional amnesia. They have no memories other than those created and re-created by the controlling parent. These children successfully re-program who and what they are outside as well as within.
"More commonly, the child idealizes the abusive parent and displaces all her rage onto the non-offending parent. She may in fact feel more strongly attached to the abuser, who demonstrates a perverse interest in her, than in the non-offending parent, whom she perceives as indifferent. The abuser may also foster this idealization by indoctrinating the child victim and other family members in his own paranoid or grandiose belief system. Such glorified images of the parents cannot, however, be reliably sustained. They deliberately leave out too much information." - Judith Lewis Herman, Author, Trauma & Recovery
Although my children have erased me from their life, I am not dead, I am very much alive, and I have a face, and a name.
I have been and will always be very involved in their life, even if it is only through prayer. I am praying that someday my children will choose to become "aware, awake and conscious" concerning details of their past and present. Their lack of awareness regarding their own life will greatly affect those around them. I pray my children will find good role models and mentors. I also pray that someday my children find the courage to walk through the unpleasant details of their past.
Many of the Christians my children have chosen to socialize and worship with, embrace and support their father, Mr. Marty Warner, Independence, Oregon, a man who has committed criminal acts against his former wife and children. In short, these pastors, (and Bridgeport Community Church members), elders and Christians CONDONE crimes against children and women.
This does not support my children's well being, only their delusion of themselves and their family.
You will never know where you are going unless you truly understand where you came from. It is important to take care of the "contamination of the past."
While many people focus their outrage on the judicial system alone, it’s easy to lose sight of broader problems that assist in the culture of abuse—like churches, pastors, family members and the local community. These elements, too, played a role in the corruption and silence that has allowed a man like my ex-husband, Marty Warner, of Independence, Oregon, and others like him, to operate untouched for so long.
What I learned through these past few decades is that domestic violence, rape, child abuse and child sexual molestation is socially acceptable in our society and often in many church settings. This needs to change!
Difficult experiences in life have softened rather than hardened me. I remind those around me, 'your trauma is not who you are, it is just what happened to you.’
Alice Walker's wise words have become my personal mantra, "Resistance is the secret of joy, we should challenge whatever oppresses us, anything we love can be saved, the way forward is with a broken heart, we should lead and not project on others what they should do for us, and we are the ones we have been waiting for."
I have come to appreciate the mystery of human suffering. When we can truly embrace our pain and suffering and are able to be authentically grateful for our wounds and the brutality that we may have endured, we become 'healed healers.' The traumatized person who accomplishes the work of recovery and healing has the potential of becoming more integrated and more aware and conscious than the person who has endured no blatant trauma and has never had to piece together a shattered psyche.
I hope by sharing my story, that other women (and men) who are trapped in similar situations–(and there are thousands of them), will be able to travel the path I have been forced to take a little more successfully.
The journey of healing is a personal one for each individual and not to be judged. It took me a long time to "find my voice." I am thankful for my journey as my past assists me in my writing, advocacy, and gives me a unique overview of the dynamics of the world around me. My collapse in 1993 was from decades of abuse and cruelty, but mostly because my voice and identity had been stripped away at the age of six. My voice was removed before it could ever "form." "If our lips don’t speak it; our bodies will scream it.” - Clarissa Estes, Ph.D.
To this day, I remember the terrifying fear I felt for years as a child and also during my marriage that had me lying awake shaking some nights. Every form of abuse has a long lasting effect on each one of us. I have learned to value the horrifying scars of my childhood and past as valuable raw material for soul work.
I think our task---and this is sometimes very difficult---is to live with all that is hard in our lives without being able to know why it happens and still find a way to fully choose life, every day.
I remind those around me to not forget the millions of women and children who are veterans of intimate wars and private anguish and for whom terror at home is business as usual. In America, the land of the free and the brave, one woman is physically assaulted every nine seconds, one woman is raped every two minutes, and one in three girls and one in five boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of eighteen.
Coral Anika Theill is available for speaking engagements and interviews.
Contact Coral at: firstname.lastname@example.org or