November 3, 2010 – (Washington, DC) – On Friday, November 5th, The Oprah Show will air a landmark show about male sexual abuse. Last month, Hollywood mogul Tyler Perry revealed the devastating details of his childhood sexual abuse in an interview with Oprah, and this Friday, he will return for this special program.
Oprah is committed to shedding light on male sexual abuse and providing survivors with information about recovery resources. Taped in front of 200 male survivors, family and friends, including members of the RAINN Speakers Bureau, this 2-part special will conclude on Friday, November 12th.
Eugene Brooks, a RAINN Speaker Bureau member and author of Half Black Half White – Finding Me and My Place in America said, “The pain caused by sexual abuse is cancerous. It metastasizes throughout every fiber of ones being, irrespective of gender. The depth and weight of such pain is equally devastating to men as to women. However, all too often the resistance of male survivors to dialogue and to share their trauma keeps them imprisoned and unable to live and love. The solution lies within each survivor. The bravery shown by Ms. Winfrey and Mr. Perry in tackling this issue and raising awareness will empower male survivors to cast away apprehensions and start the recovery process by sharing their experiences." In his book, Mr. Brooks chronicles his life, including poignant memories of sexual and emotional abuse, bouts with addiction, homelessness, graduating from law school to his most gratifying experience, fatherhood.
“I was both honored and humbled to be a part of this significant event on The Oprah Show where someone in such high prominence acknowledges the fact that one in six males have been sexually assaulted,” said Mike Skinner, a RAINN Speakers Bureau member and attendee. “These episodes will help in breaking down the barriers of shame, silence and denial of the childhood sexual abuse that males have long suffered and endured. We need more awareness and understanding so that society will reach out to those who are hurting – this will help all of us in our healing journey.”
“More than ten percent of all survivors of sexual abuse are male. Oprah’s continued commitment to bringing awareness to the unique needs of male survivors will show all survivors of sexual assault that they are never alone, and that it is never too late to get help,” said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN. “I hope that these episodes empower male survivors to begin and continue recovering from this crime.”
John Mark Clubb
“Abuse does not have to be a life sentence.” Those are the inspiring words of John Mark Clubb, a RAINN Speakers Bureau member who was in the show’s audience and is committed to bringing awareness to the issues male survivors of sexual abuse face each day. “I know the crushing lows, the abject pain, hopelessness, shame, humiliation, and the feeling of being alone. But I also know what it takes to walk out of that darkness into the light of truth and the hope of healing. There is great danger in carrying the pain and shame around and not getting help expressing your feelings about what happened to you.” John is the author of the book "boys cry too," where he tells his story with unvarnished honesty.
Last winter, Gregg Milligan, a RAINN Speakers Bureau member who was physically and sexually abused by his mother, appeared on The Oprah Show. “I now live my life focusing on building myself in positive ways. Ten years ago, I began to write about my experiences as a child, opening the door to my past. I hope that if others could see where I came from, then they could also see how far I've come, and truly believe that we can ALL make it,” says Gregg. “It’s not my story, but our story.” Gregg is the author of the book, “A Beautiful World.”
Ronald Wicke, a survivor of sexual abuse who attended The Oprah Show, says, “for most of us the grooming was so complete and effective that it kept us in silence for years or even decades. Only in the last decade have recovery resources and effective coping methods become available. There were no options, resources or people to turn to for 25 years after my abuse began. Now that we know education and awareness are the first steps, the Internet, therapies, books, articles and support groups are coming into place. Help is now available, we just have to overcome our fears and break the silence — or the perpetrators win.”
Many men feel intense shame and embarrassment about being abused and stay silent about this tragic crime. If you or someone you know — male or female — has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org)
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with over 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. The hotlines have helped more than 1.5 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. For more information about RAINN, please visit rainn.org.