“Secrets” by J’son – Raising awareness about sexual abuse, offering hope

The enemies inside my home but who would ever listen to me, and all the secrets that you made me keep. And it’s tearing me apart..

“Secrets” is a new song by Christian rapper and R&B artist, Jason “J’son” Watson, featuring J.R.  “Secrets” is about a couple who seek marital counseling because they are struggling with the effects of the wife being sexually abused as a child.Secrets” is a unique video in that it explores the devastating effects of sexual abuse from two different perspectives: that of the wife, who was sexually abused as a child by her father, and also that of the husband. The husband is struggling to support his wife but is helpless to stop her pain, and it breaks his heart that he could not go back to that moment when she was being abused, and protect her. The husband also feels victimized by the devastating effects of the sexual abuse which also impact his life. “Secrets” offers hope, that counseling and support make it possible to heal from sexual abuse, “Biblical counseling brothers & sisters in my midst, Help me endure it, though what happened I’d never forget..” Part of the counseling includes affirming to the victim, and her husband, that they are not at fault for what happened. There is also freedom in being able to speak about what has been done, and not be forced to keep secrets any longer.

“Secrets” is based on the story of J’son’s wife, Lawanda, who was sexually abused by her father as a child. Also, Dianna Hobbs, who plays the role of Json’s wife in the video, was sexually molested by a neighbor at age 6.

“Secrets” was made to raise awareness about sexual abuse, and to break the secrets by encouraging sexual abuse victims to speak out and seek help or support. “The No More Secrets” campaign was inspired by J’son and Lawanda to break the silence and secrecy around sexual abuse, and to give hope and support to victims. 

It is our hope that the ‘No More Secrets’ campaign will let other survivors know they are not alone,” says Dianna Hobbs.

I must also add, that “Secrets” is a helpful video for educating people about sexual abuse, and how it affects families, as a whole. Specifically that children have reasons for not disclosing abuse, but that does not mean it did not happen. Whenever allegations of child abuse or sexual abuse are raised, they must be taken seriously, and thoroughly investigated. Parents should not be punished, or lose custody, for reporting abuse. Family Court and CPS have a vital role in protecting children from abuse, and when they fail, children are further abused, traumatized, and sometimes do not survive. “Secrets” is a real warning for helping professionals to take a strong stand against abuse, and shows what could happen if they fail. 

— Emily Court, 2015

You can hear more about J’son and Lawanda’s story, and learn more about the No More Secrets Campaign hereNo More Secrets Campaign

Help fight sexual violence. Share the “No More Secrets” campaign on Facebook Twitter, Instagram, and more. When you tweet, use the hash tag #DONTKEEPSECRETS

Note: The campaign encourages victims of sexual abuse to “Upload a photo of yourself holding a sign that says  ‘I am a Sexual Abuse Survivor’ or ‘Help Stop Sexual Violence'”. The campaign has also created a survey, which asks detailed personal questions, including about sexual abuse, which can be shared and used publicly as part of “No More Secrets.”Please use caution when disclosing your face (likeness), identity or screen name in this way, especially when revealing sensitive details about yourself. I understand the campaign is “No More Secret” but at the same time, your privacy and safety must also be considered.

 

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The Rage That Never Came: Abuse Survivor Rediscovers What it Means to be a Father

Happy Father’s Day! My deepest respect, love and prayers extend to all Fathers and Grandfathers. Thank you for your love, efforts and hard work you do every day to support your family, and give your children the best life possible. 

And for those healing from abuse, this story is to show that it is possible to have a healthy, loving, positive relationship with a father. It is possible to have a healthy, loving husband or partner as a father of children. As an abuse survivor, it was healing for me to meet one such hero father. I am sharing this story because encouragement is a balm for the scars we hold in our hearts <3 Always remember how beautiful and precious you truly are! 

_____________

Remembering… 

The dry ground cracked beneath our feet, releasing waves of heat from the depths of the earth. Above, the sky was a relentless awning of fire. There seemed no escape from summer heat wave, we withered in plastic lounge chairs, tanning plastic stripes into our legs.

Maybe we should turn the sprinkler on?” my friend Luke suggested.

Four grumpy kids complained in the heat, too tired to play with the pile of water toys piled in a plastic bin at the corner of the patio. Popsicles melted before they could have a bite, leaving a sticky mess on their laps. The play date arranged for Luke’s two children, and my two children, was turning out to be a bummer.

Can’t hurt.” I shrugged.

The custody situation was really hurting my kids—they could barely hold onto a relationship with their mother and now were losing their friends, and every part of their former life too. The visitation arrangements were always changing but was consistent was that with each court order, my abusive ex was gaining more control, and I was becoming more estranged from my children. The children forgot the names of favorite cousins, and friends they once played with. They couldn’t attend church like they used to, and didn’t remember the prayers or Bible verse I taught them. And it seemed like we spent our visits rushing from one place to another, frantically trying to make up for everything that was lost. My friend Luke seemed to understand, he was also divorced and parenting two boy, but his divorce was amicable. We thought it was a good idea to get the kids together for a play date but the heat was zapping the kid’s energy.

Luke disappeared into a rickety garden shed and came out with a long green garden hose and a yellow plastic sprinkler shaped like a bumblebee. Spider webs billowed off the hose as he carried it across the yard.The kids groaned at the sight of the childish bumblebee. My daughter JJ screamed when a spider jumped off the sprinkler, running close to her leg. The three boys played hero, pulling out the squirt guns, ready to eliminate any spider that dared to cross their path! Luke set up the bumblebee sprinkler in a bare patch of lawn, he joked with his boys, telling them that if they did not run through, they would be grounded. Soon all four children were romping under the cold streams of water.

With the kids now happy, Luke turned his attention to lunch. I brought a big loaf of French bread to make submarine sandwiches, and the fridge was stocked with goodies. It seemed like only a second that we turned our backs, then the kids were shrieking with laughter, and a loud thud hit the kitchen window. I looked out and saw the kids took the tiny bumblebee off the sprinkler and now were fighting over the bare hose, spraying each other, and turning the dry lawn into a mud pit. JJ is very competitive and once hit by a spray of water; she grabbed a handful of mud and threw it at the boys. The kids were stomping their bare feet in the mud. Water was flying an all directions—from the hose and from a battalion of squirt guns. The boys were wrestling in the mud. My daughter had won the hose and was gleefully shooting at the grass until a small lake formed. It was an absolute mess! The kids were laughing, and soaking wet, totally oblivious to anything but the fun they were having.

As a survivor of abuse, I deal with Post Traumatic Stress, and flashbacks of the abuse I endured for 8 years at the hands of my abusive ex, Mr. X. There are some triggers I have learned to anticipate, and have methods for dealing with. Other triggers, like the mud puddle in the yard, come unexpectedly. My body went rigid as if made of stone. I absolutely could not move. Time seemed to slow. And the sound of the children’s laughter was being drown out by the roar of Mr. X’s voice as a trigger (a trigger is current event that releases a memory of something traumatic that happened in the past) was unleashed in full fury. I remember feeling absolute fear—that if Mr. X saw the muddy yard, the mess the kids were making, he would be furious. One of the kids would be hit. I would be on my hands and knees trying to clean up the mess, apologizing as tears ran down my face. The bumblebee sprinkler would be kicked or thrown across the yard. I would be called horrible names, and made to feel like a failure. For days I would tiptoe around Mr. X, anticipating another rage. It would be bad. There were things I could not talk about but I felt them, and I could not move out of fear. All these scenes flashed before my eyes as the past collided with the present.

Wow! Look at what those crazy kids are doing?!?” I heard Luke say. I flinched…and then he laughed. Laughed? I slowly turned my eyes towards his face, which was turning red was he laughed, and tears rolled down his cheeks. “I don’t know which one are yours and which one is mine, they are all covered in mud!

I couldn’t believe Luke was laughing. I had never seen anything like it before. He wasn’t angry at all. No one was in trouble. It was not a big deal. It was funny???

Sad thing is… we are gonna have to hose them off again to clean the kids up! Can you grab a bunch of towels, they’re in the long closet in the bathroom.”

I felt my pulse rush through my body. The white sunlight filtered through the windows, pushing the shadows away. I was okay. It was okay. My breath seized in my chest then was released in a ragged sign. What did okay mean, anyways?

As simple as it was profound, that one moment in the muddy lawn on a hot summer day has taught me so much. I truly saw what it meant to be a loving, supportive father. A father who is in control of his emotions, and is able to handle the challenges of parenting without resorting to anger or violence. A father who can laugh at the antics of children, and encourage their potential even when they are covered in mud. I saw that it is possible to have a safe home environment. I saw that stable families do exist, that it is even possible to have a happy family after a divorce. I saw this from the example of one such hero father. 

All I had known the opposite – the fits of rage, the anger, the demands that cost me so much, wounding on a soul level. Even when Mr. X was being nice, it never felt safe, never felt like he really cared, let alone loved any of us. Mr. X is not what a father should be. This experience inspired healing, that not all fathers are like my abusive ex partner. That I can be free from the past, and accept something better for my own life right here, right now. 

What keeps me going, and keeps me strong in my struggles is remembering moments like these, the people who bring something positive into this world, who dispel the negativity and give hope. We all have the potential to be such people, and should strive to do so at every given opportunity. 

— Emily Court, © June 2015

 

 

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May God Bless Your Socks Off Today

Emily Court:

An encouraging verse…

Psalm 46:1-5, “1God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.c
4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.”

Originally posted on jaclyn rae:

I love you all. ♥ ♥ ♥

View original

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The Daily Show “Parenting with the Enemy” – Confronts Courts Awarding Custody to Rapists

Samantha Bee loses her cool when she learns that rape victims are often forced to fight for custody rights against their attackers. 4/9/2015.

Source: The Daily Show – Fact-ish – Parenting with the Enemy” : http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/iaj0jk/parenting-with-the-enemy

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Rape Survivor Child Custody Act: New Law Says Parental Rights of Rapists Should be Terminated

The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act is a new federal law that will protect women who are victims of rape who become pregnant (as a result of rape) and decide to keep their baby.  The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act “provides an incentive to states to pass legislation providing for a means to terminate the parental rights of rapists, using the “clear and convincing evidence” standard from the U.S Supreme Court case of Santosky v Kramer.” The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act is an amendment to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA).

Text of The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act can be read here:  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr1257/text

“This bipartisan bill, which is part of the larger JVTA legislation, is an important step forward for rape survivors, who deserve commonsense protections under the law. No state should allow a rapist to use parental rights as a weapon against a survivor.” says Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Analyn Megison, Florida, is a rape survivor and co-founder/board Member of Hope After Rape Conception who helped to implement the law. Megison conceived a child out of rape only to be sued by the rapist for custody of the child. Megison says, “My basic human rights were violated when I was raped during his violent attack years ago as I plead for my dignity and humanity, but I think that one of the things I am still having to advocate for is the basic human rights of my child, and other innocent children like mine.

The dangers to women sharing custody with a rapist, and children conceived as a result of rape being forced to have contact with a rapist are real. There are stories of children who have been abused and molested by their rapist fathers. And other stories of mothers who have been harassed, stalked, and raped again by rapist fathers who used contact with the child to re-victimize the mother. A violent person, who has prior criminal offenses, and/or has committed physical and sexual violence against another person should not be given custody or visitation of a vulnerable child.

Text in the Rape Survivor Act is very clear about the risks to mother and child if forced to interact, and share custody with a rapist, “(10) A rapist pursuing parental or custody rights forces the survivor to have continued interaction with the rapist, which can have traumatic psychological effects on the survivor, making it more difficult for her to recover…(12) Rapists may use the threat of pursuing custody or parental rights to coerce survivors into not prosecuting rape, or otherwise harass, intimidate, or manipulate them.”

Every year between 25,000 – 32,000 women in the US become pregnant as a result of rape. According to one study, 1/3 of women choose to keep their baby, others choose adoption or abortion. Another study concludes that of the 73% of women who become pregnant as a result of rape and choose to continue the pregnancy, 64% keep their children. That is an estimated 10,000 custody battles per year involving rapists seeking custody of their children.

 

The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act works by giving states a federal grant money, “The Attorney General shall make grants to States that have in place a law that allows the mother of any child that was conceived through rape to seek court-ordered termination of the parental rights of her rapist with regard to that child, which the court shall grant upon clear and convincing evidence of rape...There is authorized to be appropriated $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2020. The grant money is to be used in approved programs, the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program and the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, and used as incentive for states to pass laws to terminate the parental rights of men who have been proved to be rapists, and conceived a child as a result of rape.

I applaud and support the efforts of states to terminate the parental rights of men who have been proven to be rapists, and who have conceived a child as a result of rape. However this law should also extend to anyone who has a history of violent crime, sexual assault, child molestation or child abuse. There are real cases of men who have been convicted of sexual offenses who gain custody or visitation of children. Or judges that order children must visit a parent in jail. This law is an important first step in protecting rape survivors and their children, but more must be done to reform family court overall.

Another thing I find interesting is that the use of federal funding is influencing and shaping state laws.  The incentive for terminating the rights of a man who fathered a child through rape should be based on the safety and well-being of the child, and the safety of the rape victim; these laws should be passed in the interest of public safety, not just because there is a federal grant behind it. Federal money should not be leading changes in state laws, or in the operations of our courts. You have to wonder how other parts of family court are being influenced by federal funding, and if child custody is up for sale.

What I find encouraging is that the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act is  a result of grassroots action – rape survivors, victim advocacy groups, several national organizations like the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and several state-specific sexual violence coalitions and others worked together to create and promote this law. It gives me hope that a similar effort can be rallied to effect needed reform in family court, and its systemic approach to dealing with families who have experienced domestic violence. 

— Emily Court

Photobucket: http://i865.photobucket.com/albums/ab212/myraaso/0006.jpg

Sources: 

New Law Says Rapist Shouldn’t Get Custody of His Child When a Raped Woman Rejects Abortion” by Rebecca Kiessling, Life News, 6/1/2015: http://www.lifenews.com/2015/06/01/new-law-says-rapist-shouldnt-get-custody-of-his-child-when-a-raped-woman-rejects-abortion/

People Look at Me in Horror when they Learn My Daughter was Conceived in Rape” by Analyn Megison, Life News, 8/20/2014: http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/20/people-look-at-me-in-horror-when-they-learn-my-daughter-was-conceived-in-rape/

Reps. Marino, Wasserman Schultz Applaud Passage of Rape Survivor Child Custody Act” by Tom Marino, U.S. Congressman, 5/19/2015: http://marino.house.gov/press-release/reps-marino-wasserman-schultz-applaud-passage-rape-survivor-child-custody-act

“Senate Moves Closer to Stopping Rapists from Getting Custody of Children” by Lauren Fox, National Journal, 4/22/2015: http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/senate-moves-closer-to-stopping-rapists-from-getting-custody-of-children-20150422

Also Read:

“Everything I Love is Gone: Theola Nealy v. Peter Nelson (Mother Loses Custody After Impregnated by Social Worker” : https://familycourtinjustice.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/lost-everything-i-love-theola-nealy/

(Wisconsin) Theola Nealy is a vulnerable adult who was coerced into have sex with Peter Nelson, social worker. Nelson told Nealy that if she has sex with him, he can prevent the state from taking her 2 children.

Because Theola Nealy has a mental health diagnosis, she is considered a vulnerable adult, and cannot consent to a sexual relationship. This makes what Peter Nelson did rape. According to Wisconsin law,”Minors, persons suffering from mental illness or defect, and sleeping or unconscious persons are presumed unable to give consent. Failure to resist does not indicate consent.” Section 940.225 (4). 

Peter Nelson has never been criminally charged. When Nealy became pregnant, and gave birth to a daughter, Nelson fought for sole custody and won.

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Do You Know the Warning Signs of Abusers and Child Predators?

I saw this info graphic called “Do You Know the Warning Signs of Abusers?” published by the Catholic Church in New Hampshire. http://www.catholicnh.org/child-safety/what-s-happening/

This spoke to me, everything on it is what I have been through with my abusive ex partner, Mr. X. I am re-posting the graphic and adding a few extra warning signs that I have learned from my own experiences as a survivor of an abusive relationship.

I am posting this also to raise awareness for the adults who could potentially protect a child or teen from abuse. Also posting for the Family Court and it’s judges, Guardian ad Litems, and other staff- whose decisions could place a child in the custody of an abuser, or in the custody of someone who has the potential for being a serious risk to children. Recognizing the warning signs and taking appropriate action is vital to protecting children.

My Story

The abusive relationship I was involved in began when I was a senior in high school, and a man from the local area approached me in a online chat room. We talked about a little of everything, and he made me laugh, I thought he was a nice person. Only when I met Mr. X in person did I realize that he was so much older. I dismissed my initial reluctance because I wanted to believe Mr. X was a friend. I never wanted an intimate relationship, he was not even my type — what happened after this initial meeting was a result of controlling behavior, manipulation, intimidation and various forms of abuse. Instead of growing up, and growing into my own person, my spirit was totally broken and I felt trapped in an abusive relationship that I could not escape from. I have since been able to break free but my children are still trapped in the dysfunctional home of the abuser, Mr. X, because family court awarded him sole custody. Both children suffer from psychological and behavioral problems, and have been negatively impacted by the abuse.

I fear for the safety of my children, and any of their friends that they may bring into the home. Hennepin County Family Court told me that my concerns are not warranted, and told me to stop talking about abuse but how can I be silent when I fear for the safety of my children, and other children who may come into the home?

THE WARNING SIGNS OF AN ABUSER OR CHILD PREDATOR

1) Prefers the company of children or teens to adults. 

Has few, if any adult friends. Adult friends may only be acquaintances, the relationships are shallow or need based. 

Another sign to look for is if the adult friends have a criminal or drug history, have behaved abusively, or engaged in anti-social behavior. The adult friends are dysfunctional or mistreat their own children. They may be people that you are afraid of, or people that you have been warned about.

2) Goes overboard with physical touching. Will insist on touching you or getting too close, even if you object. Does not respect your boundaries or personal space. Becomes angry, hostile or intimidating if you say “no” or try to set a boundary.

Also be aware if you asked for a friendship but the person is insisting on a more intimate relationship, or will touch you or make advances that you are not comfortable with. If you say “no” and state you are not interested, and that person is ignoring your requests, that is not healthy, and the behavior will escalate as the abuser begins to break down your will, and your boundaries.

Also watch if the person has a lack of empathy towards your needs. Does their emotional response indicate respect towards you or something else? Aggression, hostility and even a lack of emotion (they may appear to be cold, unemotional or detached) are all warning signs.

3) Bends established rules, norms. Encourages teens to break parent’s rules.

Mr. X did this but he also was very manipulative, and made it sound like he was on my side and my parent was against me. Mr. X often spoke about his own troubled childhood, and how abusive his own mother Maryian was to him in order to gain sympathy, and to win my trust.

4) Takes photographs of minors for no apparent reason.

Mr. X did this too – he carried a camera with him and took a large number of photographs of me. It got to the point where it scared me, and I would push him away, and he insisted on taking pictures, even if I felt uncomfortable. I really think the photos are a trophy for Mr. X. I later discovered in the basement a box of photographs Mr. X had of other teenage girls he once befriended. When Mr. X began to get close to his first cousin, Michelle Evills, he also took a large number of photographs of her. I found at least 100 photographs in a backpack, and remember how scary it was to see a clear pattern of behavior; that what Mr. X did to me as a young teen he is now doing with his 17 year old first cousin, Michelle.

5) Showers a child or teen with special gifts or attention. May demand the child pay him back for the gifts, which may involve doing something they are uncomfortable with. 

Mr. X did this with me, and he also adapted all of his adult interests and likes to meet my teenage interests and likes. I liked the cartoon “Winnie the Pooh” so he bought me a set of Winnie glasses. Now that I am older and think about it, makes me sick. It is not normal for an adult to be attracted to a teenager, and when an adult is showering a child or teen with gifts and attention they do so with the full knowledge of someone who is mature, and has had life experience. That child is not only vulnerable but being preyed upon by someone who is taking advantage of their innocence and trust.

Mr. X did the same thing with his cousin Michelle. Mr. X hates country music. He makes fun of country music, and calls his cousins “inbreeds” for listening to it. But Michelle (who was then 17 when he seduced her) loves country music. Mr. X then began to listen to country music and pretended to like it, just to win Michelle’s trust.

It gets worse… Mr. X wore this cologne when he met me, again I was a senior in high school just like Michelle was when he became interested in her. When the children were born, Mr. X stopped wearing the cologne. But once he became interested in Michelle, he began to wear it again for her. Mr. X even went so far as to get a treadmill, and run on it, in hopes that his fat ass would lose weight so he could fit into a pair of black jeans that he wore when he first met me. Mr. X wore those same jeans for Michelle.

6) Goes out of his way to spend time alone with a child or teen. Displays controlling behavior. Works to isolate a child or teen.

Also pay attention if friends, family, or others that you are close to feel uncomfortable around this person or express concern.

7) Shows preference for particular child or teen

8) Tries to meet up with the child outside of school or church. Promises to take the child to a special place. Promises to take the child to a place they want to visit (concert, event, vacation, party etc); the parent may have said “no” to taking the child to this place so it would be breaking the rules to take the child there.

9) Sends personal messages to child through text, message, phone, e-mail etc. Tries to conceal messages sent to child. Instructs child to keep messages a secret.

10) Provides drugs, alcohol or pornography to minors. 

11) I know this is not on the graphic but I wanted to add it because I have seen Mr. X do this, and I heard another mother talk about similar behavior.

Babies a child or teen, treats them like they are much younger than they are. It will appear that the adult is trying to keep the child immature, where they are more easily controlled. 

The adult may hold or carry the child when they are able to walk. The adult may use baby talk or invent a special language or words. The adult may insist on dressing the child in a much younger manner, or prohibit the child from becoming independent (having friends, going to school, dating, getting a job, etc). May call the child or teen by a special nickname, or a nickname that encourages immature behavior or conjures a much younger image.

Source: Diocese of Manchester, “Appropriate Boundaries” theme for April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. http://www.catholicnh.org/child-safety/what-s-happening

 

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Parental Alienation Also Hurts Siblings

“I miss my brother and sissy, parental alienation also hurts siblings”

I took this picture of my son wrapped around a pillar to symbolize the loss he has experienced being alienated from his older brother and sister.

The stone wall behind represents the concept of home, and family. The pillar is standing alone – showing the home is no longer existing, where the family is there is nothing, where the home once existed is just one pillar.

The pillar represents hope. Hope means so many things to us, especially that my two older children will one day return home, and be a part of our lives again.

Parental Alienation does hurt siblings. It destroys the family, and creates victims in the children left behind who grieve the loss of their siblings. Parental Alienation inflicts real emotional and psychological abuse on siblings who are caught in the crossfire, or intentionally made a victim.

My son wanders around the house looking for his brother and “sissy”. He cannot understand why they cannot home. And does not understand why they are so far away. Just today my son put all of his toy cars into his sister’s Hello Kitty lunchbox, and carried it with him to school. This is his way of being close to “Sissy”. My son likes to listen to the music his brother enjoys, and dances on the chair…and just when he is about to laugh really loud, he grows quiet, his face falls, and he asks where his brother is or can we go pick him up…or when will he be home. The worst part is that there is no answer for him. It is a loss without definition or closure.

— Emily Court, © May 2015

 

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