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#51719 - 05/29/05 08:41 PM Re: We need you NOW!
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Kev, somehow that project will happen.
Not just a school, but all schools, radio station and even tv free ads and any more avenues like cinemas etc etc.

Nobody knows the amount of boys who get hurt, why? Because most of them live in silence, and silence is the worst hurt any boy can live with.

Awareness will never stop SA, but if it saves someone, or lets them know that there are people and places that will listen and care, then it is worthwhile.

You and Charlie did a good job, and it cannot be wasted through anyone having no time to listen.
People like to bury their heads in sand, and the big problem with people, is that they DO NOT LISTEN, and even if they do, they soon forget.

I cant forget, and nor can any of us here, that is why it is so important to have a voice and be able to use it,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#51720 - 05/29/05 10:55 PM Re: We need you NOW!
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Kev
your post tore me up, if someone says there's no time to make kids aware of the dangers of being abused then they're full of shit! There's no argument about that.

And if the message is being sent out by young men like yourself then it's hot and relevant, it will mean something to other kids because it coming from people just like them, not from adults who haven't always got the skills to relate to youngsters.

The other danger is that if we ( adults ) try to pass the message on then kids will tend to see it as something that happened to us, and not something that is happening 24/7 to their friends. The ones that are being abused know it happens, but they don't the way out. If the message comes from adults that abuse happens then they are also likely to think that there's nothing they can do NOW and that they will have wait until they are adults themselves before they can see an end to their abuse.

Keep fighting, someone will listen in the end.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#51721 - 05/30/05 01:49 AM Re: We need you NOW!
ForeverFighting Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 1058
Loc: New Mexico, USA
I'm so glad you wrote this post. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. And it's not just kids that don't know. It's parents. So many parents are oblivious to the fact that, like you say, it's people we know, and it DOES HAPPEN to boys everywhere. I didn't know what was wrong with me until I was grown and married and found out my wife had been touched by her dad. This anger came out in me, and suddenly I realized that my entire life had been a lie. That everything I had lived was wrong, and it didn't matter that my parents acted like everything was perfect or that the kids at school acted like coach was funny. I realized my obsession with having somebody care about me wasn't normal.

If somebody had just told me. Even if it were after the SA, at least I wouldn't have had to live a lie for 20 years. I could have understood.

Fight, Kev. I'm behind you 200%. You are doing something so important. I admire you a lot. If we can just save one kid out of each class, it's still too many being hurt, but it's one kid who won't live the nightmare we know so well. 5 minutes. I wish he'd give you an hour.

_________________________
ForeverFighting

"This search for the truth--it's not for the faint of heart."--Goren on 'Law & Order: CI'
"The former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart."--Isaiah 65:17

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#51722 - 05/30/05 02:49 AM Re: We need you NOW!
demonboi Offline
Member

Registered: 05/14/05
Posts: 228
Loc: East Coast


_________________________
Every corner, every city
There's a place where life's a little easy
Little Hennessy, laid back and cool
Every hour, cause it's all good
Leave all the stress from the world outside
Every wrong done will be alright
Nothin but peace, love
And street passion, every ghetto needs a thug mansion

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#51723 - 05/30/05 06:11 AM Re: We need you NOW!
ShyBear Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/08/05
Posts: 149
Loc: The American South
Kev,

Achool administrators can get all stupid about legal issues, liability, all that mess, especially when a they're looking at a letter as powerful & loaded as the one you guys wrote.

But sometimes, they'll listen to another adult, somebody with professional standing, like some of the moderators of this board. How about asking one of the moderators if they'd write a letter on your behalf to the school ? Maybe that would persuade them to read your letter to the 8th graders.


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#51724 - 05/30/05 09:23 AM Re: We need you NOW!
Soccer Kid Offline
Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 273
Loc: Missouri


_________________________
~Zach~
Deviant of Many Talents

"Reality is just an illusion."

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#51725 - 05/30/05 10:39 PM Re: We need you NOW!
sophiesdad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 462
Loc: Florida
I also read the incredible letter and was very moved by it. I would venture to say (being an educator) that someone thought it would have been a great idea and then the school board attorneys got into the scene and decided that there may be legal problems that they didn't want to get involved with. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... this country pays lip service to the rights of children, but when it comes down to the actual issues and events, they back down and would rather sweep it under the carpet.

Personally if it were me, I would take that letter and get it out to the media somehow. My first inclination is to write to Oprah Winfrey because IMHO, she's one individual who doesn't sensationalize her show (unlike those crappy shows like Jerry Springer). My gut tells me that she's one person who would listen.

Don't give up. It's just like I constantly tell students: If something is happening to you that you think is wrong, tell someone. If that person doesn't listen, tell someone else and keep going until someone DOES listen.

It's really sad, but there are certain issues in life that many people aren't willing to face. We take our mentally handicapped, our old people, or anyone else who is different and shove them away so we don't have to deal with them as human beings.

It takes a long time to change attitudes in society. Look at Martin Luther King... he started with a dream almost half a century ago. Do we still have prejudice in the world? Absolutely! There is something so true in that old saying, "Rome wasn't built in a day."

I hope that I've made sense... the bottom line is that none of us can give up. If one door is slammed in our faces, then we knock on another and another until someone finally opens it up. I, for one, would have been eternally grateful if someone had opened up the subject like that at school when I was a kid (when dinosaurs roamed the earth \:D ). I may have had the courage to tell someone about what happened and not shoved it so far back in my memory that I didn't remember what happened until I was 30 years old.

Keep trying, guys. You will eventually succeed. It took Edison over 1,000 trials to find the right material for the light bulb. When asked how he felt about the 1,000 failed attempts, he responded (loosely paraphrased), "I didn't fail 1,000 times, I just found 1,000 materials that wouldn't work in the bulb."

Sophiesdad

edited to correct a spelling error

_________________________
There are no unresolved issues - they just didn't resolve themselves the way we would have liked. "Grinder and Bandler - Neuro-Linguistic Programming"

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#51726 - 05/30/05 11:05 PM Re: We need you NOW!
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
The other way of getting heard is to put your energy into an exisiting organisation that is working for young abuse victims, yes, there will be adults at the top of the tree, but these organisations are much more likely to listen to you.

I'm not that familiar with US organisations, but I'm sure someone here is.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#51727 - 05/31/05 05:01 AM Re: We need you NOW!
Muldoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
Kevin
I know how it seem like grownups don't get the importance of this issue. I do beleive we are making a little head way but 5 min is so little to ask. I will try I more time to change the princples mind tomorrow ,

Kevin I do beleieve this message will be heard by 100 of thousands of guys in the next years. Thank you so much for you hard work.

Tom

_________________________
Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

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#51728 - 05/31/05 12:51 PM Re: We need you NOW!
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Hi Kevin,

A really moving post, and I am really glad you have said all this. I do not mean this as an excuse in any way, but I can confirm from my own 25 years of experience that educational institutions tend to be conservative and a lot of times need to be convinced that something is a good idea. Then once you convince then they can really roll with it.

The point you are making is so important, and I thought I would share with you something that a student of mine just told me today. He was abused as a child and is now 20 but still living at home. His abuser, a relative, has moved in with them for a few weeks and the abuse has begun all over again. He feels like he doesnt have the strength to resist "because of the silence", which he explained as meaning the feeling that he is all alone, that no one knows or cares, and that he has nowhere he can turn to. The letter you and Charlie are writing may not be heard right at the time you thought, but I am sure it will help a lot of kids by breaking this kind of silence.

Keep it up!
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#51729 - 05/31/05 11:25 PM Re: We need you NOW!
puppy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/05
Posts: 129
Loc: earth
ok, my opinion may not be accepted or seem harsh, but im a realist. so here it is.

reality: everyone knows kids are abused and no one talks about it.

reality: kids dont know what the hell is going on because they are kids.

reality: no one is going to listen to you unless you have the right people backing you.

so. my proposition to you. if you want to make a difference, talk to the right people. talk to CPS, talk to gay/lesbian youth centers, youth centers in general. get support from people who make it their duty to support and protect kids. have an objective. if you want to talk to kids in schools, have a letter, or firm points you want to make and things youd like to say. dont just phone some school and expect them to let a random person in to talk about possibly random things. if you are determined to do this, take the steps to do it right.

and my question to you is, why 8th grade boys? at 13, i had already been abused for 8 years. at 13 i was going thru puberty and EVERYTHING becomes embarassing and weird at that age. at 13, sometimes the message comes too late. younger kids need to know that their bodies are their own. younger kids need to know about bad touchng. i was told in 7h grade. it wa news to me, and far too late. parents dont tell their kdis this shit. and parents are often the abusers. kids need to know earlier than 8th grade. and they need to know what resources are available to them, who they can talk to, etc.

i think your efforts are awesome and its really really cool that you want to make a difference.

_________________________
pUpPy

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#51730 - 05/31/05 11:46 PM Re: We need you NOW!
RICK57 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/31/03
Posts: 1611
Loc: ENGLAND
Tom - why don't you just print off this post & show it to the principle; maybe then he will get it. Does he want hundreds more of the kids in his school coming here over the years because they were not aware of the dangers from predators out there?

Sometimes I wish the victims were the kids of these idiots, then they might just do something to stop it. I wouldn't however wish being a victim on anybody!

They either want to help or they don't!

Rik.

_________________________
*Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.
*I was seeking a way of expressing my anger - I found hope!
*There are many battles before the war is won! It can be won!

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#51732 - 06/01/05 06:16 PM Re: We need you NOW!
Soccer Kid Offline
Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 273
Loc: Missouri


_________________________
~Zach~
Deviant of Many Talents

"Reality is just an illusion."

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#51734 - 06/01/05 11:00 PM Re: We need you NOW!
Charlie Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 148



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#51735 - 06/02/05 01:36 AM Re: We need you NOW!
Muldoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
I want to thank Kevin and Charlie for all the hard work they have put into writing your letter.
I am realy sorry that we have been unable to move the school to give us the 5 minutes we need.

A little explation is in order. I had the suport of one person who had influenes or the school. He was doing a talk on hazziing and was willing to give us half his time before the 8th grade guys who where graduating from middle school,

So that is why the 8th grade was the target age. Sure i agree that this message has to be given to others also. We where just triyng to take an opertunity and make something of it,

Sam was told he only has 6 minutes to talk about Hazzings and that cut us out of the program. I called the princple 2 times last week and talked to her about the issues and about given us our time. She wants to address this issue in the fall during the new school year. She says that she has no time this year.

Charlie and Kevin I am sorry I put you through all this and we have come up MT at this time. I was sure that Sam would move them in our direction.

Somrtimes I think that I can force them to do the right thing. At least I tried . Tom

_________________________
Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

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#51736 - 06/02/05 02:26 AM Re: We need you NOW!
Soccer Kid Offline
Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 273
Loc: Missouri


_________________________
~Zach~
Deviant of Many Talents

"Reality is just an illusion."

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#51737 - 06/02/05 02:37 AM Re: We need you NOW!
Soccer Kid Offline
Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 273
Loc: Missouri


_________________________
~Zach~
Deviant of Many Talents

"Reality is just an illusion."

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#51739 - 06/02/05 02:39 PM Re: We need you NOW!
healing_inside Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 2005
All these posts are a little taxing for me to read, because of reading problems I have, have been abale to pick-up a thought here and there.

Just wanted to say "We are ALL hurting" inside

_________________________
I can't come to the phone right now, I am out living my life

*** WoR Retreat Alumni - Alta 2005 ***

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#51740 - 06/02/05 06:16 PM Re: We need you NOW!
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Kevin, Charlie, Soccer Kid,

This last series of posts on this thread has been very valuable, I think, and I would like to say why here. I will try not to get up at my podium, but here goes. I apologize in advance for the ridiculous length of this post.

1. Communication isnít just information passing back and forth. It is also about perception. Kevin, that photo in your eighth-grade English class is one thing: an image on paper, something real. But how is it perceived, what does it mean? Exactly as you noted, your friend sees a child with a teddy bear. Why? Because she is a child who has her own teddy and that is important to her. The rest is just big trees. The teacher, however, sees the last of the great western redwood forests and a child in the midst of a spectacular natural experience that students in the English class will now appreciate and write about. The reality is the same, but the perceptions are different. Both are "true". Both are important.

Whatís the point? I think this entire dialogue over the ways in which the teenagers and the adults on this site see the reality of child abuse needs to be looked at in this way. It is important that teens appreciate the fact that adults have been around awhile and that life experience can provide them with valuable insights and solutions. But at the same time, adults need to appreciate that their understanding of the world has evolved over a long period of time: it didnít just spring into their heads at some point. Younger people are still on the path of sorting out what things will mean for them as adults, and the legitimacy of their journey, with all its pitfalls and fears, needs to be acknowledged and validated. Itís real, itís important, and itís different.

So yes, pain is pain, but no, what pain means to a child is not and can never be what it means to an adult. To propose that the catastrophic pain of childhood abuse is the same for the abused child as it is for an adult survivor is true only at a very abstract (and so far as I can see, not practically useful) level. This is not to argue for the greater validity of how it feels to the child over the adult abused long ago. Of course we know how it felt. Of course we recall the fear, and of course many of those emotions are still with us. Over the years we have paid a heavy price. As Healing_Inside puts it: "We are all hurting inside". No doubt about it. But what the hurt means for a child now, and what it means for the adult survivor now, is different. This is why the idea of the "inner child" is so important Ė for adults. It enables us to appreciate that part of us still feels the hurt and fear as we did when we were little; that part of us conflicts with the part that over the years has tried to cope (by explanation, justification, avoidance, denial, forgetting). But Charlie, does the "inner child" mean anything at all to you? My guess is absolutely not. You are 14. There is no little Charlie and an older and more mature Charlie. There is just hurt Charlie. It seems to me that adults who want to help must accept and understand this difference. I wonder if talking to a hurt child about the "inner child" may even be harmful; the child looks for his "inner child" and finds nothing there, and so feels even more empty (a word both Charlie and Kevin use) and unimportant.

2. Another thing, and sticking with Charlie: As soon as I open my mouth to say something to you, I am also asserting my right to say it and giving you a signal that you should act accordingly. "Charlie have you done your homework?" If I say that, I am at the same time claiming the right to hassle you about your studies, and if you havenít done your homework, you already know I expect you to go do it. I am asserting something (my right to make this my business) and at the same time I am waiting for you to confirm me by giving me some satisfactory answer. This pattern of assertion/confirmation is part of everything we say. I am doing it now. I am claiming a right to be heard and believed, and I am anticipating a certain response. Well, okay, I might not get it ;\) , but that is part of the dialogue.

So again, whatís the point? Here I speak to the group as a whole. Kevin and Charlie have been hurt in what is probably the most devastating way a child can be harmed. Through whatever combination of circumstances they have landed here in a place where they are supported, empowered and validated. This is what makes them unusual. They are in an environment where they can call upon their reserves of courage to demand a voice and act to cope with what has happened to them. As young teenagers they are thinking about the here and now and in terms of what is fair and just. This is part of their healing process. They are asserting their right to a voice and they trust the rest of us to confirm it: not to tell them yes, yes, yes, as Kevin astutely notes, but to help them in a positive and constructive way. But of course the adults will respond as adults and can do nothing else. Kevin writes:

Quote:
I feel like all of a sudden were bein cornered & stared at & judged just cos of our age & Im wonderin how did that happen?
By that he means that he feels uneasy with the recent responses to his thread. They seem dismissive, disempowering and judgmental. That is of course not how they are intended, but that is how they look to a teenager. Again, things are different. There is a thin line between candor and patronization, and perhaps more so where everyone in the discussion has been deeply hurt. Here I turn to Soccer Kid and ask you to bear with me a moment. I see from your profile that you are 24. If I were to begin to comment on that as a measure of what you have to say, I think you would feel uneasy about it. As teenagers in an environment dominated by adults, Kevin and Charlie feel it more deeply and personally when their age gets brought into the picture and hovers over the discussion; itís like playing poker when you know the other guy was handed all the aces before the cards were dealt.

It is a painful business watching these guys try to rebuild their lives from the wreckage they have been handed. It isnít fair, as Charlie put it somewhere. And doing this kind of work is more complicated than any of us think. Guys, as you two go about your rebuilding we know you need support and guidance. All you have to do is ask. But that means that if you pick up a cracked brick or lay it in the wall in a way we know wonít hold, we have to tell you, right? You donít expect less from us. On the other hand, adults need to recognize that when teenagers refer to us it is an act of great courage and faith that is easily threatened by feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy. Of course this applies to all of us regardless of age. But on this sort of issue I think, again, there is a very real difference between youth and adulthood.

3. I want to offer a few thoughts on why your letter is so important guys. As I said above, it is part of your healing process, and you are using it as a concrete way to figure out and express your own emotions and reactions. The fact that you are working with a feeling of responsibility for others of your own age is a huge factor; it is helping you to develop a real and viable sense of perspective. Not one that just vents your frustration and anger, but one that can actually help others.

But there is more. A child does not have a choice unless he knows he has a choice, and choices are all about knowledge and awareness. In my own case I was taken entirely by surprise by my abuser. I was numb with fear and horror and I went into a kind of emotional paralysis. I had never heard of anything like this and I had no idea what was happening until it was too late. It genuinely did not occur to me to say no; I was the easiest mark in the world. By writing your letter, guys, you make an enormous contribution to empowering other boys of your age. I have not seen your letter yet, but I have heard it is very powerful. I can just imagine! Never mind that there is a need for such a thing at a younger age. By providing other boys with your personal insights you make them think about dangers that are real and immediate. Many of them will never have to face these perils, but in too many cases that fateful moment will arise and the question will be: Does this boy have a choice? Has he had a chance in the split-second of opportunity to think about what is happening? Does he know that the scary touching is absolutely wrong and he is being tricked and lied to? Does he recognize this as the game of a weak sick coward? As one of you said, you will never know how this works out in any particular case in the future. But abuse is unfortunately such a problem that it seems absurd (to me anyway) to imagine that unless there is major media attention your effort will have been in vain. There will be boys who will remember what they heard and call up their last reserves of courage and say no. There will be boys who have been hurt and now know that they can tell someone and get help. There will be abusers who go to jail. (What a delicious thought. Criminals in jail just love to see perps brought in. \:D )

That you two boys are doing this is absolutely crucial. Many of the adults here will remember the ridiculous talks we got in school about alcohol. In my school we all looked forward to these talks. Why? Not because the speakers had anything to say to us. We knew it was all going to be grownup bullshit and we were switched off and joking even as we were herded through the door. BUT. Eventually the speaker would get out the jar of grain alcohol and drop the worm into it and invite us to watch the worm go nuts. We all thought that was so cool. The speaker was blathering on and on, but all of us evil boys were gloating over that worm. That is the only thing any of us ever took away from those talks.

That was a long time ago, and I do know things have changed. But on the issue of child abuse of boys, which most boys still donít know about or think canít happen to them, it just has to be a great idea to let two teen survivors lay it on the line. It isnít professional expertise that makes me think this. It just strikes me as common sense.

4. Last and very briefly: Kevin Iím sorry you were hurt again and I can understand that you donít want to talk about it. But since I have just spoken about the importance of knowledge and choice there is one last point I wish to stress. Being aware and knowing he has a choice may empower a boy, but it doesnít make him responsible. Not ever. As so many have said, abuse is about power. Itís about exploitation of a huge imbalance of power by inducement or deception or threat. There is no way that a 16-year-old boy can be seen as standing on equal terms to a predatory adult. It wasnít your fault. Not then. Not now. Not ever.

Sorry for the length of this post. If the moderators wish to condense it thatís fine by me.
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#51741 - 06/02/05 07:23 PM Re: We need you NOW!
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
I agree with Larry that perceptions of things change as we grow into experience. I can vividly remember my abuse, but it's become more and more a story and less and less a source of constant pain.

A while ago I wrote that I wanted the experience to be like a flesh wound that would eventually leave a small scar. Fortunately for me that's really beginning to happen. So I guess I'm on the healing side of our continuum while Kev and Charlie and lots of other guys have just been hit with the wound.

I'd add (I think) that this continuum has little to do with age. Kid or adult, the wound brings us down (how far down probably mostly has to do with maturity or inner strength as opposed to age). Then we start to heal.

So many intersting things to think about in this thread. I also like what Larry says about any speaking as asserting a right. I read Charlie's poem where he says Not Heard. And it occurs to me that for me speaking is more important than being heard. I can't control what others receive, only my act of communication. So I speak and hope for hearing, but the assertion of speaking in and of itself makes me feel strong, even though I want to be heard as well.

It's great to talk and try to understand one another. The process is the point in this case.

In other words I hope Charlie and Kev's letter gets "sent" so it can be seen. But it's already had an effect. We've all reconsidered some important points about our safe place, and that means the letter is already being heard. Change is happening...people are thinking and responding and caring.

Danny


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#51742 - 06/02/05 07:54 PM Re: We need you NOW!
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
I suppose if I were one of these young guys then I would feel the same, like nobody is listening.
I would totally agree with them too, because a lot of members have not contributed to them.

When these guys live in an adult World of them and us, then they can only expect the same when they come here, and I suppose it can be really frustrating when you feel like there is nobody to turn to and nobody listens or cares.

I really admire the way these guys push forward and raise awareness to their plight, and we do need to listen.

The letter is going to be hard to push. I wrote to a leading daily newspaper here, the editor did not reply, but a columnist just ignored me on two occasions when I told him that I could give him a story on awareness of abuse, with helplines and web addresses.

I think that even if it can be pushed in any direction, even to websites that will post it, then it will start to take issue, find a politician who is interested in the cause, or maybe pop stars who do work in this field.

Survivors are here because they never gave up, and that is the spirit we need to use, so I say, go for it, if you push enough the barriers will fall.

ste

edited to correct grammar

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#51743 - 06/02/05 08:09 PM Re: We need you NOW!
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1796
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.
I wanted to say that I have recently begun seeing movement to really begin warning and protecting children.

Here in Westchester County NY they have convicted more than 100 online predators in the most aggressive sting operation in the world; in fact NY has closed the loophole of ďthere is no victim if the 14 year-old-boy was a 40 year-old-cop.Ē They have changed the law classification to get these guys jail time.

Also, my little girl was 9 when a local legislator came to the school to present on the " Child Lures " program. I was so impressed with the booklet that came home with her, I took it to the committee I work with in Dutchess County NY and they are going to get it out as well.

The committee is one of many working in Dutchess under a federal grant (only one of 11 in the country) that is working to find the gaps in sex offender management and fix them; the resulting model may be adopted nationwide. And when I brought up the topic of prevention and education for kids and parents they jumped on board right away, and one of the results is a " road show " we put together to help educate parents.

At the board of directors meeting a couple weeks ago, we began to put together ideas about how we want the organization to move forward and we started by picking apart our mission statement:

Quote:
We are committed to preventing, healing and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through treatment, research, education, advocacy and activism.
preventing and healing

We are going to start looking into how to reach out to parents and children and educate them and those that work with them and make some connections with other organizations.

Kev, donít ever give up because some people donít listen, there will always be some who wonít; as you say, the statistics are high, and many of those who donít want to hear abuse could have been abused themselves and are not ready to deal with it.

Good work guys.


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#51744 - 06/02/05 11:43 PM Re: We need you NOW!
Charlie Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 148
This is what all the fuss is about. Our letter to 8th grade guys, the finished product \:\)

----------------------------------------------

Hey guys,

Charlie is 14 almost 15, and Kevin is 16. We have been asked to write this letter 'cause we're close to you in age. It's about a scary topic, child sexual abuse and yeah, it's embarrassing Ė tell us about it! It's never easy to talk about this Ė but it happens to guys like us everywhere, all the time.

You may think that sexual abuse only happens to girls, it doesn't have anything to do with you or your friends. Maybe you're thinking "I could never get hurt like that". That's what a lot of guys think. But if you could look at us you would just see a couple of ordinary guys like you. Kevin loves football and plays the guitar and Charlie's into skateboarding and writing. We joke and mess around like anybody else. Sexual abuse doesn't show on the outside, but it happened to us and that's why we're talking to you in this letter. A lot of guys have a hard time believing they can be a victim of something but sexual abuse is a crime and GUYS ARE VICTIMS TOO.

Look at the guy to your left. Now look at the guy on your right. You may think this is just a game, but do it okay? Look at the guys sitting in front of you. Just for a second. There's a real good chance one of these guys has been hurt. Maybe once, maybe lots of times, maybe he thinks it didn't matter; maybe he's too scared to talk about it. Imagine that you're hanging out with five of your friends. Statistics say that one of you could get hurt by the age of 16. That's a lot of us! So if this has happened to you, remember: YOU'RE NOT ALONE.

If a friend of yours is getting hurt and you figure out what's going on, don't blow him off. It's not his fault and he didn't ask for it. He's probably feeling scared and alone right now, so if he's your friend stick with him. Never say "I don't believe you" or "Get over it". Tell him "It wasn't your fault and I'm here for you if you want to talk about it". It's never the kid's fault when someone older forces or tricks us into doing stuff. And we're not just talking about the abuse. All the bad feelings about yourself and the other problems that come with abuse Ė that's not your fault either. Sometimes that's hard to believe and both of us still have trouble believing it, but this is important: IT'S NEVER YOUR FAULT.

We know a lot of you guys are gonna be giggling and whispering while this is being read to you. But check this out. Sexual abuse isn't about love or "doing it". If we're talking and I suddenly beat the shit out of you, is that a chat? If we're in the kitchen and I smack you across the face with a frying pan, was I teaching you to cook? Of course not. Sexual abuse is about power, violence and control. It's like saying to a kid "You don't have the right to be a kid anymore; you're just a body. You can't stop me so I'm just going to help myself." ABUSE IS ABOUT POWER.

What's the worst thing about abuse? For me, Charlie, it's the feeling of loneliness, it's like you're looking at the world from the outside. Feeling different and thinking that you're labelled in some way. Missing out on being a kid and having to deal with grownup stuff and make grownup decisions. When you're being abused nothing feels safe or private. I thought my body belonged to other people. I felt trapped and scared 'cause if you don't feel safe in your own body where do you go? For me, Kevin, it's the emotions of the whole thing. I don't feel safe in my own room and I'm scared of the dark. I hate it if someone touches me and if I don't see it coming I feel like I'm going to be sick. No way I will go into a room and be alone with a grownup. I cry or start trembling for no reason, even in class. I don't like myself much and even if something cool happens, like getting an A+ in English or scoring a safety that wins us the game, I still look at other kids and wish I was one of them. What we mean by this is that part of dealing with abuse is feeling like your whole life is a wreck and you're totally messed up. You're not. YOU'RE GONNA BE OKAY.

It's the abuser and all his/her lies and tricks Ė that's what's messed up. Feeling guilty or bad is another one. You keep looking back, thinking I could have done this or that. "I'm a guy and I should have said no". But we can both tell you most times it's not that simple. It happens too fast. You can't believe it's happening to you. You just get mixed up and scared, you freeze up and panic and feel like you don't have a choice. Maybe it's been happening for so long that it's become "normal", you don't know any different. Abusers have a million lies to trick and confuse you. You believe them because somehow it explains why this is happening: "This is our secret time", "Other guys do it", "Dads do this with their sons all the time", "You are special to me". Or you get threatened: "If you tell you will get thrown out of the house", "If people find out you'll get the blame". It's all lies and remember: YOU'RE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ABUSE, THE ABUSER IS.

So if you're being abused what can you do? First thing, guys, you have to know it doesn't stop until you do something. Most abuse is done by people the kid knows, a member of your family or someone you see a lot. It's not easy when you have to face that person over and over again. A lot of times a guy being hurt gets desperate bit by bit. You don't see how everything is falling apart and you try all kinds of stuff to cope. Like drugs, cutting (self harm) or running away for example. None of that helps Ė we know, okay? Drugs just get you into a different kind of hurt and running away isn't cool like it looks in the movies. We've both been there. Ask yourself: if I do this, is there any way things will be better afterwards? If the answer is no, forget it. YOUR SAFETY AND HEALTH IS IMPORTANT.

Every kid knows that dealing with grownups isn't easy. For a kid who's being hurt it's even harder trusting grownups. You feel like you have nobody to talk to. But sometimes you have to be brave and ask for help. Tell your best friend or a grownup you trust. If the abuser is a family member you can talk to a teacher, school nurse or call a child abuse hotline. They'll help you get safe. Telling someone might be the scariest thing you'll ever do, but you can make it stop. For me, Kevin, the problem was feeling scared. I didn't tell anybody 'til I got hurt so bad I thought I was going to die. I finally told my dad by waking him up in the middle of the night with a letter telling him everything. I, Charlie, tried to let grownups know by acting bad and getting in trouble. I felt like grownups didn't want to see or believe what was going on. People around me didn't find out about the abuse 'til I had to go to hospital for emergency surgery. There are different ways of telling. A letter is a good idea if you can't make yourself say the words. If you tell someone you trust then that person is on your side and they will help you. Grownups will believe you: a kid who's being abused always thinks he won't be believed but that's just another lie that abusers tell us. If you find yourself not being listened to, keep trying 'til you find someone who will. Don't risk your life. IT'S YOUR BODY! YOU CAN MAKE IT STOP!

It isn't easy writing this letter. Both of us have been hurt and dealing with abuse is hard. It's not easy to start over, learn to live and act like a normal kid, trust grownups again. We have so many questions but there are no easy answers. We feel confused and mixed up a lot of the time. What happened to us doesn't make any sense to us Ė we're just kids, it's not fair. How can we stop this from happening to other guys? Speaking up is one way. Abusers try to make us feel embarrassed, dirty, alone and scared but they can't win if we start talking to each other about it. Knowing the facts makes us stronger and it gets easier to speak up and say "No! My body belongs to me!". Then if something happens to us or a friend we will be brave and tell someone and not let it go on for years and years, like we did. We all need each other. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS AND STAND UP FOR EACH OTHER.

Thanks for listening.

Kevin and Charlie
3 June 2005

Reading material:

How Long Does It Hurt : A Guide to Recovering from Incest and Sexual Abuse for Teenagers, Their Friends, and Their Families
ISBN: 0787975699

When Something Feels Wrong: A Survival Guide About Abuse for Young People
ISBN: 1575421151

We Are Not Alone: A Teenager Boy's Personal Account of Child Sexual Abuse from Disclosure Through Prosecution and Treatment
ISBN: 0789009277

Phone numbers:

Abuse Hotlines/Local Police

Websites:

http://www.childhelpusa.org

http://www.malesurvivor.org

http://www.safechild.org

http://www.safeteens.org


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#51745 - 06/03/05 03:18 AM Re: We need you NOW!
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1796
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.
Charlie and Kev,

You guys are so brave, and I'm so proud of you for going out of your way to do this, I only wish I had seen that I needed help back then.

I'm going to print this out for my 8th grader.

Keep it up.

Edit: Would you guys mind if I copied this to hand out at lectures?


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#51746 - 06/03/05 05:22 AM Re: We need you NOW!
Soccer Kid Offline
Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 273
Loc: Missouri


_________________________
~Zach~
Deviant of Many Talents

"Reality is just an illusion."

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#51747 - 06/03/05 07:10 AM Re: We need you NOW!
ShyBear Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/08/05
Posts: 149
Loc: The American South
*TRIGGER WARNING*

Both my Mom & Dad used to go off into these huge fits of self-pity, which made me worry about *them* so much that I never felt like it was ok for me to talk about what had happened to *me* (the SA).

Zach, your last post is just pure wallowing in self-pity, which does not solve ANYTHING.

Kevin & Charlie have done a truly remarkable & courageous thing writing that letter, trying to help. Even if it NEVER gets read at school, there is enormous power & healing in the act of writing it. So, Zach, instead of pissing on their accomplishment, try to look at the pain that's probably getting triggered in *you*.

Please hear me - I am NOT dismissing your pain ! What I AM dismissing is self-pity as a way of trying to deal with it, because self-pity always puts the power "out there" - it's always somebody else that's doing it TO me. Once upon a time, that was indeed true - a filthy perpetrator did indeed do something TO me - but the ONLY way to healing is to grab hold of the situation with the attitude that as cruel and unfair and fucked up as the abuse was, as an adult it's up to ME to do whatever it takes to heal.

=====

A SPECIAL WORD TO KEVIN & CHARLIE :

Don't for a single second think that this heated discussion between the older guys here is your fault - it's not.


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#51748 - 06/03/05 07:53 AM Re: We need you NOW!
Nathan LaChine Offline
Webmaster
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 5378
Loc: Washington State
Charle and Kevin,


Way to go you guys. This is a very well written letter. I too would like the permission to download and hand this out at training session for advocacy. This letter could really help others in need. I am very proud of both of you guys. I know this is a very hard topic to talk about and you did a great job.


Great job, Nathan


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#51749 - 06/03/05 12:35 PM Re: We need you NOW!
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Hi Charlie,

Since your letter has been posted twice I think you each should get a comment. As I have just said to Kevin, what you have done shows a lot of courage and talent. This is not an easy subject to write about, and it must have cost you pain as well as time.

Just as I thought it was possible to see a lot of Kevin in the letter, I also think there is a lot of Charlie. For one thing, you have put a leash on Kevin's online English \:D . Bravo! Seriously, in this letter I see so much of the punch and pace and discipline of your writing, and the great idea of placing capitalized topic sentences at the ends of each paragraph is an inspiration and looks like its your idea. There is so much of the angry 14-year-old boy here, and the way you shout "this is my body" is both startling and right on target. You have said that in your poetry so many times and it needs to be here. There is no pretense here, no facade, no effort to be anything other than who you are. Your own comments about the worst aspects of abuse and the themes of loneliness and depersonalization - important and perfectly expressed for your audience.

I imagine that you have both learned a lot about yourselves and each other as well. The results of your project are marvelous and all I can say is thanks and well done.

Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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