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Speaking Truth to Shame: 1in6 Thursdays on the Joyful Heart Foundation Blog

“…I guess, start at the beginning…” That’s how the recently-premiered Bristlecone video starts, and what a moving and powerful 90 minutes the presentation was.

The Bristlecone Project celebrates the courage of a growing number of male survivors of sexual abuse who defy the stigma and renounce the shame that have for so long silenced men who have been sexually abused. The new, 30-minute film portrays a number of the men who participated in the photography project, eloquently describing their process of healing from childhood sexual abuse. Their courage, and their stories of struggle and triumph, offer hope to the millions of American men who suffer sexual abuse, many of them still silenced by shame and stigma.

Their courage, and their stories of struggle and triumph, offer hope to the millions of American men who suffer sexual abuse, many of them still silenced by shame and stigma

We were invited by Jeff Dion, the Executive Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime to premiere the Bristlecone video at their annual conference this past week in Anaheim, California. From the moment we arrived we were overwhelmed by the hospitality and welcome of everyone involved.

Walking through the venue, two-foot by three-foot Bristlecone portraits were placed throughout, promoting not only the premiere, but the photo project itself. Bristlecone postcards were placed at every one of the over 800 seats in the grand ballroom, giving attendees a little more information to take away.

The oft-used ”you could hear a pin drop” was never more appropriate than for this audience, which was completely engaged. Many in attendance leaned forward throughout the entire film, fixated. Most, if not everyone was wiping tears from their eyes, and there was even an occasional chuckle. “Powerful,” “moving,” “affirming,” were all words that we heard during the Q & A that followed and as people left the screening.

To be clear, we’re not filmmakers, and we know that we walk in the shadow of pioneers like Kathy Barbini and Simon Weinberg, producers of the groundbreaking film “Boys and Men Healing.” But I could not have been more proud of this 1in6 awareness campaign. NOTE: The Bristlecone video will be available for license on the 1in6 website in early October.

Special acknowledgement to David Lisak, our board chair, and the creative genius behind the Brsitlecone project, and Andy Langdon, our editor extraordinaire. And…extra special acknowledgement to every one of the 53 men who have participated in the Bristlecone project to date and the over 75 men in the queue waiting to do so. I salute you all.

Steve LePore

Steve LePore
Founder/Executive Director

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