April is the month where many people bring light to the the issue of childhood sexual/physical abuse. Childhood sexual trauma is real and it is happening at an alarming rate. If you turned on your local news you’d see stories of children being sold into sex trafficking or school teachers having inappropriate relationships with young students. Childhood abuse has many faces and it’s important for us to have these discussions, we can’t afford to sweep it under the rug and act like it isn’t happening. I began my journey in 2012, I finally opened up about my childhood trauma after three decades of silence here’s the link, ressurrection.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/marko-hamlin-one-mans-story-of-overcoming-child-sexual-abuse-and-depression/ I’m on a mission to raise awareness and to help victims heal. There are many victims suffering in silence today, it’s not about me alone but I want to give those people a voice. I also want to prevent other children from becoming victims.
Statistics show that 1 out of 6 men will be sexually abused by the age of 18. I disagree with this statistic because many men live in silence and take those secrets with them to their graves. Many cases are never reported because many men are taught to be tough and to never display any form of emotion under any circumstance. Many men who’ve experience childhood abuse live in shame, I want to help those men and can do so with the help of my community. Please help me reach my goal. I’ve created a nonprofit Need You To Survive (N.Y.T.S.) we are a Christian based organization and our focus is helping male victims of sexual abuse. N.Y.T.S. will create a safe environment for men to open up and begin the healing process. There are many resources for women victims but not for male survivors. We will conduct workshops and use other resources to educate and equip male victims so they can live extraordinary lives. We will partner with local counseling services to ensure that our men are getting the proper help and are able to deal with issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, and depression. Mental illness is a taboo subject and often frowned upon, it needs to be addressed in order for victims to be able to move forward. Healing is process, it doesn’t happen over night. I believe as men begin their process to recovery, families can be restored and reconciliation can take place. We are also planning an annual “No More Silence” Hoops Tournament, we also want to include a Freedom walk, where we can support victims of child abuse in the DC Metropolitan area. We will engage our communities and teach them the many signs of abuse. Education is critical and could help prevent children from becoming targets. If you want to partner with us please feel free to donate here: www.gofundme.com/markohamlin any amount would be appreciated.
Thank you for your support and you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Marko Hamlin “an overcomer”
Many victims of childhood sexual trauma are living in bondage. Many people like myself were threatened at an early age with severe physical punishment if family secrets were told to anyone on the outside. You’d be amazed of how many children are being sexual violated in their homes by people who are closest to them. Studies show that 90% of victims are sexualIy abused by close relatives or friends of their family. While I was in the Foster Care system from the age of four to eight, I can remember being terrified of the consequences I would face if I would tell anyone what was going on in that home. Although I was being sexually, physically, and mentally abused I was taught early on never to tell anyone, or there would be hell to pay.
I believe that the people in the black communities adapted to the “don’t snitch” attitude because of what was happening in our homes. People who live by the code on the streets, I mean the real gangster type would never snitch on anyone. For those of you who don’t know what snitching is, it’s usually associated with someone who cooperates with authorities such as the Feds, these people are informants, they give pertinent information to Law Enforcement and turn on their counterparts when facing severe punishment. Some (snitches) have their sentences reduced significantly by giving up a person’s whereabouts and their involvement in a particular crime of some sort. In my case, I was very young and was fearful because I didn’t want to prolong being reunited with my biological family. My mother was in the process of getting her life on track after she lost custody of her children because of her alcohol addiction. I thought that if I would snitch on the people harming me, the state would take me away and place me into another Foster home, and I would never see my family again.
If I could go back and change my past, I would tell my social worker what was going on in that house. It would’ve saved me much heartache and pain. Those who adapted that “don’t snitch” mentality, it may be cool for the streets but not in our homes where innocent children are being violated. Since coming forth and sharing my story, I understand why many victims of sexual abuse are still living in silence. Many will take those dark secrets to their graves. I lived in silence for almost three decades and it took a toll on me physically and mentally. Silence can be deadly, not only can it affect your health, it can turn your heart cold and make you question your purpose here on earth.
Today I’m free because of my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, He allowed me to finally open up about my past. God gave me the strength to go back and revisit my childhood and to forgive all that harmed me, I then was able to begin the healing process. God can take a bad situation and turn it around for a greater purpose. I’m now able to tell my story to help other people move forward. It’s a new day and I believe that people will be healed and homes will to be restored. The only way to move forward and to become an overcomer is to acknowledge that there is a problem. For generations, we’ve been taught that silence is golden but if we remain silent the cycle of dysfunction will remain, in fact it will only get worse. I’m a living witness of the power of God, I could’ve given up on life long ago but today I understand that I’m here to encourage others and to give them hope. I found my purpose!
On January 29th 1982, I was born into a world where I would have to undergo many storms. I am grateful to God for allowing me to see another year but also for giving me the strength to keep pressing on. Many victims of childhood sexual abuse are no longer here, many have committed suicide and many have lost their minds. As I continue to go through my healing process, I will continue to fight for those people who are living in silence. I vow to never give up despite how hard it gets. I will continue to be a vessel for those who are bound by mental illnesses and those who are living in the grips of depression. We are more than conquerors, we are no longer survivors, we are now overcomers. Happy birthday to me!
I never claimed to be the toughest dude or as we say it around my way “the most thoroughest” if that makes any sense at all. Those who know me would tell you that I was a tall, slender goofy dude that always had people cracking up. I loved to make others laugh but deep down inside I was holding onto some deep emotional scars, I was holding onto some deep and dark secrets. Secrets that could potentially put my life and the lives of others in jeopardy. Because I was a victim of sexual, physical, and mental abuse at such an early age I had some serious trust issues. So I carried that baggage into adulthood, when I became a man, I vowed never to let anyone ever harm me again. I also never wanted to harm anyone else intentionally but to ensure that I protected myself, I began to carry a pistol, my first gun was a black P95 manufactured by Ruger. So here I am a young man enlisted in the Army, I was lost and deeply wounded, carrying a loaded weapon for protection. I was never afraid to use my hands to fight but because of the childhood trauma I endured, I promised never to let anyone put their hands on me ever again!
I can recall a few instances where I let anger get the best of me and because of God’s grace, I didn’t harm myself or anyone else. Anger can be vicious if not channeled properly. Many men don’t know how to deal with anger, that’s why many are locked up behind bars and our prison system is overcrowded. A bunch of angry men who acted out of frustration and landed themselves behind those prison walls. I can’t knock them at all because I have done some things that could have landed me in prison also. After I left the Army, I went to college in Hagerstown, Maryland to play basketball. While there I can remember a time when one of my teammates got into it with some of the locals at a community day event. I was just chilling around the house when I received a call from my Point Guard, he was surrounded by a group of locals and needed some help. I remember grabbing my pistol and running full speed to his location, I know I looked like a mad man running through the streets with a loaded pistol in my hands ready to let bullets fly without asking any questions at all. Now please know that I’m not sharing this to glorify that lifestyle at all, I just want to give you an idea of how unresolved anger can destroy your life. At that moment all I was thinking about was saving the starting Point Guard on my basketball team but in all actuality it was much deeper than that, I wanted to be his protector because as a child no one was there to protect me.
There was another instance where I was playing in a men’s league with a few co-workers, we were beating this team pretty badly. The referees lost control of the game and our opponents began to take out their frustrations on a few of my teammates. They were fouling us pretty hard, I mean literally throwing ferocious elbows. I can remember getting so upset and screaming at the refs to end the game before someone got hurt. One of their players fouled my teammate so hard and I came to his defense and pushed him off of him, once again the protector in me came out. As soon as that happened another one of their teammates stepped up and started running his mouth about what he was going to do to me, all I heard was “blah blah blah” and immediately anger began to rise up and I thought about my childhood experiences. I had flashbacks of being violated as a little boy and I wasn’t going to allow anyone to hurt me ever again, all I could think about was killing him so I began to break out into a full sprint to my truck to grab my pistol. I was about to to shoot this dude because I didn’t know how to control my emotions.
Sorry to do this to you but you have to purchase my memoir to get the rest of the story, I plan on releasing it in the Summer of 2017. Anger can be deadly, I thank God for how much I have grown over the years. I’m at a much better place today, instead of allowing my childhood to destroy me, I first had to go back and address those issues. I went back after three decades of silence, to began to heal that little boy inside of me. Many men don’t know how to be men because the little boy inside of them needs to be healed. I had to forgive those who wronged me and I was then able to move forward. God had to take me back to a hurtful and traumatic place so he could began a good work in me. I wish I could tell you that it was an easy process but I can assure you that it was worth it. I now use my past to help others heal and to move forward past childhood sexual trauma. I still have some issues stemming from my past but I don’t have to fight those issues alone because His strength (Christ) is made perfect in every one of my weaknesses.
The first picture was of me at the age of five, don’t be fooled by the smile. I was in the Foster Care system, I had been removed from the care of my mother and split up from my siblings who were in another home. My mother struggled with alcoholism which caused her to lose custody of her children. While in Foster Care, I was given shots of liquor, I was being sexually abused by two teenage family members, I was beat continuously and forced to fight children and adults on a daily basis.
The next picture is of me at about the age of 25, I was a military Veteran and battling severe depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I was lost and on the verge of ending it all by making careless decisions. I was in a fatal car accident, where I witnessed the horrific death of two people. I was at one of the lowest points of my life. I would drowned myself in alcohol and to ease my pain I would sleep with different women, I was trying to fill a void that only Jesus could fill!
The next picture is my mother and I getting baptized at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden. I was tired of running and realized that I couldn’t fight this fight alone, so I decided to give my life to Christ and she did the same! God is a God of reconciliation! Not only did God give me a heart to forgive my mother for her shortcomings, but those that stole my innocence as a young child also!
The last picture is me sharing my story of overcoming my challenges right before I graduated from College in 2013. God had a plan for my life and through all of my pain and sorrow, God has kept me. I am now using my life’s experiences to help other victims, those who are living in the grips of depression. Although God didn’t cause for those things to happen to me as a child but I can assure you that it all worked out for my good and for His glory!
Please feel free to share this blog because it will encourage someone, we never know what people are dealing with internally!
For many years, I lived in a dark place because of the childhood trauma I experienced at such a young age. Although my innocence was stolen from me, I’ve decided to become an advocate to ensure that other children would not have to suffer like myself. Childhood sexual abuse is a taboo subject that not many people are willing to address but I refuse to be silent. I lived in silence for almost three decades but by God’s grace and mercy, I am now free. I’m no longer living in bondage.
Through my relationship with Jesus Christ, I’ve learned to forgive the three individuals who molested me, I’ve forgiven the Foster Care system for placing me into a abusive home, I’ve forgiven my parents for neglecting me and today I’m still going through my healing journey. Forgiveness has allowed me to began to heal and as I continue to move forward, I want to encourage other victims of childhood sexual trauma to do the same. It is a difficult process but it can be done, I’m a living witness. As I write this blog my heart aches for those men and women who were sexually abused as children, those that are currently living in silence. I want you to know that you are not alone, I know what it feels like to be defeated and not want to live anymore. I know the feeling of living a life of shame and feeling as if it was my fault. I want to encourage you never to give up, keep pressing on. The only reason I’m still here today is because God had a purpose for me and through all of the heartache and pain, all things work together for the good, to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Although God didn’t cause those horrific incidents that occurred early on, He used those traumatic experiences to bring me closer to Him and to use me as an instrument in order for other’s to see His power!
The month of April is National Child Abuse Awareness month, please talk to your children about childhood abuse, we cannot turn a blind eye to this issue because it is happening and I will not allow people to continue to sweep it under the rug. I want to thank you for reading this blog, feel free to share we never know who it may encourage!
This photo was taken on my birthday a few years ago. I often like to revisit my past because it is a constant reminder of how far I’ve come. God had his hand on me since I was a little boy and I am forever grateful! If the walls of this home could speak, you’d be surprised to hear some of the things that went on in this place. The Foster Care system can be brutal, in fact the state removed me from my mother’s care because of her addiction to alcohol and placed me in a place where I was tormented by people who were supposed to help me! I was a little boy who wanted to be loved but was violated in the worst way possible. I was an innocent child who just wanted to be loved, if these walls could talk they would tell you about the time when I was in Kindergarten and I was given alcohol and told to fight a woman who was mentally challenged. If these walls could talk, they would snitch on my the Foster Cousin who took advantage of me while I was sleeping. These walls would tell you how I was introduced to sex by my foster sister at the age of 5 and it was swept under the rug like it never happened.
Silence can be deadly, as a male who overcame childhood sexual trauma and lived in silence for many years I can assure you that silence can kill you! Most victims go to their graves without telling a soul that they were sexual abused. I’m glad that I have found my voice and can give other victims hope. It’s only by the grace of God that I’m here today and I’m thankful to be in my right mind in the year of 2016. Although I’ve gone through so much throughout my life, in the words of Pastor Keith Battle “my misery is now my ministry” and God is being glorified throughout my healing journey. I share my life with you all because many of you are broken and living a life of shame because of past hurts. I’m a living testimony of what God can do if you let Him began a good work in you. As I pen this blog, I am excited because my story could’ve had a tragic ending but God had a greater plan. Although my life started off a little rocky, my latter days are greater and I’m well on my way to be all that God called me to be! I have forgiven all who harmed me as a young child and was able to move forward. I dont live with a victim’s mentality but I now walk with my head held high because I am an overcomer! Be forever encouraged and never give up, I’m a living testimony of what God can do!