Creating a Culture of Healing and Empathy

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Ben’s Video Interview

Hello everyone,

You may have seen some of the videos that my sister and I have done of survivors of sexual abuse through our organization survivorsARE.org. This past weekend, I finally got up enough courage to record one of myself. If you’ve been my friend on FB for a while, you know I have shared some really personal things. You may think it’s easy for me. It’s actually not. AT ALL. I get nervous and feel vulnerable any time I share something. I am most self-conscious in front of a video camera.

One of the reasons I speak up about sexual abuse is because I think about my younger self or my nieces and nephews or any child, and I want to make the world a safer place for them. We can’t help protect future generations from a crime we can’t even discuss. I also want children who are victimized to be able to feel safe seeking help sooner than I did. I wouldn’t wish what I have lived through on anyone.

As a victim, I hid this secret until I was 30. It almost destroyed me multiple times. I often wonder why I kept it a secret, which I talk about in this video. One reason, I believe, is that I never had a positive example of another survivor of sexual abuse. The only things I heard about sexual abuse victims were negative and promoted shame. Victims were portrayed as weak or damaged or less than in some way. I also never heard of male victims because boys are strong and this type of abuse doesn’t/shouldn’t happen to them. No one ever told me survivors are brave and courageous. I heard that victims wrongfully accused or destroyed the perpetrator’s life and family. This may not be everyone’s interpretation, but as a victim, it was mine. It’s an interpretation I want to help change.

Sure talking about sexual abuse isn’t fun. I’d much rather talk about fun things or only post pictures of the beautiful scenes I see in nature, but unfortunately, parts of reality are difficult, not easy to talk about or share. I don’t think every survivor needs to make a video or come forward publicly, but I would love for them to feel safe to.

This video is for my younger self, other children who may go through similar experiences and for any other survivor of sexual abuse. It’s okay to be a survivor. It’s also okay to be a male one. Here’s to help changing society, so survivors can heal and we can hopefully stop perpetrators from victimizing the innocent.

I am very proud of this video and not ashamed to say that I am a male survivor of sexual abuse.

Thanks to my sister Annaka for her beautiful editing job.

Ben

 

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