Please Meet Whitney
By I Am A Survivor Photography
Based on the childhood of Whitney White
This was my first photo shoot with I Am A Survivor Photography and I was off to meet Whitney White. She messaged me through Facebook and after some messaging and a brief phone call, her shoot was scheduled for November.
I drove the hilly, mountainous region of the Southernmost part of Missouri. The trees remained vibrant in fall colors and the weather was beautiful. Once we arrived, we saw the kids were running, and the dogs were jumping, while the chickens and the turkeys ran around by the chicken coop. This reminded me of the farm I grew up on, but they also had a beautiful lake and sparse forest scenery in the background which became our backdrop for the pictures. I wish I had taken more photos of the farm because it had a life all his own and with the kids and animals running free, I could just see the happiness on their faces as they chased their siblings playing and laughing like kids do when they are having fun together. Upon arriving and meeting the family, you would never know this was a photography session related to child abuse. You would have thought it was just a family doing a photo shoot and enjoying the beautiful weather on that 66-degree day. The sun was shining, the water was glistening, and the day could not have been more beautiful.
I debated on how I was going to post this child abuse blog to shed light on Whitney’s story. And I decided the it was best to let Whitney tell you her story based upon our question/answer time together. She did most of the talking and I did most of the listening.
This is a trigger warning for anyone who continues with this post. Some of the content contained in this blog may be hard to read for those victims and survivors who are still in the process of healing.
So, everyone, please meet Whitney.
1.) Me: “Where did you grow up?”
a. Whitney: “I grew up in Ashland, Illinois and Waverly, Illinois till Kindergarten with my mom who was a single parent.”
2.) Me: “Then what happened?”
a. Whitney: “My mom met a guy and moved to Springfield, so I spent time with both parents in Waverly and Springfield. My mom met this guy and was with him for 9 years. The last three years this man started drinking heavy and would leave us (the kids) at home alone. I would have been 11, my brother 8 and my youngest sister would have been 5. My mom would leave to get him out of the bars or get him out of trouble. He would often come home belligerent or black out drunk. He had made a few comments to me a couple years prior and would try and get me to look at his private parts. Then he took me to Chuck E Cheese. Two years later he drank from morning till night and my mom went to pick him up. He got sick in bed and my mom went to sleep with my sister. He got up in the middle of the night naked from the waist down and he came to my room and tried touching me. I told him to stop. I told my mom what he was wearing and what he had done. My mom went to DCFS and they told mom that us kids could not stay in the same house as him any longer. My brother and sister went to their Dads (different Dad) and I moved to my grandparents. “
3.) Me: “How old were you when you were molested and moved to your grandparents?”
a. Whitney: “I was 11 years old.”
4.) Me: “How did you feel when your mom’s boyfriend molested you?”
a. Whitney: “I did not understand what was happening. I was a tomboy and a stick figure. I felt like something was wrong and knew that he was wasted. “
5.) Me: “Tell me about your grandparents.”
a. Whitney: “My mom did not know that she had a different Dad until my mom was 36 years old. She was not close with parents and my Mom (Whitney’s grandma) had her adopted by another man when she was just 3 years old but later in life slipped up and told my mom that she had been adopted. I was sent to live with my bio grandpa and his wife. This is where the abuse not only continued but got much, much worse.”
6.) Me: “What did your grandparents do when you moved there?”
a. Whitney: “When I moved in with my grandparents there was court ordered counseling. My grandparents picked this guy counselor and they sat in the counseling sessions with me. They would tell the counselor that I was sexually provocative and that I was mean to my brothers, sister and animals. After I was in counseling for a couple of months, my grandpa started acting weird. I had to do summer school and when I would get off the bus, grandpa would be in the chair and had his “thing” out with porn playing in the background. I mentioned this to his wife. My grandpa started blaring the music in the morning to wake me up at 4:30 am so I would have to get up and pull weeds all around the house, then feed all the cows, horses, chickens and still have enough time to go to school. Sometimes, he would boil hard marbles on the stove and then drop the marbles under the blanket burning my legs and skin. He would surprise me whether it would be the loud music or the hot marbles each day. I was not allowed to shower and could only take a shower once per week. I had cow shit all over me and was not allowed to wear any deodorant, nor could I shave my legs. I had long hair and was a sporty girl, but his wife cut all my hair off. So now I was in junior high with short hair, no deodorant and not allowed to shower but maybe once per week. The beatings from both each day still leaves scars on my back sides. Horse whips, belt buckles and back hands leaving permanent scars in my mouth.
When in junior high, when I did take a shower, my grandpa would walk in and say that he had to pee. I would tell his wife, but she did not believe me. I cooked the dinners and served the dinners, but I only got the leftovers and had to eat it in my room. There was a time that I had dinner of a bologna sandwich. I took a huge bite and my whole mouth heated up. My grandpa had put hot sauce on my sandwich and told me I was going to fucking eat that and sat there and laughed. I then told his wife everything. About coming home from school and Grandpa having his penis out while watching porn, to peeing while I was in the shower. I told her everything. She said it would never happen again. Then she took me in the bedroom and held me down on the bed and my grandpa got on top of me and raped me. I had no phone and no way to call anyone.”
I could tell that Whitney was just ready to talk to someone about all of this, so I let her continue without interruption here.
Whitney: “I went to school and told a friend to see if she would call her mom. Kids did not want to hang out with me. At Christmas time, I would hand out gifts and not get any gifts in return. I was not to be seen, heard or looked at. My grandpa raped me several times and one time he ejaculated inside of me. Ginger grabbed a turkey baster and stuck it up inside me so that I would not get pregnant. I needed stitches. They told the nurse they did not know what happened and think it happened on the football field. I would get off the bus and they would blacken my eye. "
"I was almost 13 when it did stop. My Dad had been trying to find me this whole time. He showed up when I turned 13 but it was hard because they monitored all my calls and they would beat me up if I said anything wrong to my Dad. Once time, they made me call my Dad and tell him that I had sex with like 5 or 6 guys and it broke my heart because it was not true. “
7.) Me: “Did the abuse stop then”
a. Whitney: “No not right away. They made me wear a sign to school that said “My name is Whitney McGuire and I am a liar. My grandparents came to every class. So, I decided to stand up in one class and tell everyone in the classroom that my grandpa was raping me, and I got my ass beat, and I went to school with bloody lips from braces and my hair ripped out. I went to the principal and told the school that my grandpa was raping me, and I demanded that they call my mom or my dad. The principal said that they would and instead he called my grandpa and his wife. “
8.) Me. “How old were you and when did you get out?”
a. Whitney: “My Dad found me at 13 and came to take me out for ice cream. My grandpa said my chores were not done and my Dad said he did not care. My Dad took me, and I never went back. It took me three months to tell my Dad what happened, and I did not go into detail. He took pictures of the callouses and defined muscles from all the work. My Dad got me into counseling and told me that he would never take me back. After a short while, I did not like living with my Dad because I was rebelling and did not like the rules, so I moved in with my mom who was doing crack and meth. I started doing drugs with my mom. The first time I smoked crack was with my husband in a bathroom. I dropped out of high school and was drinking and doing cocaine. My mom started getting clean, so I started moving from friend to friend and boyfriend to boyfriend. I got away from cocaine and then started drinking heavily. I got with my oldest sons’ father and got pregnant. I did not know he was cheating on me with my cousin and that is why he wanted me to have an abortion. After my son was born, I went through postpartum and my mom took my son. I was drinking 6 or 7 days per weeks and when my son was a year and a half old, and my mom sought to take over custody of my son.”
So, this is the low point in Whitney’s life. A very, very low point where she is drinking, almost lost custody of her son and is separated from her husband.
But Whitney is a survivor. She was a survivor as a child while being victimized and did not realize her self-worth and value. She had been crushed, beaten, raped and told she was not even worthy enough to eat at the dinner table or open Christmas presents. She had been humiliated at school and tortured at home.
This is NOT where her story ends. This is where she decided that she wanted something more, something better. Real value with her husband and family and she said to me that all that she ultimately wanted was her husband and family. And 6 months later they got married. Now they are 10 years strong, with three more beautiful children and a place to call their home. They are both clean and have been for 10 years and Whitney wants to share her story with her world to end her silence. Not for sympathy but for her own peace in life. She is a beautiful woman with a gorgeous family as reflected in their photos and I am so happy I had the opportunity to meet them and spend the afternoon at their home.
We share to stop the silence. We share so everyone can hear our voices. We want people to know that these sick minded, demented child predators and molesters are people you probably already know. These are family, friends of the family, babysitters and those you keep close to your children and trust with your babies. Many times, these situations end with the child’s death and then shock ripples throughout the community as people try to understand how anyone can hurt a child. Whitney gives an opportunity to hear from an abused child who survived.
Hoping we can catch up with Whitney in the future and see where God and her life will lead her in the future. What a courageous woman with a strength that most will never understand. Thank you, Whitney, for sharing your story with me and allowing me to be a part of your life.