June 28, 2021

Ep 104 - One of Many with Melinda Prince

Ep 104 - One of Many with Melinda Prince

TTU: Episode 104 – One of Many with Melinda Prince Show


Episode Summary

Hello and welcome to Thru the Undertow. This week’s episode is

our One of Many series where we interview parents that are raising survivors.

Today’s guest is Melinda Prince. Please note: Episode was recorded in April (reference

to Sexual Assault Awareness Month). Also, Melinda was at home when we

interviewed so you might hear some background noise indicative of that.

Guest Bio


Prince is a mom who’s family has been going through a difficult journey, and

who also began a Facebook support group for parents whose children were

sexually abused.



Ab*se, R*pe, D*mestic Vi*lence, S*xual ass*alt, PTSD, fl*shback, verb*l ab*se,

phys*cal ab*se, r*pe k*t, sex off*nder, p*role bo*rd, vict*m imp*ct stat*ment


points of interest:

01:07 –

Thank you, Melinda for joining us.

02:15 – Who


03:40 – How

long was abuse going on for?

04:09 – One

piece of the puzzle vs the whole picture

06:15 – Melinda’s

daughter’s relationship with her dad changed.

08:04 – Oh

that makes sense now.

08:39 –

Affects every kid differently.

08:51 – What

happened when Melinda’s daughter disclosed.

10:23 – Melinda

called her friend a Guardian Ad Litem

11:02 – Went

to the police to have daughter and son both give statements. Melinda was

allowed to be present.

12:40 –

Melinda’s daughter held her head in shame. Melinda’s son, an emotional eater,

would disclose some information then request a snack. It was very uncomfortable

for him.

13:40 – Case

was handed over to a separate county do to multiple assaults and bio-dad lived

in county case was referred to.

13:45 –

Melinda spoke with the criminal investigator to express concerns over the

justice system in smaller rural towns (like where she and ex resided). Criminal

investigator assured her that she would keep an eye on things. She was amazing.

15:11 – Dad

was released on his own recognizance. Melinda was concerned dad would take kids

and run.

16:20 –

Melinda got a call from the prosecutor’s office wanting more information. Melinda

had to take daughter and son for forensic interviews (she was not present for

these). She also had to take her daughter for a rape kit. Her daughter was 12.

18:10 – Dad

was arrested at that point.

19:01 –

Prosecutor called to tell Melinda that he wanted to offer dad a plea deal. **BACK

UP - The county doesn’t have a grand jury for felony crimes where charges were

officially filed. So in order to carry the case over to trial they had to have

a pre-trial hearing that would open daughter up to questioning. Daughter


20:38 - Judge

overseeing the hearing was first day on the bench. He found there was enough

evidence to hold it over for a trial.

21:00 – **FORWARD

TO – The Prosecutor called to tell Melinda he wanted to offer dad a plea deal

of 120 DAYS in the sex offender assessment unit. Told her he was going to do it

whether Melinda agreed or not. The kids might not be good witnesses. Melinda

was adamantly against it because the prosecutor had to drop off the part of the

charges that said WITH A CHILD.

23:21 –

Melinda asked her lawyer friend if there was anything they could do. Friend

stated that if Melinda’s daughter could give a powerful enough impact statement

the judge could throw out plea deal and make it go to trial. Melinda’s daughter

gave a powerful statement and the judge listened.

24:27 –

Melinda’s ex-husband asked if he could also make a statement. His statement was

all about how he was scarred as well, and now they would both have to live with

their scars. Judge did not handle it well.

25:10 –

Judge laid down his sentence. Bio-dad only had to do the 120 days to start off.

As soon as he got out of the program, he began dating a female felon who had a 10

year old daughter. Was violating parole at that point. They sent him back to

prison at that point. Dad was placed in a sex offender unit.

26:48 –

Melinda’s youngest son was hospitalized because he was grieving his dad so much

that he became suicidal. Melinda reached out to dad in prison to have him speak

with the son. Lots of reasons why she did that.

28:06 – Melinda’s

daughter ran off and got involved in a domestic violence situation with a boy. Her

daughter was doing well in school, making good grades and active in extracurricular

activities and still ran off with this boy and let him cut her off from her

entire family.

28:23 –

Would Melinda’s daughter have made a choice like that if it weren’t for her


29:37 – Dad

had a PAROLE hearing less than THREE MONTHS after going back to prison! Melinda

had to go and argue to the parole board.

30:05 –

Every bit of justice that Melinda and her family have gotten is because they

have fought for it.

30:31 –

Another parole hearing in June of last summer. Melinda recognized at that

parole hearing how little her ex-husband cares for what he did to his children.

31:15 –

Melinda discusses some of the questions the parole board asked her ex and his

responses to give you an idea of the way that some perpetrators think.

33:19 –

Melinda’s ex only really showed emotion when he was so happy to report that he

was able to get his paralegal license while in prison. The parole board was not

impressed. He will not be released until June of 2025.

33:39 – Prisoners

who have chosen victims that are children will not have completely accurate

“good behavior” in prison because the people they choose to victimize aren’t in

the population that they are currently living in.

34:13 –

Melinda’s ex was told that he would have to complete the MoSOP program before

he could be released. The lady on the parole board was very clear that she

didn’t feel that she could release him because he would reoffend.

34:53 – Last

phone conversation that Melinda had with her ex, he told her that this was all

her fault and that her daughter should just get over this and move on because

this happens to hundreds of kids every day. Melinda called Parole Board to pull

the phone call.

36:31 –

Neither of Melinda’s sons have contact with their father.

37:01 –

Because Melinda lives in a small town, many people are aware of the situation

and there are several times that it has been used against the kids.

37:52 – A

lot of people assume that the trauma only affects this one area when that isn’t

true. You have to parent them differently, and often we are judged harshly.

39:59 –

Melinda tells us about her Facebook group that she created. She started it four

years ago and just reached 500 members.

40:51 – The

group is important because it’s difficult to talk about even with your friends

because they can become uncomfortable. There’s also just not much in the way of

resources for parents.

43:43 –

Parents spend all day advocating for their kids but miss out on the resources

that they also need – so they have to hunt for these as well.

44:35 –

Other people can often take coping mechanisms personally and try to dictate

someone’s healing journey. Melinda gets angry about that, but she also has told

her daughter that she has to work on healing.

45:20 –

Melinda’s daughter has opted not to do therapy. She feels that it brings back

the night terrors that she initially experienced after she disclosed her dad’s


46:07 – It’s

nice to speak to someone who understands and has your back. Melinda has spoken

to other moms at all hours to walk them through their experiences. Plus, on the

group with the various places that we all live and the varied experiences that

we’ve all had, there’s a lot of help.

48:16 – Melinda

hopes that the people in the group can work together to be a voice so that we

can see laws changed and more severe punishments in place. She also hopes that

people can be their for each other.

51:00 –

Melinda says she feels the group helps her feel better about herself. She’s

learned that there’s nothing wrong with her feelings and the way she is

processing things. She’s also learned that there are things she didn’t do that

she probably should’ve – like self-care.

51:39 –

Mom’s often forget about our own self-care in these situations. We are very

important in these situations to take care of our children.

52:23 – We

are all angry. Melinda wishes she would’ve gone to a wreck room or taken her

daughter to one to smash some things and get the anger out.

53:07 –

Melinda discusses her daughter’s first PTSD episode.

54:40 – Melinda

wonders if other parents think “what if” this hadn’t happened to their

children. Nicole agrees that many parents do. We don’t know who our children

would’ve been if they didn’t go through this trauma.

57:22 –

Melinda’s daughter got her first tattoo in honor of Sexual Awareness Month

(episode was recorded in April). She got the eternity symbol with the Sexual

Assault Awareness colors and below it says SURV;VOR.

58:10 –

There are ups and downs about Melinda’s daughter’s life going forward. Will she

succumb to messages that her perpetrator told her or will she be able to hold

on to the messages that Melinda tells her instead. That she’s amazing and

worthy and no one has the right to control you.

59:24 –

Parents of sexually assaulted children deserve to know that their children are

not defined by this experience alone. They are worthy of love and they are

amazing in their own way.

59:54 – Melinda

discusses her past of growing up in a home with abuse, neglect, and domestic

violence. She had made a promise to break the cycle but was unable with the

abuse her ex perpetrated on her daughter. Now she hopes her children are able

to achieve that goal.

01:01:42 –

Melinda and Nicole discuss guilt.

01:02:12 –

Melinda and Nicole discuss Marissa Cohen. She will be a future guest on our

show. (One example of explicit language here)  

01:03:36 –

Nicole discusses her background a little with Melinda.

01:04:59 –

Nicole explains how plea agreements can be detrimental to society because

offenders are given a level of how dangerous they are. When plea agreements

drop portions of the crime the perpetrator committed their level is inaccurate

to the danger the present.

01:05:47 –

Our kids aren’t able to see themselves how we see them.

01:08:32 –

Melinda’s daughter initially didn’t want her dad to go to jail when she first

disclosed. She was also afraid that he would never love her again. Melinda told

her daughter that is not the kind of love you want.

01:09:07 –

Melinda admits that she thought her ex would get the help he needed in prison,

but that she was very wrong about that. Nicole agrees that the services for

many prisoners aren’t enough to treat the underlying issues of the reasons for

the initial offense. They also discuss the Sex Offender Assessment that

Melinda’s ex went through, and how it should’ve been the very starting point

before they even put any type of sentencing on the table. Unfortunately, they

rated him as minimum risk from that program.

01:10:42 –

Melinda explains that her ex only had the one charge that he committed out of

town in his county against his daughter. So they didn’t even go after him for

all the other times he committed these crimes. In particular during times that

events took place across state lines. It’s also difficult that children have to

“disclose” multiple times to multiple people/services.

01:12:46 –

Melinda was able to take his portion of military disability that went towards

his kids.

01:13:35 –

Melinda’s son that witnessed the assault will graduate a month before his dad

gets out of prison.

01:14:19 –

People never completely get over this. They just find a new normal.

01:15:10 –

Marissa’s website has many resources. (We’ll post the link below and on her


01:15:35 – Nicole

explains that she began this podcast because of how many people had a similar

experience in some what to what she or her children were going through. We

should talk about it more if it’s that pervasive.

01:16:47 –

Melinda tries to attend candlelight vigils and such because sometimes there are

speakers from the State government there. Can get your foot in the door to meet

the right people.

01:18:35 –

Melinda questions how people who represent perpetrators or do what they can to

make things easy/simple for them can sleep at night.

01:19:13 –

Our good bye stuff. 😊


Resources/Links to Information Referenced in the



Melinda’s Facebook group is called SUPPORT GROUP FOR PARENTS

OF SEXUALLY ABUSED CHILDREN!!! It is a Private group, and you will need

approval to begin posting/seeing posts.


Check out Marissa’s website. Let her know that Thru the

Undertow sent you. If you purchase any of her products or services, Thru the

Undertow will get a referral fee (not Melinda), but both Melinda and I think

she’s very awesome! https://marissafayecohen.com/

Calls to action:


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Join the Facebook group that Melinda created if

you need help.


Recognize that there is help out there, there are answers,

and you are not alone.


Remember you only have to take things one moment at a time.


Remember we’re here to help you get Thru the Undertow.