The Bristlecone Project

Portraits and Biographies of Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

John Chapman

Raised in a family with an abusive and alcoholic father, John was targeted by a neighborhood man who first mentored him and then betrayed and sexually abused him. Caught in the web of his abuser’s manipulations and intimidation, and increasingly withdrawn and isolated, he prayed to God, asking for help.

John promised that if he received help he would devote himself to helping other children who suffered abuse. Help came, John managed to escape his abuser’s control, and he kept his promise. At the age of 15 he was invited to join the Law Enforcement Explorer troop run by the local police. He did, and by the age of 21 he was himself a police officer, and eventually was promoted to detective.

John joined an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and tracked down sexual predators by posing online as a young boy, and then located, arrested and helped to prosecute the predators. Having kept his promise to help other abused children, John turned his attention to his own healing. He sought therapy, and was one of 200 men who participated in Oprah Winfrey’s 2010 show that highlighted male survivors of childhood sexual abuse.