Tony Rogers is one of three men prominently featured in the powerful documentary, Boys and Men Healing. The film recounts Tony’s path from boyhood sexual abuse to angry teenage years on the streets of Oakland, California to choosing to heal and ultimately becoming a strong African American man leading a productive and hopeful life of connection and service to others.
Between the ages of 9 and 11, Tony was raped by a stranger and sexually assaulted by a male relative. Since he testified successfully at the age of 10 in the criminal trial against the serial rapist who assaulted him, Tony has tirelessly used his voice to encourage teens and adults to confront injustice, to actively heal from the wounds of discrimination and trauma, and to move beyond a narrative of victimization. As part of his own healing process, he learned that by speaking without shame about his own childhood experiences, he has helped heal himself by helping others.
After graduating from UC Berkley in 1993, Tony returned to his own high school in Oakland, California where he began teaching students not only the material for his classes, but how to live healthier lives. As a dedicated teacher, he has many opportunities to be a positive example and mentor to boys who have experienced sexual abuse and other great hardships.
Tony continues to be part of a peer-led support with other Bay Area men who experienced sexual abuse as children. His fellowship with those courageous men, and their years of deepening respect and support for each other, show what’s possible when men work together to free themselves from silence, shame and isolation.
As a longtime advocate supporting those who would reclaim their personal power, Tony draws on a rich family tradition of speaking up for justice and against racism and intolerance in his efforts to help others embrace their best potential. Finding sustenance and inspiration in the spiritual and cultural legacy of his African American upbringing/heritage, Tony began speaking at a young age to youth groups, peers, and adult community groups about the value of service to others and the importance of claiming the right to be successful.
Tony continues to speak publically at churches and community meetings, about his own experiences with sexual abuse and healing, and his hopes and encouragement for other boys and men like himself. And his presence in Boys and Men Healing will inspire many more than he can ever know.
Dear 1in6 Visitor,
I have encountered many other men who were raped as children, and some as adults. Once I remembered what happened, I talked about it. Surprisingly, the more I shared with men that I knew and talked about the process I was going through, the more they shared.
I was once a youth who toted a gun and thought of killing anyone who pissed me off. I know that being raped as a child separated me from my spirit. I thought I was broken most of my life. I struggled, fought, cried, prayed and meditated my way back to me. From my experiences, I know that the high homicide rates in the urban centers are connected to people who are in pain.
I have recently dedicated some of my life to helping other men and boys recover from rape and sexual abuse. I speak out and address this issue at churches and community meetings. It has been particularly challenging because I am usually the only man who speaks on this.
It was the silence that killed me. So I know that as long as I speak out, I can help others unlock themselves from the prison of holding on to the secrets and memories of being raped or sexually abused.
I hope that these words reach you. And I hope that the resources on this website give you understanding and hope, and help you to free yourself and to have the life you want and deserve.