A Voice For The Innocent is an organization to allow people to share their stories of sexual abuse and rape to a listening ear who won't judge them and will still allow them to be as anonymous as they choose to be. There are far too many people who are out there suffering or holding in their own horrific stories for fear of judgment or shame. These people need to know that they have self worth. They aren't dirty. They aren't unfit for positive, functioning relationships. And they certainly aren't alone.
We are in the process of creating a website (www.avoicefortheinnocent.org) where people can share their story with other victims and can stay as anonymous as they choose to be. Also, they will be provided with resources such as counseling services, law enforcement, and suicide/substance abuse hotlines. Furthermore, they will be able to read an assembled group of statistics on the topic gathered from reputable sources so they can further their own education about this ongoing problem as well as raise awareness around themselves.
My name is Jamie Sivrais. I am a 28 year old male and I am a sexual abuse victim. I don't tell you this for pity. I don't say this so that I can get some charity or attention for it. And I certainly don't mention it so I can gain some sort of clout or admiration for having been through something like that. I mention it because it is cricial knowledge for the journey on which I am embarking. In my late elementary/early middle school years, I was sexually abused by my father. It lasted around 3 years. It included the viewing of pornographic magazines and movies, personal and mutual masturbation, and eventually even turned into my father performing oral sex on me. Most people who know me on even a semi-personal level know this about me. But allow me to back up.
My mother and father were never married. When I was a very young child of 2 or 3 years of age, they lost touch. When I was around 7 or 8 years old, my grandma ran into my father at a convenience store. Imagine my surprise and excitement as a young boy who had often asked his mother the whereabouts of his father. The arrangements were made. I'd start going over to his place one weekend night a month. Over time, this turned into a weekend a month, and then the familiar arrangement that so many children of separated parents know - I stayed there every other weekend. Over the years of me starting going there, I got to know my stepmother and my siblings. I established real, meaningful, and lasting relationships with people whom I had no idea existed before being reintroduced to my father.
I remember when my father started working for the Cincinnati Enquirer. I'd go with him on to the job most nights that I was there. We'd wake up around 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, go stuff papers, and then go deliver them, returning home around 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. This is when it all happened. While the rest of the house was asleep, 10 year old me was introduced to sex, pornography, and what would turn into a dirty secret that I didn't know how to share with anyone.
There's a certain give and take with parents and children. Everyone who had a steady parent learned how to say 'no' to them. I certainly remember crossing the line several times with my mom, because I knew how to push back. There's a natural quest for kids to search for boundaries, and I remember very well telling my mom that I wasn't ready to turn off the television. I wasn't ready to put away the Nintendo. I didn't want to come in and go to bed. Most of the time, we call this talking back, but I think it's more than that. It's a sign of comfort. I know that, because I never had that with my father. I never knew how to tell him 'no'. If he said I wasn't watching TV, that was that. I didn't even know how to counter his rules...I certainly didn't know how to say no to his abuse. And to be honest, I didn't even realize I was suffering from sexual abuse. I didn't think it was right or wrong...I just didn't think about it objectively at all. It wasn't until I worked up the courage to tell my mom what was happening and she said the words "sexual abuse" that I realized what had been happening for 3 years.
I've been through this. I have had my struggles along the way, but the fact of the matter is despite the horrific events I've been through, it's not nearly as bad as many people have dealt and are currently dealing with right now. The difference between me and so many people is that I had an amazing best friend I knew I could always talk to. I always had a mom who was there for me and supportive of me more than any other parent's I've ever witnessed. The most disgusting thing about everything to me is the thought that the people out there who are suffering what I suffered and worse have no one to talk to. I've shared my story with so many people who have told me their story and then told me I was the first person they've ever told. I can't imagine just walking around with these events playing over and over in my head...searching for any way out, but being repressed by someone who is too ashamed to tell. Too afraid to feel dirty. Too caring to get someone in trouble.
This needs to stop. I have spent the last 2 years brainstorming and the last several months in hard planning. I am creating a place for people to share their story. A Voice For The Innocent is an organization in it's early stages. The purpose is to allow people to share their stories of sexual abuse and rape to a listening ear who won't judge them and will still allow them to be as anonymous as they choose to be. We are still working on it, but I want to get people talking. There are far too many people who are out there suffering or holding in their own horrific stories for fear of judgment. These people need to know that they have self worth. They aren't dirty. They aren't unfit for positive, functioning relationships. And they certainly aren't alone.
In these early stages, I am looking for suggestions, potential volunteers, victims who are willing to share their story, and most of all support. Spread the word. We can make a difference in peoples' lives.
Thanks for reading this. Please help spread the word. More will come soon.
Twitter - @avfti
www.avoicefortheinnocent.com (coming soon)