Supporters of Love

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Survivor Recalls her Memory of the Children in the Easter Dresses

The Strong Ashia Hernandez-Ackov

Many times when we think of domestic violence, we think of a couple involved in an abusive relationship, but according to statistics almost five children die per day as a result of child abuse.  This story is about a child abuse victim who is all grown up now and ready to tell her story.  Ashia Hernandez-Ackov was born to an abusive father and had also been raped by four men by the time she reached high school.  When she was just a teen  her mother took her on what was then the Sally Jessy Raphael Show to discuss the rape and she says that even though she felt embarrassed by being on the show, to some degree it was a relief.  Just to be able to talk about it and get it off her chest was healing for her, even if it was in front of millions of T.V. viewers.  She later entered into a marriage with her abusive ex-husband,  which also follows the statistics about the "cycle of abuse."  Victims of domestic violence tend to become familiar with the dysfunction and therefore end up repeating their pattern of choosing abusive partners.
Ashia and her mother on the Sally Jessy Raphael Show in July of 1993. (Permission to print article granted by The Topeka Capital Journal.)  

As Hernandez-Ackov recalls her traumatic past she is still haunted by what will never be a faded memory for her.  Here is the story she wants to share in her own words:

When I was about 9 , I remember playing outside with my siblings while my mom sat on the porch watching us. A group of people with flyers approached her and I couldn't hear what they were talking about, but they looked sad and were going from grown up to grown up passing them out. When they walked away, I went to my mother to ask who they were and what they wanted. She told me two little girls were missing, ages three and six.  

I asked, "Well, did they cross the street by themselves?"  

She replied , " I don't think so hun." 

The next morning when I woke up, I remember my mom was crying and upset.  

She said, "They found the girls". 

I asked where they went all this time. 

She said, "Heaven."
Hernandez-Ackov saved the newspaper clipping when her murderous neighbor was to be tried in the killings.  (Permission to print granted by The Topeka Capital Journal.)  

These girls where found next door to the killer's home in a basement, nude and stuffed behind a wall. They were raped and suffocated. I remember how my mom held us just a little tighter than usual. I was scared, but at the same time I didn't really know what I was afraid of. We were asked if we wanted to view the babies' bodies and pay respects and I agreed to go see them. There they lie, silent, in little white Easter dresses with pink flowers and tiny hands folded across their chest. They looked like me. 
Hernandez-Ackov now with her beautiful children.

If I live to be 100, I will never forget that day and as I got older I promised myself , one day i will stop this from ever happening again.   In reality I know it isn't possible to completely shut this "epidemic" down, but I will try my best.  As a rape victim myself and going on later to marry an abusive ex-husband, I want to create a foundation called Children Of  Rape and Incest. a.k.a. C.O.R.I.

Hernandez-Ackov has gone on with her life and has had a family of her own.  She is married to a loving husband now and has taken on the ambitious job of  homeschooling  her children.  She even started sewing two years ago and admits that she enjoys having a creative outlet for her energy.  What has become of all that sewing?  Well, this savvy lady has created her own online store called Mismatched Misfitz which she describes as "...a junior fashion store specializing in sizes 2-12."  She wants to use the funds for all her hard work from her hand-made fashion line to create C.O.R.I.

Here is how she describes her dreams to start her own foundation:

  • Promote awareness. After I was assaulted, I was teased relentlessly by classmates. I felt dirty, like it was my fault. I had no idea I went to school with other victims. If I had known, maybe it would have been a little easier for me to deal.

  • Create a life long, support group for all survivors and their families. Some days are easier than others and some days I just glide by without a thought. Other days I fall into such a fog of blame that I really need someone else who knows how I am feeling just to talk with and offer that shoulder to cry on. The emotional pain never goes away.

Scarf Dress, $45.00

  •  Train others to spot children in need or children who may be victims. What I have noticed personally, is that they may have body odor or just be unkempt, because they are afraid to undress or shower in their own home. They feel that maybe if I just lie here silently he won't come and abuse me tonight. A lot are bed wetters and smell of urine, so we need to learn to spot these children and approach them in a way that won't make them feel uncomfortable.   

Purchase of this hand-made piece helps Hernandez-Ackov's charity, $30.00

  • Raise funds. I want to dedicate a stone wall carved with every known name of a child who has been raped and murdered, so that people can physically see the damage in numbers and honor these helpless "fallen angels".

Rodeo Drive, $45.00

  • Stricter laws. What we have just isn't working.  A child rapist should face a life sentence, that is my opinion.  I want the nation to join me in creating this foundation that will make the world a safer place for our littlest loved ones. 

Hernandez-Ackov has already started a petition to increase stricter laws.  This particular advantageous  patina is another subject close to her heart.  One of the rapists from her assault that she discussed on the Sally Jessy Raphael Show was released from prison only eighteen months later and shot a friend of hers while he was out on parole. 

This is the article from her friend's death that resulted in the arrest of her "out on parole" rapist.  (Permission to print granted by The Topeka Capital Journal)
Ashia Hernandez-Ackov is pleading with the public to please help change the laws against child abusers, rapists, molesters by signing THIS PETITION.   

I spoke with Ashia Hernandez-Ackov last week and she is as uplifting as she is charming even with all the tragedy that she has experienced in her life.  She is not going to let the negative events that have happened to her keep her from living a healthy, productive life and find ways to heal by giving back to those who cannot help themselves...our "littlest angels."
Mr. and Mrs. Ackov, grassroots activists for C.O.R.I.


  1. I just wanted to say how hard it is to TELL your story. People have no idea how many sad stories, and incidents like these occur daily. The truth is its hard to experience, and sometimes even harder to talk about. Strength is born through expression. By having the nerve, and ability to tell stories like these, we become survivors, not victims. Thank you Ashia for sharing. We love you girl.
    Elizabeth Newell CFP

  2. That's right, Elizabeth, and Ashia, believe it or not is quite shy! This should give others the inspiration to SPEAK OUT about your experiences, even if you don't want to tell it to the world, tell someone.

  3. I had to speak up, it is my purpose here on this earth :)

  4. Gawsh, people are so amazing. It is an incredible feat to be so brave. So much to admire here.

    Yes, I think that because of courageous people like Ashia other victims can be inspired to speak. Wonderful post, Meredith on a extraordinary person.

  5. Some people are scared to speak are gona inspire people to do the same...the laws need to be more stricter than what they are now, especially for the children who can not defend themselves...I WILL STAND WITH YOU GIRL!!!

  6. I am hoping that through our efforts here at The CFP and other initiatives like CORI that we can really start this dialogue, because people still want to sweep these issues "under the rug." Well, guess where the issue stays when that happens...under the rug. Once it is OUT it loses its power gradually and we can shape different attitudes in our society regarding abuse. That will not happen if we can't talk about it.

  7. Good job ladies and Good luck.
    Abuse of any kind is NEVER acceptable.
    Thanks for having the courage to tell your story.

  8. We appreciate all the support and kind words regarding Ashia's story and abuse in general. It is my readers, supporters, sponsors, and the people who have the courage to speak out that will make change in this world.

  9. Glad that you shared your story, and finally found a loving man to support you and stand by your side thru thick and thin. God bless you and your family.

  10. Wanted to share a happy update on this monster. God grant the girls mother, Pam, some peace.