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Dani Throwaway Child .pdf

Nombre del archivo original: Dani Throwaway Child.pdf
Título: Dani: Throwaway Child: The True Story of Dani's Journey from Abuse to Freedom
Autor: B D Ethington

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B D Ethington

Dani: Throwaway Child
First edition
© Copyright 2015, 2016 by B D Ethington and
Ethington House Press
All rights reserved
No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in
any form or by any means (electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or
otherwise) without prior, written permission.

A Brief Word about
Confidential Interviews

The telling of Dani’s story comes from
the perspective of a religious leader and
the culmination of interviews over time.
Faith leaders hold interviews in the
strictest confidence. Such interviews are
a trust between a faith leader and all
those who choose to confide in them. As
a faith leader, I do not take this trust
lightly and NEVER broke that trust in the
telling of this true story. As you read
Dani’s story, you will become acutely
aware that the basis for this story comes

from actual confidential interviews.
Dani has given her written permission to
utilize these interviews in the telling of
her story. Her true identity remains
confidential to protect her and her
family. This story was written from and
based upon her actual memories and
At first, she was hesitant to tell her story,
mainly for her safety and that of her
children. She came to the conclusion that
if her story could help give courage and
hope to the abused as well as insight to
those helping them, it would be worth
sharing. Dani is courageous to come
forth and even more courageous to allow
me to tell her story. We hope that her

courage will become infectious in
helping the thousands of women and
children that still live with abuse every
day. Our hearts and prayers go out to
those individuals.
Edmund Burke is attributed to have said,
“All that is necessary for the triumph
of evil is that good men do nothing.” A
statement that is so true. If we fail to act,
to come to someone's rescue, whether
out of fear of not wanting to get involved
or feeling it is not our business, then we
may be responsible to God for those we
could have saved. It doesn't take a faith
leader to take action. It takes all of us
who are or call ourselves, followers of
Christ, to observe, to act and to do. This

book could be your call to action in this
war that is raging against our women and
children. May we adopt the words of the
great hymn, “Fear not, though the
enemy deride, Courage, For the Lord is
on Our Side.”1
This story is from the perspective of a
Bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints also known as the
Mormon Church. A Bishop is the head of
a congregation of members and is called
to serve as a lay clergy in this capacity.
In other words, all members who serve
in the church do so without monetary
compensation. Members of a
congregation live in a geographic area
called a Ward. Bishops are ordained to

lead, serve and care for the members
living within the boundaries of their
ward. Members promise to live a
Christ-like code of morality.

Table of Contents
A Brief Word about Confidential
Chapter 1 I Meet Dani for the first time
Chapter 2 Dani begins to communicate
Chapter 3 Finding clarity amid chaos
Chapter 4 Power and control
Chapter 5 A new Dani begins to emerge
Chapter 6 Please make them stop
Chapter 7 The floodgates open
Chapter 8 A normal beginning
Chapter 9 Life gets worse
Chapter 10 Life in a closet

Chapter 11 Throwaway Child
Chapter 12 The Rules
Chapter 13 New Rules
Chapter 14 God, Where are you?
Chapter 15 An unexpected revelation
Chapter 16 Why can't they stop?
Chapter 17 Clouds of darkness gather
Chapter 18 Escaping Abuse
Chapter 19 Happily Ever After?
Epilog A Final Hope

The Mirror

Time. It has a way of losing its intrinsic
value when there is nothing with which
to compare. The rising and lowering of
the sun, the movements of a clock or
even the routine and habitual
movements of people waking in the
morning or going to bed at night. All
these can give one the value of time to
denote days, months or even years
passing. But to someone kept in a dark
closet with little or no light and even
less of human contact, time has no

beginning or end. It just is.
For Dani, it could have been days that
she had sat there in the closet tucked
away in a bedroom of the house. All she
could see was some light filtering
through cracks in the door frame or
under the door. The daylight gave her
some delineation of passing days, but
she had little to give her any indication
of how long she had been in there or
when it might end. What little light
filtered through into the closet was just
enough for Dani to see some of her
surroundings. The closet had a
hardwood floor with smooth plaster
walls surrounding an area with just
enough space to sit and stretch but not

to walk around. It was completely
vacant except for her. The bar that
stretched the length of the enclosure
was bare. She remembered such pretty
dresses used to hang there.
Dani was dressed only in her
underwear. She typically sat in one
corner with her knees drawn up to her
chest encircled by her arms. When that
position became uncomfortable, she
would shift from one side to the other
or lay down to sleep. By now she had
gotten used to having the hardwood
floor double as her bed. The soft covers
and fluffy pillow on the bed she once
used were now only a longing, even
though they were only a feet away.

Sleeping on the bed was forbidden, and
she dared not even try. They would find
out, they always did.
One day her mother had systematically
removed everything she had come to
know was hers. At first, her mother took
her eyeglasses, then her shoes. Her
clothes then followed toys and books,
first landing in the hallway and then
swept away to some unknown place. All
of her possessions had been taken
away, except for one which she kept
hidden in the closet.
She didn't know how long it had been,
but she remembered seeing a shadow
cross in front of the door. Someone was

in the bedroom. She tensed,
anticipating a beating, but nothing
happened. Then the shadow crossed
again in front of the door.
Involuntarily, she hugged her legs
tighter and backed as far as she could
into the corner of the small room. When
the door did not open, she began to
relax a bit.
It had been a long time since she had
eaten. Worse than the gnawing hunger
in her stomach was the empty feeling of
loneliness. Since being in her new
room, she had not seen any member of
the family. Even poor treatment would
be preferable to no contact at all.
Sometimes she wept but was careful to

do it silently so as not to attract
attention and then certain punishment.
A shadow had crossed the front of the
door again. This time, she was more
curious than afraid. Who could it be?
What were they doing? Somebody
paused outside the door. She strained
her ears to hear who the mystery
person might be on the other side. A
faint scratching noise near the bottom
of the door caught her attention.
An object was pushed, slowly and
carefully, under the door. Fearing a
trick or a deception she didn't reach for
it at first. The shadow retreated away,
and Dani sat staring at the object for

several minutes, touched it then quickly
pulled her hand back. After repeating
the process a couple more times and
realizing that it was no threat, she
finally picked up the object. In the dim
light, she ran her finger over the edge
of the object. The top part was circular,
approximately four inches in diameter
with a handle extending from the
rounded edge. She explored the object
by turning it over and around until she
saw a reflection which startled her so
much she almost dropped the object.
Her heart skipped a beat. It was a
Smiling, she hugged the object. For the
first time in as long as she could

remember, she had something causing
her to smile. What a treasure she now
possessed. With all the care of an
archeologist handling rare antiquities
she carefully slid the object in a notch
in the corner of the closet which would
keep it hidden from the casual observer.
Convinced she had properly concealed
her new prize, she pulled her legs up
and wrapped her arms around them to
generate some warmth. After a while,
she closed her eyes and fell asleep with
a small smile resting on her lips.

“I need you to do something for me,”
Dani said with somewhat pleading eyes.
I could see she had thought a lot about

this and had finally reached a point
where she felt that I could be trusted.
“What would you like me to do?” I
She hesitated, not speaking a single
word. She gazed off into the distance for
a time. She seemed to be seeing
something beyond the plainly decorated
walls of my office.
We had been talking for over a half an
hour. She had been telling me about
some of her weekly struggles. Kids with
colds that never seemed to go away,
husband working long hours and that she
wasn't getting much sleep. Her report

was now interrupted by her request.
With great care, she reached into her bag
and pulled out an object. Tissue paper
covered the object like a special gift.
Careful removal of the covering
revealed that the object was a small
mirror. It was approximately four inches
in diameter encased in purple plastic
with a handle extending from it. It was
obvious that the mirror was aged, and it
looked more like a toy. She carefully
handed it to me.
“I want you to keep this for me,” she
Even though it looked like a toy, she

handled it with reverence and care, her
expression revealing it to be a cherished
old friend. As she gently handed it to me,
I became aware that it meant a lot to her,
and she was entrusting this special
treasure into my care. Even without
carefully observing the object I knew
that there was a story behind the worn
plastic edges and the carefully polished
glass of the mirror.

Chapter 1
I Meet Dani for the First Time
“In the middle of difficulty, lies
opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

The confines of the space were dark
and oppressive. Why was it so dark?
Stuffy and claustrophobic; she could
hardly breathe. It was frightening and
yet simultaneously comforting. Oddly
she felt that she was somehow safe. Oh
yes, the closet, her safe place. Fear.
Was that what she was feeling? That
was what it was, fear! Steps were

coming, loud voices, yelling! Why are
they yelling? She knew that it was
about something she did, but what? It
was always about something she did.
She searched her memory but could
find nothing. If she could just
understand what she had done maybe
she could make it all better; make it all
stop! Why couldn’t she remember?
The yelling stopped! Footsteps came
closer and closer. Fear again! Why?
She just couldn’t remember. Why
couldn't she remember? She suddenly
felt panic. The door to the closet
opened. Somehow she knew what was
going to happen. A face without
features, angry and mean and obscured

by the darkness, was yelling words and
obscenities. They were hurtful, painful
words. Why? She didn’t understand.
Then there was another faceless head.
So close. Yelling and screaming. Then
out of the darkness, something was
coming at her. She sensed it coming,
but it was too late to protect herself. It
hit with vicious force. The pain! Oh, the
awful pain! Then it came again and
again and again! “Stop!” she yelled.
“Please stop! Please!” She sobbed.
“Please!” Her response was just a
whimper now, almost without hope.
Mercifully there was some light. She
knew she had to reach the light.
“Focus,” she thought. ”Just focus and

you can do it.” She mustered the last
bit of strength she had and reached out
through the pain to the light. Slowly the
voices began to fade as the light
increased in strength. She struggled to
open her eyes. As she did so, the faces
also seemed to melt away. The area
around her evaporated as if it were
wisps of smoke. She panicked! What
was she going to do without her safe
As she opened her eyes, she realized
she had been screaming. She was
gasping great gulps of air as if she had
been drowning and now found herself
above water. The words still seemed to
echo in her ears. She didn’t have to

look to know her body dripped with
sweat. As the panic subsided and her
breathing calmed, she realized once
again where she was. She was home.
She was in her home! She could see the
night light on the wall just a few feet
from her. It had saved her again.
Another nightmare! This realization
began to set in with wakefulness. Why
didn’t they stop? What did they mean?
All she knew is that when she woke up,
she was exhausted, dripping with
sweat, and she felt like she had just
been savagely beaten. She realized that
she was in another safe place; the same
place she ended up after each of these
nightmares. She was under her bed. The

reality of finding herself huddled in the
cramped space below the comfort of
her mattress was extremely troubling to
her, but the familiar place was
mysteriously comforting.
The sun was peering through the
bedroom window ushering in a new
day. From her place under the bed, she
could see its welcoming light streak
across the floor. In spite of the fatigue
generated by the lack of sleep, she
needed to get up and take care of her
children. She knew the memory of the
nightmare would fade if she just busied
herself getting the kids off to school
and began her daily routine of
housework. The pain, however, would

remain. Not the emotional pain from
hurtful words and angry shouts, but the
deep physical pain that accompanied
each dream. She knew she would feel
that pain most of the day.
She also knew something else. She
needed help! She couldn't keep going
on like this.

Sometimes our lives seem to be filled
with meetings. For some, these events
can be welcome diversions from a
mundane daily routine and for others a
chance to be a part of a meaningful
discussion. Still others, like me, can find
meetings to be a frustrating bridge

between the items that ‘must’ be done on
a daily To-Do list and a bit of craved
alone time. I was definitely in this last
category. Pretending to listen, I was both
distracted and slightly bored.
The meeting in which I was seated was
very important to the organizer.
However, I was not feeling its
relevancy. The attendees in the room
were all faith leaders from the various
churches in our local community. As I
looked around, I realized that only a few
seemed to share my detached
perspective, and I felt slightly
I certainly was not focused on the

speaker. He was stressing how child
abuse was a real problem in our
community. Statistics of reported abuse
and reported hospital visits were only a
drop in the bucket to the amount of abuse
that sadly goes unreported. Like all of us
in attendance, we found abuse,
especially that of a child, to be
repugnant and loathsome.
Regretfully my attention was elsewhere,
but it seemed to be completely justified.
Most of my congregation was young
families. Weekly I was meeting with and
getting to know many of them quite well.
Even knowing many of the problems
challenging some of these families I
could not imagine that any of them could

be involved with abuse. The topic just
wasn’t relevant to me at the moment, and
I did not anticipate that I would ever
need any of this information.
As the speakers presented their
information, I sat politely taking
occasional notes. When the meeting
ended I gathered the information with the
prepared statistics and guidelines, made
a bee-line towards the door to take care
of my ‘must’ items. When I got home, I
filed the papers away without any notion
of ever using them.
If I could only have anticipated the
events that would soon unfold, I would
not have been so casual about the

meeting or the information. Hence the
applicable saying, “Live and learn”.
I am not only a Bishop with a
congregation, but I am also a father who
has several children. The angelic nature
of children is a gift to any parent.
Children are so eager to love and be
loved. They naturally desire to explore
the world around them. When they see a
butterfly for the first time or catch a
falling snowflake, most parents’ hearts
swell with an appreciation for their little
one's purity and innocence.
Parents are also innately fierce
protectors. My personal fatherly
experience has more than once found me

feeling violated when one of my children
were threatened, endangered or
confronted by bullies. Like Christ in the
Holy Temple, I have felt like braiding a
cord and thrashing the violators. I think
that most parents feel the same way.
This natural protective disposition
arises whenever I see or hear an adult
threatening and abusing a child. I have
wished on more than one occasion to
have the power and courage to face
fiercely such abusers and with a voice of
thunder let them know how divinely
special children are to God. I would
follow my tirade with a look that clearly
communicated to them that if they laid a
hand on their children, a raw steak
would be placed around their neck, and

they would be placed in the middle of a
pack of wolves. I don't, as a rule, carry
raw steak with me and have no idea how
to find a hungry wolf much less a pack of
them, but they certainly would feel the
power of my message.
I guess that is why I felt so compelled to
tell this story about Dani. Most of what
happened to her were while she was a
small child and teenager. Those who
should have been responsible for her
safety and protection did just the
opposite. In spite of all that has
happened to her, she has survived and is
amazingly normal, whatever 'normal'
means. I have never written a book
before, but my experience with Dani has

been the catalyst to my first literary
attempt to fulfill a nagging prompting
deep inside; pushing me to make sure
that her story is told. My hope is that it
will be an inspiration to other innocent
victims who have themselves been in
similar situations and to all feeling
people wanting to make a difference for
the abused.
The first time I met Dani was under
some slightly unusual circumstances.
Her Bishop had called to tell me she and
her family had moved into my church
ward and that he would like to introduce
me to the family so that there was some
continuity. I thought that ‘continuity’ was
an interesting word. Continuity about

what, I wondered. I set a date and time
to meet with him at his office.
A call like this was kind of unusual, not
because she was moving near our church
ward, but because most people move in
and then just start attending. We currently
had well over 300 additional people
move into our ward family during the
previous year. Low-interest rates and
increasing demand for the home building
had caused an explosive growth in our
particular area which seemed to be a
magnet attracting young families. Like
magic, new homes were popping up
almost overnight. Families were moving
in as fast as the developer could finish
construction. Families, belonging to our

faith, just showed up and were never
introduced by their former bishop.
Without explanation, there was
obviously something unique about this
communication from her previous
The following Sunday I arrived at the
other bishop’s office early. As I entered,
I noticed the large, framed, reproduction
paintings of Jesus Christ as well as some
of his apostles on the walls. I also
noticed comfortable cushioned chairs
positioned around the room focused
toward a single desk at one end of the
room. It appeared to be a typical
bishop’s office, simple and yet
comfortable. As he introduced himself, I

observed he was tall, well dressed, and
looked smart in a pin stripped suit. I was
also amazed how young he was. He
couldn't have been more than in his late
twenties. He greeted me warmly and
turned to the young family waiting to
meet me.
Seated in the cushioned seats was a
broad-shouldered man, his petite wife
and their three children seated
strategically between them. I shook
hands with the young man and learned
his name was Jeff. He was a
construction worker with a strong grip
and a winning smile. His calloused
hands echoed that his work involved
manual labor. He was about my height

yet more muscular. His appearance was
rough, yet he displayed a genuine,
sensitive side made evident when I saw
him glance lovingly at his wife. Two of
the children, in true childlike fashion,
dangled their legs off the edge of their
chairs. The oldest was Cami who was
ten years old, tall like her father and she
had a piercing stare. Jenny was eight,
precocious, overly friendly and seemed
to enjoy laughing even when there was
nothing humorous. The youngest, Jake,
was playing a game of ‘hide-and-seek’
with me, peeking from behind his
blanket in the car seat. He was about six
months old and cute as a button. From
initial appearances, they looked to be the
typical, average American family.

Lastly, I was introduced to Dani. She
was not at all what I had expected. She
was only slightly taller than her oldest
daughter at about five feet tall. Her eyes
were a vivid green, and her natural
blonde hair might have looked lovely
had she not pulled it unceremoniously
back into a ponytail. Her hair did not
have that cared for touch, and her clothes
hung loosely on her, not because they
were too big, but because she was so
thin. Even though she was fully dressed,
I could see that her arms and legs were
mostly skin and bone. The thought
occurred to me that she must be

She quickly caught my gaze and I noticed
a brief look of surprise. She averted her
eyes instantly, obviously feeling
uncomfortable with the attention drawn
to her. I couldn't tell if she was naturally
shy or if she was just very private. I
could not help but thing that she revealed
sadness in her eyes. The thought
occurred to me that she hadn't smiled in
a long, long time. When I offered my
hand, she rapidly looked up but did not
respond in kind. There was a brief look
of recognition on her face. I was quite
puzzled by this because I was sure I had
never seen her before in my life.
“Thank you for coming. Here is the
family I called you about.” I knew that

this Bishop was a lay minister like
myself. We were both called to watch
over our 'flocks.'
After the brief introduction, he
continued. “This is the Moss family.
They have recently built a home in your
area and will be attending church with
your congregation. They have been
hesitant to attend so far because they
don’t know anyone. I thought by having
you come today they would at least
know you.” He smiled weakly at the
attempt to bring me into the
I returned the smile and assured them
that we were very happy to have them be

a part of our growing congregation. I
explained that we had an excellent
program for the children and, that with
so many new young families in the ward,
they would fit right in. I also told them
that we met at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday
morning. Jeff was paying close attention
to the information. It looked as though he
was the only one who was listening.
“I have been meeting with Dani about
once a week for the last month or two,”
he continued. “She seems to do better if
we meet weekly. I was hoping that you
could continue the weekly sessions.
Would that be okay?”
“That would be just fine,” I replied as I

was mentally determining appointment
openings. “And can you give me some
idea why we are meeting?” I looked at
Dani. She was not looking at me. The
pattern on her handbag seemed to be
occupying all of her attention.
“She just has some personal things she
wants to discuss. That’s all,” her bishop
replied as he observed Dani and her
unresponsive manner.
“Very well, then,” I said turning to Dani,
“Would Sunday at 4:00 o’clock in the
afternoon be okay for our first meeting?”
She looked up briefly and nodded in
agreement and then continued staring

Sensing that the brief meeting was over,
I stood and said goodbye to the Moss
family as I watched them exit the room.
As I headed toward the door, her bishop
asked if I could remain for a minute
longer. He closed the door and sat back
“I didn’t want to say much. Dani is
struggling with something serious. She
has an eating disorder as you can
probably tell. As hard as I try, I have not
been able to get her to discuss much with
me. Jeff doesn’t seem to have a clue. I
just know something is wrong.”
“What type of counseling have you been

doing?” I asked even though I knew that
due to confidentiality he would not be
able to tell me a great deal if anything at
all. I was not surprised with his answer.
“Not much. I mostly just sit and listen.”
He had a faraway look in his eye. “I
mostly just sit and listen. But if we don't
meet every week she is visibly shaken. It
is like she needs the interview to stay
grounded or something.”
Listening shouldn’t be too hard, I
thought. I am a good listener. I said
goodbye and left pondering about my
brief visit with the Moss family and
wondering about that first appointment
on Sunday with Dani.

Our first meeting was pretty uneventful.
Dani came in and sat across the desk
from me. She said very little. Her blonde
hair was still pulled back in a ponytail.
She also wore a long sleeve shirt, much
too large for her small frame. Perhaps it
belonged to her husband. She was nearly
swallowed up in the extra fabric.
I asked her about her family and what
she liked to do for fun. She didn’t offer
too much, although talking about her
family was less intimidating than talking
about what the real issues were that
were bothering her.

One thing I found strange was that she
kept glancing at the door each time there
was a pause in the conversation. It was
as if she was expecting something to
happen with that door. I concluded that
she was in an obviously uncomfortable
setting, and she could hardly wait to
leave. Maybe something about me was
scaring her. Indications were that our
first interview was not going so well. I
kept plowing ahead in spite of the
awkwardness in the primarily one-sided
On the surface, she appeared to be quite
average. I learned that several months
after meeting Jeff they fell in love, got
married and started having children.

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