Las Vegas Event

We’d like to extend a final invi­ta­tion to join Nancy in fab­u­lous Las Vegas on Sat­ur­day, March 15, 2014, from 2:00 to 5:00 PM, at the Red Rock Casino Resort for a fun-filled meet & greet event.

Although tick­ets for the addi­tional pri­vate din­ner & break­fast are cur­rently sold out, we are keep­ing a wait list for any­one who pur­chases a reg­u­lar event ticket and would like to be eli­gi­ble to upgrade, space permitting.

Please visit the event page to pur­chase tick­ets. We’d love to see you there!

My Thoughts on Dylan Farrow

Much is being writ­ten about Dylan Farrow’s open let­ter in Saturday’s New York Times about the sex­ual abuse she suf­fered as a child, thanks to her pow­er­ful adop­tive father, film­maker and cur­rent Oscar nom­i­nee Woody Allen.

What isn’t being dis­cussed by the var­i­ous talk­ing heads on every major net­work are the hard and cold facts about child sex­ual abuse, par­tic­u­larly when this life-altering crime is han­dled by fam­ily courts dur­ing a divorce or cus­tody dispute.

Dylan wrote that, “There were experts will­ing to attack my cred­i­bil­ity. There were doc­tors will­ing to gaslight an abused child… I didn’t know that he would accuse my mother of plant­ing the abuse in my head and call her a liar for defend­ing me. I didn’t know that I would be made to recount my story over and over again, to doc­tor after doc­tor, pushed to see if I’d admit I was lying as part of a legal bat­tle I couldn’t pos­si­bly understand.”

Through my and my daughter’s own four ago­niz­ing years in fam­ily court, I saw the flaws of this impen­e­tra­ble court sys­tem up close and per­sonal.  While my case did not involve sex­ual abuse, it was no less dis­turb­ing. While I do not wish to dis­cuss the specifics of my case at this time, I can tes­tify to the anguish this sys­tem puts on the chil­dren involved in an effort to pro­tect the par­ent in question.

While I know a thing or two about the ter­ri­ble state of this country’s fam­ily courts, and I’ve tes­ti­fied in Sacra­mento about the need for judi­cial over­sight and sys­tem reform aimed at keep­ing chil­dren safer dur­ing cus­tody dis­putes, I wasn’t as famil­iar with the facts about how child sex­ual abuse sur­vivors are far­ing in the nation’s fam­ily courts.

Since so many pun­dits are bas­ing their opin­ions on “vic­tim blam­ing,” “mother blam­ing,” or a mis­un­der­stand­ing of child sex­ual abuse and the courts’ treat­ment of it, and since Dylan’s open let­ter speaks directly to the legal system’s mis­han­dling of her child­hood trauma, I want to share with you some impor­tant facts that expose just how bro­ken the fam­ily court sys­tem is, par­tic­u­larly for chil­dren who have suf­fered sex­ual abuse by a par­ent or author­ity figure.

The Cen­ter for Judi­cial Excel­lence, which tracks hor­rific cases like Dylan’s, and advo­cates for wide­spread sys­tem reform of the nation’s fam­ily courts, shared the fol­low­ing star­tling facts with me, which were com­piled by their col­leagues at Child Abuse Solutions.

Every dis­cus­sion about whether Dylan is telling the truth needs to be grounded in facts.

1) Chil­dren hardly ever fab­ri­cate alle­ga­tions of sex­ual abuse. Stud­ies ana­lyz­ing mali­ciously fab­ri­cated alle­ga­tions of child sex­ual abuse have found that chil­dren bring only 0% to 2% of such alle­ga­tions. There is no rep­utable research to sup­port the notion that chil­dren can be brain­washed to believe they have been sex­u­ally abused when they have not.

2) Mali­ciously fab­ri­cated alle­ga­tions of child sex­ual abuse are exceed­ingly rare. Most stud­ies find that only 1% to 6% of all child sex­ual abuse alle­ga­tions in cus­tody and vis­i­ta­tion dis­putes are mali­ciously fab­ri­cated. The remain­ing 94% to 99% of such alle­ga­tions are either true or were brought in good faith, based upon a rea­son­able sus­pi­cion. Stud­ies find that fam­ily law judges con­sider alle­ga­tions of child phys­i­cal and sex­ual abuse to be mali­ciously fab­ri­cated far more often than is sup­ported by the research.

3) Research has estab­lished that while moth­ers accuse fathers of child sex­ual abuse in 48% of cases involv­ing such alle­ga­tions, their alle­ga­tions are found to be mali­ciously fab­ri­cated only 1.3% of the time.

4) Med­ical evi­dence is very rare in cases involv­ing child sex­ual abuse. Even in legally con­firmed cases of vagi­nal pen­e­tra­tion, the rate of abnor­mal med­ical find­ings is only 5.5%. The rate of abnor­mal med­ical find­ings in legally con­firmed cases of anal pen­e­tra­tion is only 1%.Genital tis­sue is very elas­tic and heals rapidly. Unless the child is exam­ined by a medico-legal sex­ual assault spe­cial­ist within 48 hours of the rape, any gen­i­tal tears are likely to have healed and DNA or semen will have disappeared.

5) The sin­gle most impor­tant indi­ca­tor of child sex­ual abuse is dis­clo­sure by the child to a trusted adult. Because fam­ily courts use a civil stan­dard of proof (a pre­pon­der­ance of the evi­dence, or just over a 50% like­li­hood) rather than the higher crim­i­nal stan­dard of proof (beyond a rea­son­able doubt), sub­stan­tially less evi­dence is required in fam­ily court to meet the bur­den of prov­ing that a child needs pro­tec­tion from sex­ual abuse. NOTE– This is why the fam­ily court judge was able to deny Mr. Allen vis­i­ta­tion with Dylan despite the fact that he was never crim­i­nally charged.

6) Chil­dren who dis­close sex­ual abuse by a par­ent in the con­text of a cus­tody dis­pute are fre­quently not pro­tected from fur­ther abuse. Research shows that:

  • · Only 10% of chil­dren alleg­ing incest are ade­quately pro­tected from their iden­ti­fied per­pe­tra­tors by fam­ily courts through long-term super­vised vis­i­ta­tion orders or no-contact orders.
  • · The remain­ing 90% of chil­dren dis­clos­ing abuse receive no pro­tec­tion, with 70% con­tin­u­ing in shared cus­tody and vis­i­ta­tion arrange­ments with­out any super­vi­sion, and 20% being placed in the cus­tody of the par­ent they accused of the sex­ual abuse, and los­ing unsu­per­vised or all con­tact with the par­ent who sought to pro­tect them.

*For the spe­cific research cita­tions on all of the facts shared above, go here: http://bit.ly/1cVvM94 or visit Child Abuse Solutions.

Given this last fact, what is remark­able about Dylan Farrow’s expe­ri­ence is that the fam­ily court in her case actu­ally pro­tected her from ongo­ing con­tact with her alleged abuser.  She was part of the only 10% of child sex abuse vic­tims who are pro­tected from their abusers dur­ing and after a divorce and/or cus­tody fight.  In her case, the Judge appar­ently found her claim of abuse “more prob­a­ble than not” despite the Yale psy­chol­o­gists’ reports sub­mit­ted by Woody Allen’s attor­neys.  Much is made by Woody Allen’s camp that a group of Yale psy­chol­o­gists found that the abuse did not hap­pen and was either Dylan’s fan­tasy or that the abuse was “implanted” by Mia Far­row.  These Yale psy­chol­o­gists, how­ever, were notably psy­chol­o­gists that Woody Allen treated with, and paid.  Addi­tion­ally, they never inter­viewed the cor­rob­o­rat­ing wit­nesses and they destroyed their notes, which in these cases are never done.  It is not sur­pris­ing that the judge noted that he had reser­va­tions about the reli­a­bil­ity of the Yale report.

More impor­tantly, the State’s team of psy­chol­o­gists — note they were not hired by Woody Allen or Mia Far­row — did find Dylan’s claims cred­i­ble.  While it is true that Woody Allen was not charged crim­i­nally, the pros­e­cu­tor explained that while he had prob­a­ble cause to charge Woody Allen, he was not doing so because of his and Mia Farrow’s con­cern for the fragility of Dylan and what going through a crim­i­nal action would mean to her.  So, yes, Woody Allen has never been found guilty under the crim­i­nal code for child sex­ual abuse.  But the judge in the fam­ily court action effec­tively made the deter­mi­na­tion that it was more prob­a­ble than not that the abuse occurred and Woody Allen received no visitation.  This find­ing was upheld by an appel­late court that affirmed the judge’s order on this point.

The sys­tem fails many other chil­dren which is why The Cen­ter for Judi­cial Excel­lence and other child-focused orga­ni­za­tions are urg­ing peo­ple con­cerned about the dan­gers of fam­ily courts for child sex abuse vic­tims to sign their Change.org peti­tion demand­ing Con­gres­sional Over­sight Hear­ings on the Fail­ure of Fam­ily & Divorce Courts. Their Kids of Divorce Speak Out cam­paign also shares videos of young sur­vivors like Dylan who are speak­ing out about the cri­sis in the nation’s fam­ily courts that are steal­ing their child­hoods and harm­ing so many child abuse survivors.

We should all work to ensure that sur­vivors like Dylan Far­row are sup­ported when they speak out about their abuse. We should inves­ti­gate the facts, all of them, before form­ing conclusions.

I would encour­age peo­ple to not think of Woody Allen as a famous artist, but as a man.  No more or less spe­cial than any­one else. Whether art can be sep­a­rated from the indi­vid­ual is a per­sonal con­sid­er­a­tion and a deci­sion every­one is enti­tled to make on their own.  However, if you love Woody Allen movies, do not use your appre­ci­a­tion of Woody Allen’s art as a basis to chal­lenge Dylan Farrow’s cred­i­bil­ity.  Although for some the issue of whether the art can be sep­a­rated from the man is open to debate, for me it can­not.  I can, how­ever, state with absolute impunity that Dylan Farrow’s story and her cred­i­bil­ity is com­pletely unre­lated to how good a film­maker Woody Allen is.

I would also urge every­one to be wary of claims of bit­ter or vin­dic­tive moth­ers.  Any mother’s attor­ney will put the fear of God in a mother before abuse is ever men­tioned to a Court because of the high risk that the Court will end up remov­ing the chil­dren from her and giv­ing them to the abuser. You speak and risk removal, or you remain scared and silent. As unthink­able as this is, it hap­pens with great reg­u­lar­ity. Visit The Cen­ter For Judi­cial Excel­lence web­page and you will see just how often.

I have great appre­ci­a­tion for Dylan. Her courage to speak out in such a pub­lic way has insti­gated a long needed dia­logue about these “pri­vate fam­ily mat­ters” that are leav­ing our chil­dren unpro­tected and silenced by a sys­tem that must instead give them a voice and actu­ally lis­ten to them.

Thank you for listening,

Nancy Lee Grahn

Birthday Paradise

Some peo­ple go to church to feel the spirit. I go to a 5 star hotel. I imme­di­ately fall to my knees, praise God and sing hal­lelu­jah for the grace that is bestowed upon me to end up in these places that I love so much. My appre­ci­a­tion for a “5 star expe­ri­ence” is often matched by the uni­verse allow­ing me to fre­quent them time and again. This cos­mic exchange is never taken for granted.

Most recently, my guardian angel of 5 star hotels some­how guided me to the Ter­ranea Resort in Palos Verdes. I’ve lived in LA for the past 28 years and never knew to go to Palos Verdes. I have been up and down the south­ern and north­ern coasts count­less times but never found the gem of a coast­line in front of the Ter­ranea Resort until now.  It is par­adise.

The minute I stepped onto the prop­erty I felt the glory. The grounds are eye candy. The resort itself is prac­ti­cally per­fect in every way.

My two-day stay turned into a week. I went for two days again last week and left nine days later.

I was just there again this week­end for my birth­day. Got there Sat­ur­day after­noon, went on a three mile walk along the coast, and planted myself in the most sacred place on the hotel grounds (that will remain my lit­tle secret).  I emp­tied my mind and stared at the majesty around me. It is so easy to get tapped in, tuned in and turned on at the Ter­ranea. Had an excep­tional din­ner at mar’sel with my Kate.  It’s a 5 star restau­rant right on the prop­erty over­look­ing the ocean.  Actu­ally, every­thing you do there is over­look­ing the ocean. Slept like a baby.

Woke up on my birth­day to a beau­ti­ful sun­rise, med­i­tated, visu­al­ized many things — includ­ing see­ing a whale, and stayed in that happy trance for the rest of the day. Around 2:00 pm, per my request, three giant gray whales swam right up close to the shore­line. It lit­er­ally took my breath away, after which I screamed “Whales!!!” star­tling every­one in the spa area who were bask­ing in quiet after their spa treat­ments. After apol­o­giz­ing for scar­ing them to death, I took full credit for the whales’ grand appear­ance. The day ended as great as it started with my friends com­ing up for din­ner at Nelson’s, while we watched the sun set. Then home. Leav­ing the Ter­ranea is always dif­fi­cult, so I plan my next trip up before I’m off the property.

I am so grate­ful to have found this sanc­tu­ary. It’s a treat for the soul.

p.s. The Ter­ranea has been voted “best place to work” under the lead­er­ship of Terri A. Haak. Employ­ees seem gen­uinely happy to be there and they actu­ally like their boss. Terri is clearly doing things right.

I first heard about the Ter­ranea from Terry Nie­mann, Real Estate Sales Exec­u­tive and Direc­tor of Mar­ket­ing. I love her. We have eas­ily become fast friends. She even donated a week­end at the Ter­ranea for my daughter’s school finan­cial aid pro­gram. The folks at this resort are good peo­ple. I also want to acknowl­edge Brian Ben­nish for always being so kind and accommodating.

p.p.s. Don’t tell any­one else about this place. It’s our lit­tle secret.

Love,
me

FCW Event Tickets

Nancy invites you to start your GH Fan Club 2013 week­end with her once again! As always, the event promises to be a great time with a Q&A ses­sion, spe­cial guests, plenty of per­sonal time to talk with Nancy, get auto­graphs and pic­tures, and raf­fles, silent auc­tions, and more. The event will be held at The Fed­eral Bar.

Thurs­day, July 25, 2013
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
The Fed­eral Bar
5303 Lanker­shim Blvd.
North Hol­ly­wood, CA 91601

For fur­ther details and to pur­chase tick­ets, please visit the event page. We hope to see you there!

Realized Dreams

I dreamed up my job on Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in order to sup­port my best dream … becom­ing Kate’s mom. As a sin­gle woman, GH pro­vided me with the means to be a very avail­able mom, bring home an ample sup­ply of bacon, and love my job at the same time. As if that weren’t enough, Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal has now made Kate’s dream come true, which is to be a singer-songwriter. On April 9th, Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal will debut a song writ­ten by Kate called Pri­vate School Girls. Kate and her real life band “Trac­tion” will be back­ing up Haley Pul­los (Molly) who will sing the lead vocal dur­ing the Nurses Ball. Con­tinue read­ing

Kate Grahn on GH

In case you missed it, TV|Line shared some big news today:

Kate Grahn, the 14-year-old daugh­ter of Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal vet Nancy Lee Grahn, is set to take part in GH‘s 50th anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tion. Grahn will per­form her orig­i­nal song “Pri­vate School Girls” in the April 9 install­ment of the ABC soap, tak­ing the Nurses’ Ball stage along­side her real-life band Trac­tion and the elder Grahn’s on-screen kid Hay­ley Pul­los. The tune will hit iTunes the same day, with all pro­ceeds going to VH1′s Save The Music Foundation.

On “Girls”…

I’ve been hav­ing rela­tion­ship issues with Lena Dunham’s “Girls” for weeks now.  I’m a huge fan of Lena Dunham’s, but feel dis­con­nected from “Girls” and for some rea­son I’m angry about. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in Lena’s head. Yes, I imag­ine what she thinks about is curi­ous and inter­est­ing. But how it man­i­fests on “Girls” some­how, some­times, irri­tates me and I don’t exactly know why. My friend said this:

She is allowed to do what­ever she wants with­out any checks and bal­ances from a net­work. That’s a beau­ti­ful thing. But it’s also inher­ently self-involved and self-referential and not edited enough. It’s raw…it’s like read­ing the beat poets. But read­ing a beau­ti­fully crafted work is also beau­ti­ful, and some­thing I tend to appre­ci­ate more. I like my art curated, generally…I don’t like to look for it in a pile of stuff. But I’m glad it exists.”

I feel so much bet­ter now.

Love,
me

Lamenting Promising Lives

I’m not with­out com­pas­sion for any­one who becomes so dis­con­nected from them­selves and oth­ers that they make irrepara­ble mis­takes that they can’t take back.

How­ever, for Candy Crow­ley to focus her story about the Steubenville rape case ver­dict on the per­pe­tra­tors’ loss instead of the vic­tim was inap­pro­pri­ate at best, and dis­turb­ing at worst. The boys are not the vic­tims in this story and to treat them us such dimin­ishes and deval­ues this young woman, what she went through, and what she will con­tinue to go through.

This notion that these boys lives are now ruined is absurd. So they don’t get to play foot­ball. What a cross to bear!  And yet sadly for them and so many oth­ers, that’s the biggest loss this case rep­re­sents. I believe these boys were lucky to be tried as juve­niles. In fact, being given a 1 to 3 year time out could be life chang­ing for the bet­ter. They now have a great oppor­tu­nity to bet­ter their minds and hearts instead of their passes and tackles.