i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

If your molester is dead your charges are unfounded


When I was a child and I felt sad, I would sit over a heating vent on the floor, and put my face in the warm air coming from the forced air furnace in the basement.


When the police officer in Canada sent me the email summarizing the police report from 1997, I sat by the gas fireplace and hugged my knees to my chest. I turned my face towards the heat and tried to find comfort in the warm air.

I slept on the carpet in front of the fireplace the night I received the e-mail. The gas fireplace was on all night.


I tried to find comfort in the same way I did as a child.


The answer was not what I had expected. I was alarmed.

Please be aware of the fact that since we were not able to interview or question Mr. Schack with respect to the allegations, this file is deemed to be “unfounded”.  Don’t be alarmed by the status of the file, it simply refers to the fact that we couldn’t prove the allegations that you brought forward.


Merriam Webster on-line, said unfounded was: lacking a sound basis : groundless, unwarranted <an unfounded accusation>

The Free on-line dictionary said unfounded was: 1. Not based on fact or sound evidence; groundless. 2. Not yet established.

The police  couldn’t prove the allegations because the man who molested me was dead.  The man we called Uncle Carl, had molested me. The police couldn’t prove it, but it was still my truth. The reason I had tried to find him in the first place was to try and protect other children. They are protected now because he is dead.

The sargeant was able to locate a person with the same name and age of your suspect who was believed to be living in Western Canada.  He coordinated a number of requests with the RCMP in an attempt to locate Mr. Schack, only to discover that he was deceased as a result of a self inflicted wound. – From the summarized police report 1997

The email with the police summary was sent to me on February 21, 2013. Today is September 7, 2013. For the past six months and 17 days, the word, “unfounded”   has whispered to me.

unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded


This story has sat in the rough draft file of my WordPress blog for months. Six months and 17 days, to be exact. I didn’t want to write about this part of the story.  No, that is not completely true. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write this story. I didn’t know what to say. I felt shame.

And I am eight again wanting someone to believe me.

And I am fifty-four sitting in front of the gas fireplace.
And I am fifty-four  trying to live in the present and not in the past.
And I am fifty-four saying to the little girl who lives inside of me.
The little girl who wishes her past was different.

“It’s okay Pamela. He can’t hurt you anymore. You don’t need to find his gravesite to be healed from the wounds he caused you. You can live today with joy. You don’t have to feel shame because of the police report. God loves you, and Jesus love you. Jesus will always love you.”

I don’t know how to forget the past. I told my friend Suzanne that I wanted the story of my childhood to be over. I wanted a period at the end of the sentence. The end of my story was going to be when I found the grave-site. I had visualized the grave-site like a serialized TV movie. A close up shot of me putting flowers at his grave, and then a wide-shot as I walked away.

Suzanne said, “There will never be a period at the end of the sentence. You will see something and you will remember.”

I know she is right. My past is always in the back of my mind. When someone wants to spend time with my child. I am protective, cautious. If I see a Japanese doll I remember the doll he gave me.

So perhaps the healing I seek will not come from forgetting the past. There is no crisp line marking where I “get over it.”  Healing won’t come from forgetting, but from the accepting that I can not change the past.

Live boldly today. Make today count, and yesterday will become a shadow that no longer touches you.

Today, the sun is shining. Today I am alive. Today I can live boldly. My past doesn’t have to define my present. Today I delete the word unfounded.

 So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality. You can say: This did happen to me. It was that bad. It was the fault & responsibility of the adult. I was—and am—innocent.
The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis” ― Ellen Bass

This did happen to me.
It was that bad.
It was the fault & responsibility of the adult.
I was – and am innocent.
My story is based on fact.
It is not groundless.

unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded  unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded unfounded

 Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
Helen Keller

I will take Helen Keller’s advice. I will keep my face to the sunshine.

I don’t see a shadow.

I can not choose my past. I can not change my past.

Today, I can change. I can choose my attitude. My future will be made by the choices I make today. ( Would you like to tweet this. Please click here. tweet, tweet.)

 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.

Isaiah 61:7 NIV

I choose joy. I choose everlasting joy. 

I will keep my bottle of Joy dish soup beside my sink. and I will pray to always embrace joy in my life.

Joy is a choice.

I choose joy. Today and always.

What do you choose?

Will you consider buying  a bottle of Joy dish soap? When you wash your dishes  be reminded of how much God loves you . When I wash my dishes,  I will have the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.

Please let me know if you want to be in the Joy Dish Soap Player Team  Just leave your name in the comments, and I will write your name on a 3×5 card by my sink. You don’t have to go into detail about your life. God knows your past and your pain.

Just say, “Add my name to your list. Please put me on the Joy Dish  Soap Prayer Team.

Three times a day when I wash the dishes I will pray for you. Some days It may only be once a day. Some days I write all day and won’t do any dishes.

And will you please add my name to your list?



These writings refer to Carl Shaack, a Canadian man who died in the early 1990’s. Any resemblance to the name or likeness of any other person using the name Carl, Carl Shaack, or Uncle Carl, is purely coincidental.


My story of childhood abuse is here: Warning, Some of the stories are graphic.


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

Feature Box

Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Pingback: Sexual Abuse Victims have an extreme need to be perfect()

  • Janet Rhea

    I am in tears and my heart is beating so fast because this whole story brings back memories that I have experienced in one way or another and with different individuals at different times. I came across your name a little earlier while searching about forgiveness of the abuser when the abuser is deceased. I forgave my own dad about 4 yrs ago only 3 days before he passed away. We had been estranged for about 25 yrs . But ONE of the other sex abusers was my stepfather. He has been deceased for several yrs now and that is the particular individual that I feel as though I am having difficulty with right now. Sometimes it seems as though it could be the easiest because he is dead. A few weeks before my 13th birthday, I ended up in foster care as a result of the sex abuse beginning at age 5. Never went to court until other abuse was brought out in the open with my siblings. By then I was 23 and was married and had my own 3 year old son. Because 5 of the other children were finally in foster care and the oldest and my mother were taken to a shelter, after all those years, we were finally going to court. He ended up dying before final court date. So the public never knew….. the public never heart the words “guilty” but I knew he was guilty. I knew a whole lot more things that he was guilty of that has never been shared in my whole life, except with a couple of other people. I still “see” him when I am out in public as if he still lives but when an individual will turn a different angle or I get closer, then I realize that is really isn’t my stepfather. But as far back as age 4 or 5 (I’m now 51) I can remember seeing all the physical abuse, sex abuse, mental abuse and verbal abuse that he put my mother and 6 younger siblings through and that is the part that makes it so hard for me to forgive him. I just want to feel released from his control. I still feel contolled by him sometimes even though he is dead. I guess I have a harder time with it because I am not able to confront him face to face. Even though that was not anything I wanted to do again either. Do I have to go through this whole process of dealing with the forgivenesss of each person my whole life that I let have this control over me with this kind of abuse. Thank you so much for your time .

    • Dear Janet,
      I pray you will feel safe. I pray for healing from your childhood abuse. Holding on to the past only hurts our future and steals of our joy today. I am learning myself how to move foreward, Some days are better than others. And the good days happen more than then did in the past.
      A friend, Mary Demuth, will be releasing a new book on February 10th called, “Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing After Sexual Abuse. I am just reading it now, and will be reviewing it on my blog. I will send you the link to the review your e-mail address.
      You are not your past. The past is not your fault. Today choose joy.

      • Janet Rhea

        thank you Pamela for those comforting words. I just have to be reminded some days…..(((((hugs)))))

  • Robn Patrick

    Yes, I know.

  • Pamela,
    We are sisters already, but I too live with the words unfounded. Except mine were, “Not guilty.” I have to know that God knows and that is enough.

    Love you Pamela. I want to be part of the prayer team.

    One of the best books I have read and worked through and continue to go through is called, Making Peace with Your Past, by Tim Sledge.

    • Anne,
      I pray for you and the word you live with. Thank you for the book suggestion. I will try and find it.

  • renee

    My Dear Pamela–we are sisters walking down the same road. I pray for you–not when I’m doing dishes but when I’m cleaning out the litter boxes! I wonder if we are doing that at the same time! My prayer is that you continue to stand in your truth, have the strength and courage to believe that you are “found”.

    Be Blessed.

    • Renee,
      We are both “found.” I will now pray for you when I clean the litter boxes. And that is often, so you will get a lot of prayer.

  • Pamela, I will find ‘Joy’ as soon as I reach SA on Friday.
    Like La I have no words, only tears.

    • Ah, thank you for tears. You hug the little girl with your tears.

  • You know I want to be on the Joy Dish Soap Prayer Team! I have Palmolive but I will pray for you too when I do the dishes.

    Pamela, I pray that God would use your trial for good, even as Joseph’s brothers meant to destroy him, but instead he rescued his whole family from the famine. “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Gen 50:20)

    I know God is faithful to do that, and I suspect you have already helped many people with your courage and honesty. And you will help many, many more.

    I like what Stacey said below, let’s bury that word “unfounded” forever and replace it with ” justified, right and true.” Love you, friend.

    • Thank you Kathleen. Yes, lets replace unfounded. It is time. Today I have much joy.
      Love you too friend.

  • La McCoy

    No words.
    Just tears.
    I will work on Joy. Lmc

    • Love your tears friend. Thank you for caring.

      • La McCoy

        This was a Hard one, Pamela. Lmc

  • margaret simon

    Yesterday I was invited to an intimate gathering with the intention of appreciating poetry, but what happened was a beautiful connection with conversation. One of the women there said, “because I have been to the bottom and survived, I can find joy in every day.” That is my hope for you. I hope you can forgive yourself. That is most important. Carl has already been forgiven because he is now in heaven. Who you need to forgive is you. That little girl in you. I am so glad you are willing to share that most vulnerable part of yourself in this most public way. Writing is therapy. Yesterday, we also talked about how writing brings us to the rawest, most painful part of ourselves. I will pray for you today. Continue to heal and continue to bless others with your most joyful self. God bless you.

    • Thank you for your prayers Margaret. There is joy in each day. I love the sunshine.

  • kathunsworth

    Pamela, I can’t even imagine the pain you have endured over the years. Your story is heartbreaking and I hope and pray you have found some place where you can tell that little girl inside you, she is loved and is such a valuable soul in this universe. Hugs to you, there will be so many who can relate to your words.

    • Kath,
      Thank you for your kind words and for your prayer. Today is a good day. The sun is shining and the hurt is gone. Joy replaced the sorrow.

  • Stacey

    I’m finding words won’t do justice here…

    Thank you and so proud that you wrote this! Thank you for sharing such deep and personal parts of your story.

    Here are some antonyms to unfounded:


    I think these words describe you (and what you write) perfectly. =)

    • Thank you for the list of words Stacey. I read them 11 days ago when you commented. But I walked away from this post for a few days. It was hard to write. I will write down the words you gave me and put them in my notebook. Thank you.

  • oddznns

    Pamela, we don’t get Joy soap here. But I will pray for you when I wash up at my kitchen sink.
    Choose joy! On a Sunday, when we stop to consider how great He is, Yes!
    Be well…

    • Thank you for praying for me when you wash the dishes. Yes, God is great. Thank you.