In the wake of the string of sexual abuse allegations and paedophilia in the media recently, author and film director, Kevin J. Marshall, bravely stands in his truth as a victim of sexual abuse and shares his story in his new book, Running away from me.
In his powerful and emotional new book, Marshall delves deep into the issues around child sexual abuse. Extremely topical, a recurring narrative among the recent high-profile sexual abuse allegations is the stereotypical idea of the victim turned abuser model, but in his book, Running away with me, Marshall is passionate about debunking this particular myth by sharing his own story of abuse and how it affected his life. He wants to: “help men, particularly Black men receive better help to deal with their own traumatic experiences, rather than marginalize them from society as ‘high-risk future predators’.”
Like many issues, the subject of abuse within the Black community is rarely acknowledged. This is indicative of the limited stats easily available that describe the prevalence of Black sexual abuse victims, especially when compared to the hyper-visibility of any and all-white victims.
Marshall is keen to expose the falsehood that sexual abuse only affects a certain group of people. He said: “The issue is widespread and not limited to a particular group. It cuts across all races, creeds, colour and religion. And of course, Black men have always been a part of all of these groups, but just haven’t been bold enough to step forward.” The largely negative responses to actor Terry Crews speaking out about his abuse distinctly illustrates Marshall’s point.
Supporting the book release is a documentary that looks into the tales, trials and successes of Black victims of sexual abuse.
Read an excerpt from Running away from me…
I never once imagined that your pain, my pain, would help others. I never dreamed the part of me I hated the most could be recycled into something else. Something that helped fulfil my dream of easing the pain of others and helping them recover. Only, I learned not to do it as a doctor, but as an author.
I will always be that 5-year-old boy, but I am no longer scared. I am who I am because of my past, because of the pain. Because I was molested.
My body was violated, but not my soul. That cannot be taken. And you showed me that I could make a difference—that I was destined to help and make a change in this world.
This book isn’t just for you, or me, but for every black boy that has suffered. It is for every person that has prayed for death because of the sexual abuse they have endured, because of the pain they have struggled with, and the hurt caused by someone who should have made them feel safe.
The shadows of our community stretch long and envelop us in them. We hide in those shadows because of our shame. We struggle with our identities, with our skin colour, and with the hyper-sexualisation of black men.
I understand the difficulty of speaking out against sexual abuse, and the fear that comes with it. But I also know the courage it takes, and I see it in many others. I know sometimes it can be difficult to put that courage into words, to find a voice. Yet, the most empowering ideas can come from within the minds of children, who still suffer in silence. Please, let this book speak out for them.
You do not have to live in shadows any more. You do not have to be ashamed; you do not have to be afraid, or to hide. You don’t have to run.
I’m no longer hiding. I’ve found my place, and I want to stand by you. I’m no longer running from the pain, no longer running from the past. I’m no longer…running away from me.
Buy the book from Amazon from 10 May 2019.