Tag: Sexual Assault

Dan’s Truth

I am here today to talk about the sexual abuse of little boys, through my own story. I grew up in a modest, blue collar home, in inner-city Pittsburgh. It was a very tough neighborhood; tough kids, lots of fighting. A very “macho” environment. Football was an integral part of the social fabric of that community. I played four years of college football – I was a middle linebacker – the tough guy. This was all a mask to protect myself. To the outside world, I was a “normal” guy, but, I held a terrible secret. I was abused for two years from the age of 11 to 13. The very first incident of sexual abuse was everything to me. This meant that I was a BAD person. Somehow, I had determined that I “gave in”, that I was to blame. This devastated my self-esteem for years. The perpetrator was a serial pedophile; he probably abused over a hundred boys in his lifetime. He was a football coach for a 13 & 14 year old elite travel team in Pittsburgh. He would abuse players, then work his way down through all the younger brothers. He was not a homosexual, not a heterosexual, he was a pedophile. He was very subtle, very smooth. He would have you over to his house to wash & wax the car (always a flashy Cadillac). He provided alcohol, dinner at fancy restaurants – he lavished attention on the victim. He took me on trips to the NFL Hall of Fame, Niagara Falls, even the Orange Bowl in Miami. What poor kid from Pittsburgh would turn down a trip to the Orange Bowl?

To me, it was imperative that no one found out my secret. I withstood repeated abuse to avoid discovery. If I refused a trip to the Orange Bowl, that would bring on a deluge of why? questions. This secret dominated my life for 25 years. The abuse continued unabated – the child could see no way out – all I could do was keep it a secret. But the hurts compound daily for the child. I spent 22 of the 25 years as an advancing alcoholic, along with other self-destructive behaviors. It is very difficult for me to convey to you the overwhelming fear that I had of being discovered. All of this happened and was allowed to happen right under my parents’ noses. They failed in their primary role – protect your children. Many other bystanders had suspicions, but nobody ever spoke up. Nobody stepped in to help that little boy. They were silent bystanders. My efforts today are intended to eliminate today’s silent bystanders.

There are many effects of the abuse that are particular to males. Men are not supposed to be victims; throughout my recovery, that has been the most difficult concept for me — I am a tough guy, not a victim. Society tells us:

  • Men are not victims
  • Men don’t get depressed
  • Men don’t seek help
  • Men don’t need therapy

All of these attitudes are reinforced by the society that we live in. But, attitudes can be changed, and this speech is part of that process. In closing, I would like to tell all the hidden survivors out there: Get help, ask for help, help is out there. If you live in The Illinois Valley you can speak to an advocate at The Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance.  They will enable you to remember that you are not alone, that there is help available and that most survivors have had to wrestle with all the same effects of abuse that you and I have.

Training Opportunity

On March 31, 2014, the Alliance will be offering a three hour training for volunteers, community partners and anyone interested in improving their response to victims of abuse. The topics to be covered will be:

  • The Batterer as Parent – including how a batterer interacts with his children and the other parent as a victim.
  • Domestic Violence and Children- what happens to a child when exposed to domestic violence?
  • Sexual Assault- an overview including statistics, effect on the victim, drug facilitated rape.
  • Drugs, Alcohol and Domestic Violence– does drinking cause violence? How victims cope and how it increases lethality.

The training will begin at 9:00am and end at 12:00pm and refreshments will be served. All attendees will receive a certificate of completion.

This training includes part of the basic components for the required Department of Human Services employees’ training.

Why Intimate Partner Violence Effects Everyone

You may ask yourself what your neighbor beating his wife has to do with you. What business of yours is it when you see someone on the street yell, curse and belittle their partner and their children?  We often believe that it is their business, we shouldn’t get involved, and they will work it out. We may believe that what someone else is doing in their home is none of our concern because it doesn’t affect us in any way. Besides, there is nothing we can do about it anyway. The truth is that is does affect us and there are many things we can to end intimate partner violence (IPV). Following are some statistics that you may find interesting, and you may understand why this is important to you.

Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. 30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.
On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner. The same year, 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. Intimate partner homicides accounted for 30% of the murders of women and 5% percent of the murders of men.
The health-related costs of intimate partner violence exceed $5.8 billion each year. Of that amount, nearly $4.1 billion are for direct medical and mental health care services, and nearly $1.8 billion are for the indirect costs of lost productivity or wages. Thirty-seven percent of women who sought treatment in emergency rooms for violence-related injuries in 1994 were injured by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.
Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.

Forty percent of girls age 14 to 17 reports knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.

One in five teens in a serious relationship reports having been hit, slapped, or pushed by a partner. 14% of teens report their boyfriend or girlfriend threatened to harm them or themselves to avoid a breakup. Many studies indicate that as a dating relationship becomes more serious, the potential for, and nature of violent behavior also escalates.

Date rape accounts for almost 70% of sexual assaults reported by adolescent and college age women; 38% of those women are between 14 and 17 years old.
In a national survey of American families, 50% of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children.
Do you have children or grandchildren?

Annually, 18 people die in Oregon as a result of domestic violence. These victims include men, women, and children.

At least 1 in 10 Oregon women between the ages of 20-55 (more than 85,000 women) have been physically or sexually assaulted by a current or former intimate partner in the preceding five years. Children witnessed 33% of those assaults.

1 in 6 Oregon women has been the victim of rape. More than 50% of rape victims are under 17 years old. (308,397)

The number of people who are affected by violence against women is not only those directly involved; we are all affected by violence, and we can all be part of the solution. If you or someone you know is a victim and you want to help them, please come talk to an advocate. If you would like to be involved in some other way, there are many volunteer opportunities available. Please stop by our offices in the Coalition building at 535 East River Street, Cave Junction, Oregon, or give us a call at 541-592-2515. When all of us become advocates, then we may see an end to the violence.
For a resource list and more information, go to www.dvrc-or.org.