A landmark Oprah Show event that’s never been done before.
Two hundred men courageously stand together to say they were all molested.
TUNE in on NOVEMBER 5 and NOVEMBER 12, 2010 to watch the show!
Matthias Conaty participated in this Oprah special as one of the two hundred survivors of sexual abuse. He serves on the board of directors of the National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children and is the vice chair for the National Child Protection Training Center board of directors.
As I sat in the audience of 200 courageous men at this groundbreaking taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show, my thoughts and emotions were difficult to contain. I felt my long journey of suffering and surviving sexual abuse and finding ways to cope with the toxic shame and blame it left behind had reached a turning point. Oprah pointed out what a tremendous amount of energy we had gathered with the noble purpose of shining a light of awareness on the pervasive, insidious human tragedy of sexual abuse of children.
A major theme in the show was how men who were sexually abused as children tend to stay silent. While this is also true of girls and women, statics tell us males are even more likely not to come forward. My transformation from victim of childhood sexual abuse to survivor began when I finally found my voice and was able to speak up. Thankfully I was believed. Family, friends and advocates supported me. I was able to help my home state, Delaware, pass landmark statute of limitations reform. This law, the Child Victim’s Act, allowed 10 victims of the man who abused me to be among the many victims who were able to speak up and move forward in their journeys of recovery. The community is now on notice that there are dangerous predators among us. Rooting out predators is critical because we must focus on preventing sexual abuse from happening to children right now and in the future.
For me, the indelible image from the Oprah show will remain the entire male survivor audience to holding up 8x10s of our childhood photos as the program began. That simple act alone was a powerful statement made by this landmark show. As adult men, we were standing up for the boys we once were and representing the thousands of silent children and wounded adults who are among us.
I am honored to work with the dedicated child protection professionals and volunteers at the National Child Protection Training Center. In this effort, I am able to turn a tragic part of my childhood into positive action for others today and in the future. NCPTC has a unique vision and purpose. We have set the goal of ending child abuse in the United States within three generations. Sounds idealistic, doesn’t it? It certainly is. It’s idealistic and critically necessary. Our executive director, Victor Vieth, has created an inspiring peer-reviewed plan of action — Unto the Third Generation — that is concrete and unfolding throughout the nation right now.
Since its inception, NCPTC has trained more than 40,000 front-line child protection workers and forensic interviewers in all 50 states and 17 countries. Prevention education is also a major component of our mission. Along with the prevention specialists of the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, NCPTC educates families and communities to prevent the exploitation of children. Prevention is delivered to adults, children, teens and community coalitions or agencies. Please join us in this grassroots movement to ensure minors are never again treated as objects and that all children are afforded the personal safety and dignity they deserve.
Matthias Conaty of Wilmington, Del., helped to lead the Coalition to Pass the Child Victim’s Act, which successfully lobbied the Delaware Legislature to repeal the civil statute of limitations and enacted a two-year civil window for victims of childhood sexual abuse in Delaware. He also serves on the board of directors of the National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children and as the vice chair for the National Child Protection Training Center board of directors.
NCPTC and NAPSAC are nonprofit organizations dedicated to ending child abuse through education, training, awareness, prevention, advocacy and the pursuit of justice. NCPTC promotes reformation of current training practices by providing an educational curriculum to current and future front-line child protection professionals around the nation so that they will be prepared to recognize and report the abuse of a child. You can make donations to NCPTC—a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, or NAPSAC—a nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization. All donations received will help fund services and programs of the organizations. Make a donation to NCPTC or NAPSAC today.
Click here to learn more about Oprah’s two-day show event.