Survivors are SpeakingOut
"My name is Melani Marquez and I am a Child Sexual Abuse survivor.  About a year ago, I finally built
up the courage to confront the issue of Child Sexual Abuse in my family.  As I anticipated, the news
did not go over well with the older generation.  Many of them felt that I was "airing out my dirty laundry"
instead of "taking accountability" for what happened to me, as if it were my fault.  I was called vicious
names by several Aunts and accused of dishonoring my family.  Despite the blows I endured, I
insisted that my generation talk to their children about sexual abuse prevention.  As it later turned out,
I uncovered that sexual abuse had been a generational problem in my family because my
predecessors never talked to each other about their abuse nor did they stress prevention to their
sexual abuse or was a witness to it.  I personally found this number to be alarming considering the
small size of my family.  What's more, the children who did come forth to admit their abuse were
quickly dismissed as liars.  Their alleged abusers were never confronted nor was there any
intervention to ensure their conduct was not ongoing.  I came to realize that if this tragedy happened to
my family, it could also be happening to other families who are afraid of breaking their silence of
abuse.  Since confronting my family, I've made it my personal mission to spread awareness for Child
Sexual Abuse and provide resources to parents for prevention.  I accomplish this through my social
networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Myspace.  I also take the opportunity to share my
message with other parents during casual conversations.  I often acknowledge the sensitivity of the
topic but also stress the importance of talking about it so their children don't become victimized like I
was.  So far, I'm glad to report how receptive and active parents have been to taking preventative
measures.  Apart from this, I am also a member on the volunteer screening committee for my church.  
I have the responsibility to screen, interview applicants and ensure proper background checks are
done before volunteers are able to work with children.  

Just recently, I participated in a Child Abuse Prevention Fair in honor of "Child Abuse/Sexual Assault
Awareness Month".  The event was held on April 17th at Travis Air Force Base, CA where I reside and
am a member of the military community.  I was fortunate to work right along side the Family Advocacy
faculty who displayed an informational booth regarding Child Abuse prevention.  Among the resource
brochures available to the community was the SpeakingOut pamphlet on "What Every Parent Should
Know".  I'd like to thank Susan and the SpeakingOut organization for providing this resource online so
I could continually spread my message about Child Sexual Abuse prevention in a non-threatening
and sensitive manner.  Thank you for fighting the good fight so there will be one less child affected by
this senseless and horrific crime.  I'm confident that by continually spreading awareness for this
cause, we can create a zero-tolerance for Child Sexual Abuse in our society.  God bless."   
                  

Melani Marquez, Travis AFB, CA (April 2010)
America... A Safe Place for Children!
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                                             Where Do You Stand?

Who stands with us? Who fights for us? I find more and more than no one stands up for us and we are the only
ones that can fight for ourselves.  I guess one of life’s lessons is that you should learn not to expect anything from
anyone, always be willing to stand up for yourself and fight for what you want.  History has shown that our families
remain silent; they treat our abusers like welcomed family members; they support them and care for them while
we stand alone wondering what we did that was so wrong that we would be abused, that we would have our lives
through. With all of that on our plates we turn around and notice that we are left standing alone, our immediate
family has chosen to pretend it didn’t happen, or to blame us for it, or to guilt us into silence.  Our extended family
family has chosen to pretend it didn’t happen, or to blame us for it, or to guilt us into silence.  Our extended family
is equally stupid in behaving like what we went through and what we continue to go through is water under the is
equally stupid in behaving like what we went through and what we continue to go through is water under the
bridge; that we deserve to constantly have to see their love and concern towards someone who hurt us so deeply
and feel their hatred and disappointment if we decide to speak out.  I have come to notice that having family
believe or stand with you is the rare exception.

I always thought that in many cases you had to have gone through it to understand what we have to deal with.  I
know this is a heavy remark to make and I am sure there are those who haven’t been through it or witnessed it that
are able to respond more adequately to the situation.  I would like to know how many of you with children would
allow someone who has been previously accused of sexual assault into your homes, into your children’s
bedrooms? Is it ok because it happened to us, because you can’t fathom the damage done that he should be
accepted and in many ways chosen over us?  I don’t know how many of you have dealt with this situation or
anything similar but it puzzles me as to how we divide who considered falls into the pedophile, creepy
relative/friend file and who gets to walk around freely unpunished for their crimes.  DO we react differently when it
is our children who are hurt?  But history has shown that not even that makes a difference. SO the question is what
will it take to make things better, what will it take to make people realize how detrimental all of this is.  It affects us
all whether we know it or not.

Souyenne Dathorne, The Caribbeans (July 2011)
Hi.  Rick Sluss is my name.  I’m 60 years old.  My childhood was plagued by sexual abuse by a
fireman, from age 11 until age 26.  With the help of a close friend, we were able to put this to an
abrupt end.  I was then able to get involved in a men’s support group to work on my problem.

For the next 30 plus years, it became a full time job for me.  I worked hard to fight those
nightmares of what that man did to my body and my mind.  The more I worked at opening up and
sharing those bad thoughts from the past, there were more thoughts that came to mind. I don’t
know how I was able to endure all of that abuse, but I did.

As I reflect on my past, I can’t recall many happy moments because of the trauma I endured.  I
guess you could say that I was a victim of circumstance.  I have learned that my life is not the
most important thing I must be concerned about.  I have a duty to love and to help my fellow
man.  The best thing I can do is to help someone in need.  I no longer will allow someone to hurt
another child, especially if it’s another adult.  I won’t allow someone to violate another person’s
body, because it causes untold physical, mental and emotional damage.  As long as I do my
part to break the cycle of abuse, I will help to make this a better world to live in and to enjoy.  I
challenge you to join me in doing this.

Rick Sluss, Oak Creek, Wisconsin (December 2011)
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“Imagine if every ADULT who has ever been molested as a child recognized they were not
alone.  Imagine if every ADULT who has ever been molested as a child let go of a shame that
was never theirs to carry.  Imagine if every ADULT who has ever been molested as a child found
their voice.  Imagine if every ADULT who has ever been molested as a child joined hands and
told their story.  Our country needs us to speak the truth, because we have a nation of adults
doubting if there is really a problem or that there even is an epidemic.  This journey of honesty is
not only to help heal ourselves but to protect this generation of children and the next generation
and the next.  Sexual Abuse of Children can be Stopped.  It needs a voice.  Our voice.”

Randa Fox, Houston, TX (February 2012)
NOOW / Not On Our Watch (Co-Founder)
notonourwatch.net
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Read / Print Brochure
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Mission Statement
& Contribution Form
Read / Print Brochure
(PDF Format)

What Every Parent
Should Know
Calling All Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

If you are an Adult Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse, whether male or female, and at least 18 years of age, you are invited to
utilize our organization for SpeakingOut against the Crime of Child Sexual Abuse”.  Here’s how it works…

How to Submit…
  • Send email to Susan Suafoa-Dinino, President/Founder of SpeakingOut at susansd@speakingout-csa.com
  • Subject of Email… A Survivor is SpeakingOut
  • Type Your Message
  • Include…
First Name or Anonymous (required)
Last Name (optional)
City & State (required)
  • Attach…
Picture of Yourself at the age your abuse began (optional)
Current Picture of Yourself (optional)

How SpeakingOut will utilize your information…
  1. Featured in at least one issue of SpeakingOut News (monthly newsletter).  Depending on the length of your submission, we may be able to post your information
    in its entirety or at a minimum, mention your information and refer the public to your information on this page in our website.
  2. Featured in our website on this page.

This is YOUR Opportunity (or another opportunity) for SpeakingOut against the Crime of Child Sexual Abuse!
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“Hi, my name is Jolean and I am now 19 years old.  I can't tell you when I started being sexually abused because I was
too young to remember, but it continued until May of 2010 when I finally spoke up.  My perpetrator was my step father.  I
used to hate myself.  I thought that it was my fault and that I was somehow being punished.  I would contemplate
running away, but I couldnt bring myself to leave behind my family.  Eventually, as I got older I learned to just deal with it.
I pretended like it never happened. I tried to make sure that I was always with someone at home or doing something
important for school so that my step father would leave me alone.  My plan was to graduate high school and then go to
college somewhere far away so that I would never have to put up with my step father again.  However, one day I finally
broke down and ended up telling my friend what was going on.  With his constant support I finally told my mother.  The
next day we went to the police station and reported everything.  My step father was arrested that day, but wasn't formally
sentenced until the end of September in 2011.  Telling my mom what was going on was the hardest thing I have ever
had to do in my life.  I had to tell her in a text message because I was crying so much that I couldn't speak coherently.
The entire process was definitely hard on me.  I cried every single time that I had to talk about it. I even cried during court
and I didn't even have to testify, but the district attorney was reading my impact statement and thinking about it made me
cry.  I still get emotional now if I think about it a lot, but I'm slowly getting better.  Speaking out was the best thing that I
could have ever done for myself.  I am now a social work major at James Madison University.  I hope to one day help
others just like everyone (including my social worker) helped me."

                                    Jolean Clapp, Harrison, VA (April 2012)                                                                 
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friends, family, and others who seemed to have “normal” lives, not plagued with sexual abuse.  I used to mask my shaming secret
with a smile and sarcastic humor.  Apparently that wasn’t enough, since the truth finally came out.

I was sexually abused by my father from since I can remember until high school.  I have consistent memories of it happening
around 3rd grade.  At age sixteen I was told he was not my biological father.  As you can imagine that news was a relief, however,
since he was around before I was born he was the only father I knew and it didn’t change how I felt about the abuse.  It’s truly a
tragedy that children are exposed to these harrowing incidents and disgusting behaviors.  Children shouldn’t have this torment to
worry about, they should just be focused on the happy carefree moments in life that are so short lived and pass so quickly, and
enjoy freedom of being a child.  Stealing away innocence, childhood, and sense of self; sexual abuse shows children how ugly the
world can be.

As a kid growing up, you’re learning about your world and yourself.  Although my abuse started so early and it was something I just
“grew up with,” I knew it was wrong.  However, being a child and having that as my “normal” made me incapable of speaking out
against it, standing up for myself, or disclosing this real life nightmare to anyone.  I was overpowered, I was defenseless… or at
least that’s how I felt.  I also really struggled with my natural instinct to feel compassion and love for my dad, along with my hatred
and disgust toward him at the same time.  I believe this is one of the many main reasons why child sexual abuse is not brought up.
Another reason why I think this abuse is not stopped and the child is not “rescued” is because the abusers also manipulate the
adults of the situation, keeping them under the same controlling constraints.  Keeping this silence only allows the abusers to get
away with their crime, while drastically affecting the lives of multiple children and surrounding individuals.  These criminals need to
be held accountable for their actions and prevented from devastating the lives of others.

It’s unfortunate that I, and many others, have experienced this maltreatment.  It creates many short and long term effects that impact
life greatly to say the least.  It’s something you can never erase, forget, or disregard.  It causes children to grow up scrambling to
establish their boundaries, fearfully trying to establish trust in themselves and others, and attempting to live healthy lives.  I chose to
look at what I have been through and take control of my life, to regain my strength because it is mine.  This traumatic experience
has shaped who I am today, and although I still have my difficult moments, this was my journey.  Maybe this happened to me so I
can help reach out to others?  To help them also find the courage, realize they are far from being alone, and aid in the prevention of
this appalling crime against children."  

                                Samantha Stewart,  Resides in the U.S. (May 2012)                                                               
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My Name is Sandra, I'm a Survivor

"My Story of Healing From Childhood Incest"
CLICK HERE

(Includes link to Sandra's YouTube Video (5.52 minutes) about her journey)

Sandra, Canmore Alberta, Canada (May 2012)
Calling All Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
If you are an Adult Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse, whether male or female, and at least 18 years of age,
you are invited to utilize our organization for SpeakingOut against the Crime of Child Sexual Abuse”.
Scroll down to the bottom of this page to find out how...
“What a difference a few days can make.                                                                                                                                      

Today the media is focused on the US Supreme Court decision upholding much the Affordable Care Act.  Just a few
days earlier, attention was focused on two Pennsylvania court cases.  While those decisions might not have same
constitutional importance as today's decision, they could prove to be just as influential in the years ahead.

Focus has understandably shifted away from the events of last Friday.  But for a great number of people, the impact of
the Sandusky and Lynn trials and verdicts continues to resonate in powerful, and sometimes negative, ways.  Both trials
thrust the issue of sexual abuse into the national spotlight like never before.  And yet, now it would be understandable if
some people got the impression that what happened last week didn't matter at all.  But the fact is, there are many
people who are continuing to emotionally process what happened, and will do so for some time to come.

I'm not going to lie, the last couple of weeks have been tough for me.  Hearing some of the most graphic testimony in
the courtroom and then repeated in the news day after day was triggering for me.  I tried to keep busy and tell myself that
I was doing "okay".  But for the past week, there have been signs: I've been more easily irritated by trivial things.  I've
been fatigued and it is hard to concentrate at times.  Perhaps most worrying, I want to be alone.  For the past few days,
I've been envious of the collection of carved turtles on my shelf. When I'm overwhelmed I want pull into my shell.

My wife, friends, and colleagues have all been asking me if I'm "okay."  It's funny, for a long time I had no idea what
"okay" meant. It wouldn't even register that people were expressing concern about me.  Survivors learn to ignore their
pain.  Boys in particular are expected to be tough, unemotional, and never, ever talk about our feelings.

So why am I telling you about how I feel?  Because I have learned that I ignore the warning signs at my peril.  As I've
made progress in my own healing I have learned that hiding from my pain is not "okay".  Neither is pulling into a shell,
and pushing away those who care about me.  If my wife and friends are getting worried, it's important to be able to hear
that and not minimize their concerns.

It's "okay" to speak about what I'm feeling.  I deserve to be heard.  If I am hurt, I am worthy of the love and care of others
who can help me.

It's "okay" to speak because when I do, it can help other people who might also be struggling.

It's "okay" to speak because it is only when we hear the voices of those who are hurting that we can start the healing
process.

Healing is not a process that makes the pain go away.  Healing is what allows us to process the pain.  Being alive
means that sometimes we will feel pain.  And yet many people still think it is better to suffer in silence.  They don't
understand that silence actually magnifies pain.  Silence also creates the secrecy abuse requires to flourish.

I am doing better.  As each day passes, I process a little more of what I saw at the trial, and I feel a little more connected
again.  I have not pulled into my shell, and I am spending time with people who love and care about me.  I hope that you
are able to do that as well.  If you find yourself struggling, I encourage you to try and find a safe person to connect with,
even if it's just for a few moments.  If you don't feel comfortable doing that, then take a look at the discussion forums on
MaleSurvivor's website.

For now, all the talking heads are focused on framing the Supreme Court's decision heath care.  Tomorrow our national
attention will shift to the next controversy.  But I think it is important we don't let ourselves forget too quickly the main
lesson from the Sandusky and Lynn trials: When it is "okay" for victims to speak, we help stop abuse from happening
and begin a healing process that helps us all.”  

Christopher M. Anderson MaleSurvivor, Executive Director, www.malesurvivor.org (6/28/12)
Photographed in New York City on June 2nd
by Grace Brown @
http://projectunbreakable.tumblr.com

——————————————

The poster reads:

1 in 6 males are sexually abused before
age 18 - far more than are at risk for
diabetes (1 in 10) or heart disease (1 in 8).

At 8 I became a statistic - at 30 I became a
survivor. (Most male survivors take at
least 20 years to begin healing - if they
ever do)

For 22 years I lived in silence. Now I want
the world to know - what happened to me
can happen to anyone. Both the abuse and
the healing.

www.malesurvivor.org //
@malesurvivorORG on Twitter

“For every 100 friends you have on
Facebook, 15-20 (at least) are survivors of
sexual abuse.”
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MaleSurvivor  is the leading not-for-profit
organization committed to preventing,
healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual
victimization of boys and men through
support, treatment, research, education,
advocacy, and activism.
                                                                              The Monster's Boys

                                                                                                                 The innocence of a boy,
                                                                                                             Only a monster can destroy.
                                                                                                             Who will ever believe them?
                                                                                                             This doesn’t happen to men.
                                                                                                           Now just shadows on the wall,
                                                                                                        They hide the truths that they recall.
                                                                                                 Suffering alone from unspeakable crimes,
                                                                                                   They cannot remember any better times.
                                                                                                Boys that have grown into fragments of men,
                                                                                             Their innocence questioned again and again.
                                                                                                          Questions of who or what to be,
                                                                                                                  Now invade their sanity.
                                                                                                       With suicide rates through the roof,
                                                                                                 The innocent shall bear the burden of proof.
                                                                                                  You never thought this could happen to men,
                                                                                                         But it happens to more than one in ten.
                                                                                  ———————————————————————————-
Also from the Author of “The Monster’s Boys”
“***The Monster’s Boys is a poem inspired by an episode of Oprah.  200 men stood together on her show who were sexually abused as children.  These courageous
men told their stories and it was chilling.  It made the statistic of 1 in 6 very real to me.  Although I know all of our pain is the same when it comes to child molestation, I
also realize that men deal with some additional challenges.  I just wanted to acknowledge the men who suffer with us.”
                                                                                ————————————————————————————--
Poem on Page 15 of the following book:  “The Monster's Game"
A Poetic Look into the Child Behind the Mask of a Survivor
Written and Illustrated by @LITTLEGIRL413
Written Permission obtained from Author & Publisher on the publication of this Poem in SpeakingOut News.

                                                                                            @LITTLEGIRL413 of Maryland (February 2013)
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Read / Print Latest Newsletter
(PDF Format)

1st Quarter 2014

To access all previous issues
of SpeakingOut News,
please visit our Home Page.
"Hello,

I was raped and ritually abused nearly every day for 2 years straight at 5 and 6 years old by
close friends of my parents, and their son who babysat me. Mom dad and son. All three
were involved.

I am 34 years old now... After 28 years of suffering the torment of silence, alone, ashamed,
and riddled with guilt. I finally got the courage to post this on my wall today. And I made it
public!

I am trying to get it out to every survivor possible. For the sake of strength, courage, and
empowerment! And to every non survivor, for awareness and understanding!

Please feel free to share this with others.. You have my full permission. How grateful I
would have been to see this pic 20 years ago!

A survivor always, Justin Holmes"

Justin (April 2015)
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"I reside in upstate NY, and am a survivor of sexual abuse by two female adolescents.  I have found my case to be one that is not very often
talked about, and would like to help spread awareness on the topic.  I was molested by two young girls when I was about 8 years old, and
found myself feeling like a outcast amongst fellow survivors.  The type of abuse I experienced is not one many people care to acknowledge,
which leaves people like myself feeling very secluded, and alone.  Female offenders are not as rare as we might want to believe, in fact it is this
very societal denial that has helped female offenders remain anonymous.  Even more unheard of are cases that involve adolescent offenders.
Often times, children that are molested, will act out to said abuse, by copying this behavior, and sharing it with their peers or siblings.  I was the
unfortunate recipient of two neighbor girls, who found ways to bully and threaten me into participating in sexual acts.  One of my offenders I
believe was molested by her brother, as rumors had spread some years later that she had gotten pregnant at a very young age, and he was
suspected to be the father.  I believe she then molested a girl who lived in my building, and eventually they both began molesting me.

In a case such as this, it leaves the victim feeling almost cheated, in that I cannot rightfully blame my abusers, it is evident, they were learning
this behavior elsewhere.  However it does not change the negative impact it has had on my life.  I have since learned to "embrace" my
experience, rather than fight against it.  Nothing I do can ever change what I have been through, but by letting go of my anger, I have been able to
focus my attention instead on raising much needed awareness on this very underexposed topic.

I am now a screenwriter and actress, and co owner of an independent film company, and have found that pursing my passion in the arts to be
by far the most healing for me.  Sexual abuse is not something I have learned to live with, it is something I live despite of."

Anonymous, New York (October 2015)
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