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Dawn Lotharius @Able_Dawn
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At 18 yrs old I began tracking down a way to stop my molester. I was ignored, blamed, shoved aside, threatened, more by the family of my narcissistic karate Sensei father than anyone other group. He ran his dojo much like a cult; I was expected to die for him.

He created, within a tiny city, his own little world of lies and debauchery. He affected so many, under the guise of being the great "Sensei" or, as he liked to call himself, "GWO, The Great White One." Parents brought their children to him, to be a "father figure"...
I saw, from watching him, how it all works. How these cold predators charm and manipulate, corner and force, to get what they want from our most vulnerable. Usually children. I had a front row seat, and an inroad to his mind; he talked to me.
He told me:
"You can say it,
you can play it,
but never write it down."

Of course times are different now. We have technology at our fingertips that can record anything. But this was a bygone era, no Twitter, no FB, no internet, and his self-advice was very effective.
He was overt in many ways, many KNEW he was doing horrific things, but he kept his undeniable sins in the dark, and his victims tied up in traumatic knots, fused by fear. I have spoken with enough to know he had distinctive patterns, often using exact same wording on his victims.
Adults stayed silent.

The church stayed silent. (He had brothers, my uncles, who were deacons in The Church of Christ.)

My family stayed silent.
(An older cousin, who he abused, was whipped for it by my grandmother, and admonished to keep quiet.)
My city stayed silent. (At 18 reported my father; I was referred to the city DA, a blind attorney, who took my statement and then blocked me. My uncle had once been mayor. I then went to a neighboring county, where he had also abused me, & spoke to a detective, and another DA.)
Those in the VA karate world were silent. (Other Sensei's knew me and my father as well as anyone could; they saw us in regular competitions over my abused years. I won many trophies, was overall national champion in 1981, so eyes were on me. I have been told most suspected.)
Teachers attacked me. (I was raising my 4 younger siblings; my father had driven my mother crazy & she was gone. I was often late for school after getting everyone else ready. My grades were a roller coaster; I was known as the "smart girl", often getting A's, then plummeting...
My mother attacked me, then she too was silent. (She was gone. She could not stand up to his mental, emotional, and physical abuse, to his manipulations, his well honed lies. He destroyed her. She became lost in alcohol, and oblivious to the extent of his abuse on any of us.)
Other victims were silent. (Some I never saw again. Some I did, they went on to be counselors, earning master degrees, working for the school system and gov't. I have empathy for their wounds, but still hold them accountable for their silence.)
My siblings were silent. (As I testified against my father, my sister sat by him in the courtroom. My brothers avoided the subject, 2the extent that, after I left VA 2avoid my father's stalking, they allowed my father 2erase my existence. My new stepmother did not know I existed.
I worked my way through college, lived on coffee&canned food, as he stalked me. I was always looking over my shoulder, he'd just show up. Once he said "One day when u turn the key it will blow up..." When word got out re his charges, he said I was blackmailing him 2pay 4college.
He also told people I was not his daughter.

The day I testified, my moral support was my counselor, Judith.
He pulled her aside as she tried 2walk into the courtroom, tried2 tell her I wasn't his biological daughter. Per him we had a consensual affair. I was 11 when it began.
I adore you 4your integrity&bravery, fully understand why you HAD TO speak out.
I could not sleep at night, I KNEW he was doing it 2someone else. I COULD NOT b silent, HOW CAN ANYONE???

There is no excuse 4silence,
it is part of the abuse.
I am standing front row, second from left, long hair, yellow belt. I was being molested during this time. On a regular basis.

My father is dead center, front row, in gi, kneeling.
I was 15 years old in this clipping, had just won the overall AAU National Karate Championships in my division. I am 2nd from left. My first name is Susan, I go by my middle name Dawn now. My maiden name was Radcliffe. I am Susan Dawn Radcliffe. From Colonial Heights, Virginia.
My father, and my molester, was Donald Alva Radcliffe. He ran several dojos, one out of the Colonial Heights Community Center, another out of the Teen Center at Ft. Lee (Petersburg, VA), another at Fort Picket (Blackstone, VA). Also at my high school, Colonial Heights High.
He liked to control people, esp women, he started young & was able to maintain his control years after they reached "adulthood". He would have "relations" with them even as they had boyfriends or husbands, even as he himself was married. I have many half siblings I've never met.
He wanted a group of "women warriors". I am on far right, 16 yrs old. And being molested by my father, my "Sensei" (he made me call him Sensei). I will leave it 2the other women in the group 2tell their stories, but I know as fact that 3 others in this pic were also his victims.
Anyone in the higher ranks were expected to give him supreme loyalty. Loyalty was everything, a religion. You could keep a secret, but not from "Sensei". You could be in love with someone else, but "Sensei" came first. I saw him break up relationships, &play with people's worlds.
When Jim Jones made his followers drink poisoned kool aid in Guyana, my father said, over and over:
"It's a beautiful thing
that so many people
had so much loyalty
for one man."

(Yes, he'd pause like that. Dramatic.)
The men that were in the club (it was named "Southside Virginia Police Karate Association", we called it "karate club") fell into basically two groups after leaving. Some stayed insanely loyal and began their own dojos, while on the flip others HATED him. He castrated boys/men.
Not everyone in "the club" was part of the underbelly. Not unlike the Dem party (ahem) there were some just there thinking they were doing something good, taking a class. He just took their money, kept his cover. He picked his victims well, went after vulnerable people, all ages.
The craziness of watching people see him as a beacon, while I experienced his darkness, &lived in fear, in his grotesqueness, ducking & dodging 2avoid him, having him sneak into my bedroom at night, pull off into parking lots after karate class to corner me, almost broke me.
As a child I fought him. I threatened 2call the police one night. I'll never forget, he sat at the foot of my bed, in the dark, naked but 4a thin robe, &hung his head. He shook it slowly, forlorn, & then, as if crying from shame, said:
"You'd call the police
on your own father?"
When he slowly slunk away I felt relief, RELIEF, too much relief to feel ashamed. But then he came back... he always came back, relentless, dogged, trying one ploy after another after another...
He told me my mother did not want to have sex, & if he didn't have sex he had glands that would swell, & he'd be in too much pain to go to work. He'd lose his job, we'd lose our house, our HOME (OMG for a child in particular that thought is so awful), and we'd be homeless.
He told me it would be an "honorable thing" for me to serve my family this way. But I was still a selfish child, I told him to go away. But I was scared.
Very very always scared. I had constant stomach aches. My mom took me to the doctor, they could not find anything wrong with me.

My dad told me if I told my mother my family would break apart. I couldn't bare it.
Which probably gave him a clue 4his next moves. He started taking me 2karate classes, pulling off afterwards, "just wanting this little bit"... it was all he wanted he'd say, 2touch me here or there, then he'd leave me alone he said. It's all he needed, 2keep the family together.
I share this in hopes it helps even one person understand how they operate, what children are up against. I'm ok, but pedos are still out there, and they still play the same games. Children are no match for them. As adults we must educate ourselves.
I have a very thick memory being cornered in a motel/apt parking lot, not so far from the elementary school near our house. I remember scooting as far as I could into the passenger door, looking down at the window roller, the arm rest, the door handle, waiting him out...
But he pushed harder the next time, & the next; we sat there longer each time, him reaching to touch me, 2see how far he could push it. He couldn't have me screaming, & in the beginning I would have. But now I lived in fear; I just wanted it 2stop. And he promised he would if...
...if I would just let him touch me on my breast. Or kiss me. I still remember turning harder towards the door, as if my small shoulder could protect my tiny breasts. And I remember his godawful smell, as he kept his hand wandering on me...
He smoked wing-tip Dutch Master cigars (that's what I remember them being called, but we also called "What-A-Burger" "Waterburger"), & the smoke smell was making me sick. I just wanted him to start the car. And he said he would, if I just let him kiss me. It was all be needed...
I never said yes, I just didn't fight him as hard, so he grabbed me by the back of my head &pushed his nasty cigar-slobber mouth on mine, gagging me w his tongue.
3things I will never stomache: the smell ofDutch Master cigars, of KY jelly, &any kiss that isn't made of pure love.
Yes, this is what children facing pedos, in communities everywhere, are dealing with. And this is just how they break down barriers. From there they have you. Once he got a kiss in, I was sunk. He told me, if I told anyone, my brothers &sister would be taken away to foster homes.
I was the oldest of five children, "mommy's little helper", the idea of my baby brothers and sister being taken away was like all the love being drained from the world. I could not even comprehend it, it put me in panic mode.
He used that leverage, coldly, calculatively. Who was I going to tell anyway? I knew instinctively no one would believe me; & if they did, they'd blame me. I was right, that is what eventually happened, but I was set up for that. I was taught 2feel responsible 4 things not mine.
By my father, yes, but also by every adult I interacted with. I tried to please, but "made them" mad if I did not fit in their square holes. Too many different people 2please, I was wretched trying, could not hear my own inner voice any more, I was in fear.
So I wore masks.
Aren't we all set up for that?

After I escaped, I looked backed wondering how in the world he trapped me so thoroughly. I'm a fighter! Well, he had help. An extremely unfair advantage. Our societal systems have been disempowering our children, disempowering us, for a long time.
What do you do
as a child, not old,
when you've been taught
to do as you're told
and the preacherman says
"Be really good
Listen to your parents,
do like you should"...
...and the teacher,
she says adults know right
and then your daddy
whispers in your ear at night
"Don't tell a soul"...
well, that's how it goes
when you do as you're told,
cuz you're a child, not old
Our children NEED us.

They need us to change, ourselves and our systems; we must support our children in being mighty, strong, beautiful, intact, true to themselves & FULL OF THEMSELVES.


And that makes no sense.

There is so much beauty in the world, and within us.

Can we believe that now?
Can we stop being afraid?
Can we clean up what the light has illuminated, and create anew?

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