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Stories of Silence
Stories of Silence presents a new way to understand the reality of sexual abuse in our culture. Only a few short years ago, I was writing about the need to acknowledge that abuse of boys has occurred, but I need not take that tack any longer. Now we know that it is real and pervasive, but we have yet to understand how it has changed our relationships with each other and how we can reclaim our emotional health. Stories of Silence is a bold and positive step in that direction.
The recovery journey in Stories of Silence follows a three-part path. First, men, unaccustomed to offering up their vulnerability, admit that they were victimized. They come to know the boy they once were. Second, they realize the creativity that underlay their early attempts to survive in a world seemingly without safe harbor. This is why they are survivors. But many men attest to a third stage, an advanced realm of experience that bears many names. In Stories of Silence, it is called "voice," that era of recovery where a man defines himself in his own terms, beyond the abuse and its fallout. It is this final stage that lends uniqueness to Stories of Silence.
Responses to initial screenings of the documentary have been overwhelmingly supportive. For many men, it gave them the impetus and courage to speak of their own abuse for the first time. For women whose boyfriends and husbands were abused, it gave them perspective and reassurance that healing can take place. One woman even said: "Now I finally understand men!"
The documentary is in use in many therapeutic settings around the world, including Texas, California, Washington, Colorado, Guam, England and Trinidad. I never stop receiving emails from survivors - and their wives - telling me how much the piece has opened up the space they need to address their own histories and relationships.
Stories of Silence is my story. It is our story. It is absorbing, bold and joyous.
KCTS Seattle, October 4, 2007
Streaming video trailer