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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