November 29, 2010

"Boyhood Shadows: I Swore I'd Never Tell"

Posted: 01:27 PM ET

By Terri DeBono and Steve Rosen
Directors, "Boyhood Shadows: I Swore I'd Never Tell"

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?

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Filed under: Abuse • Boyhood Shadows

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May 12, 2010

Child Sexual Abuse does not have to happen!

Posted: 06:59 PM ET

By Anne Lee
President & CEO, Darkness to Light

“Tonya Craft, Former Georgia Teacher, Acquitted of Molestation Charges”

The headlines read the same for most networks and cable news.  But what is not being said is that verified research (see below) indicates that the vast majority of children who disclose sexual abuse are telling the truth.  Adults need to listen, believe and take action on behalf of all children who tell of being sexually violated. When there are false accusations it most frequently occurs in and around a contested or heated custody battle.  But here’s the real headline – Child Sexual Abuse does not have to happen! We can stop it in real time…. When adults are trained how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the issue – the reality of sexual abuse – we create a totally different outcome.  Imagine if the adults in this story knew common sense proactive ways to keep their children safe – we wouldn’t be blogging about this.  But we have to get trained, organized and create a shift in our culture.  We have to acknowledge that we are experiencing an endemic and we’re passively condoning it but not preventing it.  In fact as a nation of taxpayers we spend over $35B annually for the long term cost of child sexual abuse. 60% of first time teen pregnancies are preceded by sexual abuse, eating disorders, alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide – the list of the fall out from sexual abuse is long and nasty. But still….we are not seeing the movement of prevention take off the way it should.  Unlike other issues and diseases where we need to raise hundreds of millions and billions of dollars to go into a laboratory and one day find a cure – the cure, the end of sexual abuse is right in front of us.  It’s on every street corner, in homes and conference rooms all across our country – responsible adults saying no more;  I’m going to get trained, I’m going to insist that the youth serving organizations my child attends do child sexual abuse prevention training.  Let’s get going!  Let’s end the tragedy of child sexual abuse for all of us. Go to DARKNESS TO LIGHT to do your part to end the insanity.

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Filed under: Abuse

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