The Bristlecone Project

Portraits and Biographies of Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Randy Ellison

Raised by a “Victorian” mother and under the shadow of an angry, alcoholic father, Randy was targeted as a young teenager by a charismatic Methodist minister who first groomed and then sexually abused him for three years. When the abuse stopped, when Randy turned 18, he sealed it within himself and never told anyone what had been done to him. But the abuse had its effects. By 18 Randy was drinking and using marijuana regularly. For the next four decades, Randy medicated himself with either drugs or alcohol every day. He and his wife raised a family, but the burden of his secrets isolated him from his children. Despite carrying this burden, Randy moved from one career to the next and managed to succeed at each turn. Although he could not confront the abuse, he protected his soul and expressed his creativity through his work; and he maintained his religious faith.

Then one night he was confronted with the sight of his nine year old grandson frozen in terror, a sight that opened the door to Randy’s own long-suppressed trauma. He immediately started therapy, and has been committed to healing ever since. Randy’s inner strength has been tested and found to be solid; able to support not only his own recovery, but that of other survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Through his public speaking and advocacy work on behalf of survivors in Oregon and across the country, and through his book, “Boys Don’t Tell,” Randy embodies the transformation of childhood trauma.