Mom & aunt of 9-year-old girl, abducted and rescued in ’23, launch podcast

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

The mother and aunt of the nine-year-old girl who was abducted from an area park last year and held for 47 hours before rescue have launched a podcast, “Sisterhood of the Survivors.”

Trisha Sena & Jené Sena. Photo provided
The introductory episode, “Without Fear, Charlotte,” is available now.

The second is due on Sunday, May 26. They tell The Chronicle they plan to release new episodes every other Sunday.

“When the unthinkable happens to someone you love, you do the only thing you know how to do and band together as a family to push through the trauma,” write Trisha, Charlotte’s mother, and Jené Sena, her aunt. They live in Corinth and Rotterdam, respectively.

We interviewed them via e-mail.

“I think it helps that Trisha and I were always close. We are married to two very close brothers in a tight-knit Italian family and our kids are all very close,” says Jené.

“Trisha and I have talked at length about ways to make a positive come from this and also ways we could empower Charlotte for the future. I talk for a living lol — I’ve been a journalist and media personality for 25 years — and Trisha is also very articulate and interesting to listen to, so this seemed logical.

“Even though the media has wanted to give us a platform to speak, I know firsthand that you can’t direct the narrative with MSM. They will take the story where they want to. So this was a way we could make our own platform and also direct the narrative on what actually happened, and what it’s been like for our family.”

Trisha: We want Charlotte’s name to be associated with positive change, acceptance and bravery. Right now, if you looked her name up on the internet, it would all be articles about him [the man convicted of her abduction and assault].

That needs to change. Her bravery has inspired Jené and I to pursue change. Our goal is to heal each other, by helping each other.

CD: What are some of the themes you plan to cover?

Jené: What actually happened vs. media portrayal of what happened, victim blaming/mom shaming that Trisha experienced, the disgustingly low sentencing rates for crimes against children and what we are trying to do about it, the Amber Alert criteria (most people don’t understand this), getting through trauma as a family. Some episodes are just us, and others will include experts and other survivors and advocates. Some of them you will already know their names.

CD: Do you prefer The Chronicle speak of Charlotte by name, or not?

Trisha: This is something that I struggled with in the beginning and some days I still do! I am ok with her name being used but only in a positive manner (which goes without saying) and I do not want specifics about the case mentioned.

CD: What conversation did you have with Charlotte about this project?

Trisha: I am open with Charlotte about what Jené and I are working on…She is still a young child so I don’t discuss every detail but she is very aware that we are working towards increased sentencing for crimes against children, a victim advocate and increased privacy laws during court proceedings. I also discussed the podcast with her.

CD: What’s her thought on the matter?

Trisha: She hopes that the podcast will help people feel like they are not alone.

CD: What do you want people in the local community to know, or understand?

Jené: That Char helped put a predator away for life that had managed to evade law enforcement all these years and was a threat to the community. While she’s a superhero and a survivor, she’s also just a regular little girl trying to live a normal life.

Trisha: How grateful we are for all of their kind words and support. From the moment she was taken, everyone jumped into action and helped. They helped by posting her picture, walked miles searching for her, offered a shoulder to cry and sometimes just offered a small smile when they could see that everything was just too over whelming in that moment. I could never thank you all enough but I will spend my life trying to…

Charlotte is not and will never be defined by that moment her in life. She is so much more…she is kind, caring, courageous and loving. She is an inspiration to me and our family.

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