November 29, 2010
Posted: 01:27 PM ET
By Terri DeBono and Steve Rosen
While researching for our most recent documentary, we were stunned when we came upon one statistic: one in six boys are sexually assaulted by the age of 16!
I continued to be stunned at how little I really knew about this invisible crime… not until the 1970’s did child molestation get a name. Society does not want to hear or know about childhood sexual abuse….including me.
Who wants to know about Uncle Bob who is molesting boys? Or for that matter… coaches or priests or doctors or teachers?! This invisible crime goes unpunished because we won’t recognize it, and we won’t talk about it. Victims live in secrecy and society lives in denial.
While making the film, we heard one of the subjects compare addiction to forever trying to fill an empty hole. “Trauma creates a deep, dark hole in you,” the subject described during an interview, and you try to fill it. Whatever satisfies you, you just keep doing it because it fills up that empty hole.” However, the hole never really does get full. Especially not when the trauma is childhood sexual abuse.
It’s really the hardest thing that we have ever done as filmmakers…. when a therapist talks to these guys, he is trained to not take it home with him. Well, documentary filmmakers think exactly the opposite. You’re with your subject emotionally so that you can start following through and do the best job that you can later in terms of trying to tell their story.
I was not aware of the pain this causes. When I started realizing that these men in the film had carried the pain for up to 35 years without saying anything and here I am asking them to reopen that wound, I would think, “Oh my god! What are we doing to these people?
But the men in the film insisted that we move forward, noting that silence is part of the problem. “No one will believe us.”; “I swore to God I’d never tell”; “Boys don’t rat.”; “I never wanted anyone to know… ever”.
The main subject of the documentary is Glenn Kulik, a 48-year old man who, at age 10 experience sexual abuse at the hands of a friend’s relative. Kulik relays the shame he has lived with ever since and the addictions to drugs, alcohol and sex that have occurred as a result.
“Nobody wants to admit that another man raped him. But it’s happening. It’s growing, proliferating and, quite frankly, destroying the moral fabric of society more than anything else you can think of,” states Kulik.
After keeping silent for 30 years, what caused each of these men to open up and speak with us? Their answers are magnetic, mysterious. Their stories are uplifting and moving. The problem did not start with them. It stopped them…. Stopped them from becoming who they could have been. They broke the silence and spoke out. Today, they are finally comfortable in their own skin.
There are ways to help stop child abuse. Recognize some symptoms and act on observation. Make a report to authorities. You do not need proof.
1. Be aware of unexplained injuries.
When we were asked to take on this project we were like the rest of society, naïve and totally ignorant of the magnitude of the problem. We knew at the outset that it would be a tough film to make – and even tougher to get seen – but we took it on because we felt that it’s a story that needs to be known.
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