Chris de Serres talking about My Name Is Project and how to participate:
I just wanted to mention something because I know if I think of it during the holidays then many other survivors probably do. When Thanksgiving would come around, for too many years, I would think of suicide. This stretch of time, from Thanksgiving all the way up to New Years, has always seemed so hard for me to get through.
My life has changed quite a bit now. I have more reasons to be living than at any time in my life. My beautiful wife and daughter. My friends, including all of you here who know personally why we think of suicide. Even with all of that, my heart still pulls toward that feeling.
About ten years ago, I used to scramble alone to the top of mountains and, if there was a cliff, I would stand on the edge and think how little I had to live for. I wondered who would really care if I fell here. Sometimes I would climb down cliff faces to ledges. I told myself that if I fell then I was just meant to.
So I scrambled to the top of Mt. Higgins. It was known for having a high precipice at the summit. When I got to the top, I was alone. So I stood at the edge of the precipice and did the thing I always do. Wonder if I mattered. I think that was the closest I ever came to just choosing to fall. I heard some low yelping behind me. It was a dog. My dog Scout. It may sound weird but I think he sensed what was going on. I had forgotten he was even there. But I didn’t have the heart to leave him alone. So we hiked back down together.
Before we left, I took a picture of old Scout, at the edge of the precipice. Ironically it’s one of my mothers favorite pictures. She blew it up and put it prominently on the mantle of her fireplace. Scout has long since passed away. But every holiday, when I come home I look right at it. It reminds me that no matter what there is always someone who loves me and will miss me if I leave. It’s something all of us should remember.
We’ve had great interest in the My Name Is Project and are waiting with much anticipation for you to submit your survivor video stories in support of this project.
Recently I had the priviledge of participating in the Oprah two-part event on male survivors of child abuse. The first show aired last Friday and began with an emotional opening where the entire audience of 200 male survivors held up pictures of themselves at the age when they were first abused.
It was a powerful moment, standing amongst all those men, holding up a picture of who I was before my life changed so traumatically.
(Wo)Men Speak Out has an idea based on that powerful moment on Oprah. We are working on a new video montage which will hopefully include pictures of all of you. We all have our individual stories. But we have a collective story of abuse that is worth telling to everyone who has felt trauma in their lives, and to those who haven’t.
So this is a call out to ALL SURVIVORS. If you are interested in participating in this montage, send us a high resolution picture of you holding a picture of yourself at the age of your abuse under your chin. Also, include the age of abuse and you can optionally include your name as well. We will collect all of the submissions and create a video montage telling a shared story of abuse.
We need as many submissions as we can because we want this to show the magnitude of abuse and at the same time the human face of survivorship.
Also, keep your personal video submissions coming in. We need to create our video community of survivor stories to inspire all of our brothers and sisters who are right now suffering in silence. The only way we can do it is with your stories.
Thank you for participating in this project. Break the silence. To live.
Chris de Serres
The Male Survivor Conference in New York City is fast approaching and there are some new updates since we last announced our sponsorship of the event.
Mike Lew will be giving a workshop. He’s been a great ally and supporter of our organization. He wrote Victims No Longer, a great resource for male survivors, at a time when there weren’t many books on the market covering male survivorship. Also Richard Gartner, the author of Beyond Betrayal, will be expected for a workshop of his own. I can’t say enough about Betrayal. Well written, practical, and presenting a mastery of the issue of male survivorship.
Check out the Male Survivor lineup for more details. Better yet, save the date and go to the conference! It’s a great opportunity to educate yourself and be inspired by these great advocates and experts in the field. As well as expanding your community of peers to make change happen for survivors everywhere.