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80: Real Talk, About Being A Male Victim of Sexual and Physical Abuse – Brian Cardoza

Imagine hiding a secret that made you question who you are, if you did something wrong, and causing you to feel like you are not worthy. Now imagine all of this started for you when you were 3, 5, 12. It happened at an age where you were meant to trust an adult, not fear them. All of this weighing on you as you enter into middle school, high school, college, young adult life, and beyond – without anyone know the depth of your secret – that you were physically and sexaully abused. It’ not an easy conversation, and that’s why we’re having it today.

Brian Cardoza, joins me as the two of talk about our experiences of being sexually and physically abused as young me, the toll it has taken on our lives and how we finally found the power to report and talk about it. We know there are many men out there who still struggle to find their voice in this arena so they can be heard, release their pain, and heal. That’s why we’re having the difficult but necessary conversation today.

About Brian

“We become a Superhero”, writes adult Brian Cardoza in a letter to his 6-year-old self. “We are mighty little one.  And we are brave.”  Brian suffered repeated sexual assault and physical abuse as a child.  He left home at the age of fifteen, nearly freezing to death the first night on his own.  Brian knows the trauma and despair victims must overcome to survive.  He not only chose to survive, he chose to give voice to an unspeakable topic and to challenge the stigma and shame often associated with male survivors of abuse.

Now an inspirational speaker, author, and artist, Brian’s message is one of responsibility and hope, and he works diligently to raise awareness and money to fight against childhood sexual assault and physical abuse.   A believer in the potential to change, Brian’s motto, “Don’t let this moment dictate the next moment” is familiar to many he inspires.

Brian and his story are featured in a number of national and international projects including a documentary for the EU, Forced, Promise Place’s documentary Ripple Effects, The BristleCone Project, and Huffington Post’s HuffPost Live segment for Child Abuse Awareness Month. He has been a contributing poet for Purple Sparks and a keynote speaker for a multitude of events highlighting abuse.  And he’s a certified OVC TTAC Consultant and RAINN Speaker.

Brian’s love for art began with drawing as a child.  He experimented with different mediums from charcoal to stone sculpting.   Stopping for a number of years to focus on culinary endeavors, Brian picked art back up at a time when he felt most alone.   Today, Brian’s art takes various forms including magnificently colored refurbished bicycles that he donates to children.  He’s passionate about learning new techniques and styles and the creative process continues to heal the child within.

Brian founded The Broken Knee Club, a non-profit organization created to provide a safe haven for all sexes to comfortably speak out about their experience of childhood and adult sexual assault.   In collaboration with others, Brian is building Survivor Knights, a community healing through creative expression. Survivor Knights’ exhibits highlight the enormity of the journey from trauma to healing through dark and bright works of art.   Brian’s words of encouragement to survivors, “Your darkest moments may be the light for another.”

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