Nine years ago our It Happens to Boys Conference, group and speaking team started. At that time there were four original members; Scott Smith, Randy Boyd, Daniel Marquez and David Price. We created a “movement” together. I was a member of the Multiple Disciplinary Interviewing Team at the DA’s office where Dr. Tang told me he knew there was an under-reporting of boys who have been sexually abused in the Coachella Valley. I told him I would take the information back to the Child Abuse Council and we voted to take this subject on as a project.
Scott Smith created our artwork and we voted to invest in a billboard. It was exciting when we found three different billboards around the Desert. It says: Child Abuse. It shouldn’t hurt to be a child, It Happens to Boys too. After noticing the billboard, many men have come forward, called, and become involved in the project. More men began to be added to our roster and have found the path to healing.
Our first conference nine years ago found these four men standing in front of an audience courageous enough to share their stories. Being of service is the true reason they were willing to put themselves in the public eye.
It was ground-breaking work, men talking about men being sexually abused. We formed a group and met once a month. Word got out. Daniel and Randy shared our mission with other men in the program, and our group grew from four men nine years ago to over fifty men today.
Approaching recovery centers, we asked permission to present our workshops to male patients and staff, only to be told over and over that men need a year recovery under their belt before they deal with their trauma/abuse. We responded that we had been out there in the trenches dealing with men who are abuse survivors, and that what we were seeing was men in treatment facilities abstaining from drugs and alcohol but never dealing with their core issues of trauma. They were then released from treatment, went into the outside world, and experienced triggers and relapse. We watched it happen over and over again, but we still were denied the opportunity. After a few more conferences under our belt with speakers of the caliber of John Bradshaw, John Lee, Patrick Carnes, Claudia Black, Dave Pelzer, Robert Ackerman. Jerry Moe, Dr. Cindy Carter we began being invited to come and speak, and speak we do. Some recovery centers have us present workshops to their patients and staff on a monthly basis.
Being of service is what everyone in our organization lives by. We present workshops and speak at conferences. We speak at schools, high schools, middle schools, and colleges; we speak to medical students, residents, attorneys, and law enforcement and on and on. What we are finding is that there is very little education about sexual abuse, especially dealing with men.
The original four men have dedicated their lives to being of service to those men who are still living their lives in shame and darkness. My husband Robert joined our group and also began speaking with us. Nine years later, three of our original group of men have written books and now their words are going out into the Universe to help even those men we cannot see. David Price wrote, Altar Boy Altered Life, Randy Boyd wrote Healing The Man Within, and Robert Teitelbaum wrote, Frogs and Snails and Mobster Tales; Growing up in Al Capone’s Shadow.
Telling one’s story is the first step in the healing process, and having a safe place to do the work is essential. At every group that a new man attends the words, “I thought I was the only one this happened to” is uttered on a regular basis.
Our hope is to continue being of service to as many courageous healers and their families as we can reach.