Secret Survivors: Breaking the silence around child sexual abuse

Screenshot from documentary trailer of the five cast members on stage

Recent events, particularly the Penn State case, have reminded us of the great need to find tools to combat child sexual abuse. It’s one of the most hidden epidemics, with an estimated one in six boys and one in four girls experiencing some form of sexual abuse.

I believe that one of the most powerful ways to combat an epidemic like this one is for survivors to tell their stories–for folks to break the silence. It shows how common this really is, gives others the courage to speak out and even escape abusive situations.

A new documentary project is in the works that does just that: Secret Survivors.

Secret Survivors is an interview-based theater project by NYC-based theater company, Ping Chong & Company, featuring adult survivors of child sexual abuse telling their personal stories on stage.

Child sexual abuse is an epidemic that affects about 1 in 4 female-bodied people and 1 in 6 male-bodied people. However, due to social taboos, very few survivors share their stories publicly. Secret Survivors uses direct personal narrative to represent the diverse ways this violence occurs and grapple with the many reasons that most survivors remain silent.

I heard amazing things about the performance this past year. They are currently running a fundraising campaign to gather the funds necessary to finish the project.

News is just coming out about another basketball coach accused of abusing a young boy at Syracuse University. Just as what happened with the Vatican scandal, when one survivor comes out, in creates a domino effect and others come forward. Telling our stories is one of the most powerful things we can do.

If you are interested, you can watch the trailer and support Secret Survivors here.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted November 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I’m enthusiastic, but neither do I want child sexual abuse to no longer be viscerally shocking. Maybe with time that shock may change from uncomprehending discomfort to something more understandable.

    I think we aren’t yet totally okay with knowing the answers. We ask for them, on one level, but we really don’t wish to see the full picture.

  2. Posted November 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Great article! By writing this, you have helped to stop the silence and raise the awareness of readers to the issue of sexual abuse aimed towards children. The more that people share their stories, the more in tune the public will be and the more people we will have working together with the common goal of creating change. I write for a socially just, feminist blog called WTF! (We’re the Future). Check us out! An article supporting the fight against sexual abuse in children can be found at the following URL: http://wtfcsusm.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/silence-is-deadly/. Only by working together and sharing our stories can we create change!

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