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Family Watchdog
Welcome to April! Spring has sprung! Or at least it is starting to look like it!

Spring means flowers, floods and tornados! Do you know what to do in an emergency weather situation? Have you checked and made sure you are prepared in a bad weather emergency? Please check out this website by FEMA on tornado safety. Click here to go to FEMA's website

Also, with warm weather children will be outside playing more. Be aware for children on bikes.

Before letting your children hit the neighborhood and play, you should check out www.familywatchdog.us and see if there are any new threats to be aware of. Maybe an offender moved into your neighborhood and you are not aware? Awareness is your best defense! Check out our site and have a sit down conversation with your children on what to do if they encounter strangers, especially the people we have on our site. You can never be too safe when it comes to your family!
 
Flood  Did you know that April is National Sexual Abuse Awareness month? The reason so many of us use Family Watchdog is to prevent sexual abuse happening to ourselves and others. Or maybe you or someone you know has been sexually abused. Well this is the month to get the word out there about sexual abuse. We will be posting things on our Facebook throughout the month, but we cannot do it all on our own. Check out a really awesome site dedicated to sharing the awareness. (http://www.nsvrc.org/saam). They also have a day of action on April 3rd, where they ask you to change your profile picture, status updates and tweets to something in regards to spreading the awareness. Let’s help spread the word!

Children are the most important thing to all of us. So lets talk about Child Abuse Prevention, because the whole month is dedicated to this topic as well. Do you know the signs of child abuse? Maybe you have had your suspicions, but have been too afraid to call. Well this is the time to take a stand for the children who cannot speak. Visit Prevent Child Abuse America today to see what you can do to help. Whether it be helping a neighbor to helping your own child, help out someone. You can donate clothes and toys to shelters for the abused. And if you need to report child abuse, use this website to find the number you need to call. Click here to report abuse - We have made it easy for you to help out if you can.

And finally our last topic: Autism Awareness month. Check out all things Autism related at the Autism Society’s webpage. http://www.autism-society.org/

But we want to bring out awareness for ALL the special needs groups. And right now, we want to highlight bullying with these special kids. After all, it IS child abuse prevention month. Children with visible and invisible disabilities are significantly more likely than their peers to be the victims of bullying behavior. The type of bullying experienced often differs according to the child's disability. (But we believe that NO child should be bullied!)

One more thing on Autism, and it's a FACT: It may seem that autism is a wholly negative diagnosis. But almost everyone on the autism spectrum has a great to deal to offer the world. People with autism are among the most forthright, non-judgmental, passionate people you'll ever meet. And if you have ever met someone with autism (or any other mental disability) it would be a lie to say they haven't touched you in one way or another.
 
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A letter from one of our followers, LeAnnn:

‘Several years ago, while I was at work one evening, my oldest daughter called me. She was concerned about her 13 year old sister’s web page. She asked if I had seen it; I had not. She told me there was a lot of things on there about “cutting" and she was speaking about a “boyfriend". I took a break from work and called my 13 year old. I asked her about her web page and its contents. She mentioned something about her “boyfriend". I told her “you don’t have a boyfriend". She said yea, I met him a few months ago. I told her “no, you don’t understand what I'm saying. You do NOT have a boyfriend. You are 13!

I made all attempts to get as much information as I could about him (all this while I was at work). I was finally able to get his first and last name, told my daughter I had to get back to work, and we would talk more after I got off work at 11pm. I hung up and immediately called my other daughter back. I gave her the name and asked her to check sites. Find anything you can on this guy. She called me back a half hour later and said “Oh God mom. I checked the sexual offender site (http://www.familywatchdog.us) and he's on there. I was stuck at work, furious, scared to death, and I couldn’t leave for another hour. Finally 11pm came… and went. Then 11:30. Then 12. My relief was over an hour late. I look back now and think it was meant to be, as if I had left for home right after finding out, I may have acted seriously different. I went home, checked the site, and began talking to my daughter. I explained what we found on the site. She told me that the “guy" had already told her about it and how it was all a mistake and he was wrongly convicted. I told her that he was convicted of molesting another child; a 13 year old that had, I believe, a mental disability. I asked her why she didn’t tell me she was “seeing" someone and she said that he had told her not to as “your mom wouldn’t understand".

I explained I had to call the police. My daughter understood. The police came, talked to me, then her, then me. He explained that no actual intercourse had occurred, according to my daughter, but that other “things" did. He also explained that my daughter admitted the guy had her skip school and spend days at his house, where he provided drugs and alcohol.

Now, my daughter was a very large girl; obese. Her self-esteem was in the trash, and she was desperate to “fit in" with all the other kids who had boyfriends. This guy told her how beautiful she was, how good she was at (what she did to him). And how he was going to marry her and give her a big house and a family, etc. He told her everything an over-weight, low self-esteem, hungry for love 12 year old would want to hear. He was good. I asked the police what was going to happen and he said it would be turned over to the investigator and I wasn’t “allowed" to do anything. I asked him how he expected me to not to anything when all I want to do is go to his place and rips his arms off. Then I asked him if this was his 12 year old daughter, what would he do, and he told me “I would go to his house and rip his arms off.

I found out later, the guy lived a few blocks from the elementary school, and a few blocks from the library that all the young kids use for school. He had been to my house, meeting my daughter in our garage. Also found out he was using the internet at the library to pick up other middle school girls.

I ended up pulling my daughter out of school and home schooling her for a year. She and I hid in the house for that year, while we dealt with the knowledge that he was out roaming free, still going to the library, still hitting on little girls. And, until the investigation was over and the police were positive they had a solid case… we stayed invisible to the world. Even simple outings like a trip to the grocery store was done late at night or when we saw his name signed on, through our computer.

During all this, we found out there were 4 other girls, all the same age, all the same self-esteem issues, all over weight… were all being told the same thing. Yet, my daughter and I were the only ones willing to go through with the legal process. Every other parent told us they just wanted it to disappear and they wouldn’t do anything to help us. So we trudged it…. alone. Finally he was charged with, I think, 5 or 6 different charges. We went to court, he was given a short amount of time, a strike (for the 3 strikes law), and nothing more. My daughter and I were allowed to speak in court and tell our feelings, which we both did readily. One of the other girls showed up with her mom. The girl seemed proud “we" had gotten him off the streets, yet she had done nothing to help. I remember feeling… almost used that she was there, taking some of the credit, while my daughter and I went through all the pain of it. The guy spent his 21st birthday in prison. He was released a year ago. My daughter has seen him a few times, but quickly looks elsewhere. He knows where she works and where she lives. It took my daughter 7 years to move past all that and, even today, I still hear her pain. I know she still wants that house, and marriage, and family and, somewhere in her, I know she wants to believe he would give it to her. But I also know there's a part of her that is angry her childhood was stolen, she was lied to and used, and she couldn’t even join her class in graduation because of the school missed... because of him. He ruined our lives for a long time. But I think I've finally convinced her to move on and not give him the satisfaction of knowing how much damage he did."

Check in next month when LeAnn’s daughter weighs in with an open letter to teens!
 
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REMINDER: IRS tax deadline is April 15th. Make sure you get them in!

We here at Family Watchdog would like to wish you a warm and safe spring!

If you are interested in a free PDF file of our brochure, please email Jane@familywatchdog.us. These are great for posting around school, the workplace or even the apartment complex. They do not show offender's profiles, they simply show how to use our site and get the most out of it. There are two styles to choose from, a front/back foldable brochure or a simple flyer style. Please let Jane know which kind you would like.

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