Carmelo /

“Spoiler alert, this is a coming out story. You may know Amita Swadhin (@amitaswadhin). They are an educator, storyteller, activist and my dear friend for over 25 years. They are also the founder of Mirror Memoirs (@mirrormemoirsmedia), an oral history project centering the narratives of LGBTQ survivors of childhood sexual violence. Survivors just like me. From the age of 6 – 15 I was molested by familiar strangers, friends and family members. I hid this from the my world primarily for two reasons: 1. I didn’t want my mom to feel like she was a bad mother, unable to protect her child. 2. I feared what it would be like to confront the family members who molested me once I came out as a survivor. My mom and I both know now that she didn’t fail me. The people who failed me are the ones who took advantage of my youth. The ones who took advantage of my trust. The ones who knew and turned a blind eye. As for fearing my perpetrators, thanks to all the incredible human beings in my life who complete me, I no longer live in fear. I now live with purpose. My purpose by coming out to you today as a survivor of childhood sexual violence is to tell my story with the hope that no child in your life or mine ever experiences the sexual abuse that I and countless of other people in this world have experienced. My purpose is to do whatever I can to bring an end to childhood sexual violence. Thank you to the Mirror Memoirs community for creating the space that has allowed me to finally feel maybe not so comfortable, but confident, in my skin as an out survivor. I would also not feel as safe and complete as I do without the love and support of my fiancé, Bryan Vo (@bryanvo)  I’m committed to creating that safe space for anyone in need. What I’ve learned through this process is that community is integral to healing. Thanks for reading and coming on this journey with me.”

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