Callen Harty is a writer, public speaker, and activist based in Monona, Wisconsin. Callen has published several books on a variety of topics, including the survivor experience, queer issues, politics, and more. You can find his website at callenharty.com.
Talia Fletcher is a poet, visual artist, and blogger speaking out about survivor issues at her blog dailysuperheroism.com.
There will be a free performance of the interactive play Ask A Sex Abuse Survivor on Sunday, May 21st at 3pm EDT on Zoom. Free tickets are available at https://askasurvivor.eventbrite.com.
In the show, survivor Michael Broussard tells the story of the abuse he experienced as a child and of his path to healing. He does this in a series of vignettes, pausing after each vignette for attendee questions and comments.
“The brilliance of Michael’s approach comes down to this Q&A—without realizing it, we have been empowered to have a conversation that is still so taboo in our society. We leave the performance feeling compelled to pay greater attention to victims and survivors, to feel their pain more deeply, and to act more decisively to protect children from abuse.” -Children’s Advocacy Centers of Pennsylvania
While the show is fairly intense and sometimes dark in nature, it also includes a healthy amount of humor and, ultimately, a very positive, empowering and triumphant message of hope and healing.
“This production is an excellent illustration of the healing power of art and community.”– Psychologist Margaret D. Sayers
“I came away from the performance uplifted, braver, and will always remember Michael’s courage and draw strength from it when needed in my own life.” – Survivor and New England Director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) Dave O’Regan
“As a psychologist who treats survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I would highly recommend this show to anyone who struggles with the emotional aftermath of these traumas.” – Clinical Psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Dale Blair
“I walked away with an understanding of the survivor experience that no book, training, or even my years of work as a therapist ever could have given me.” – Clinician Maureen O’Regan, Orleans Psychotherapy Associates
From Meg Lenherr, NCC, Counselor for Women’s Services, Inc. – “As a counselor who works with survivors of sexual trauma every day, I was amazed at the healing power of Michael’s honesty and courage while standing in front of an audience to perform his story in such a raw way. With splashes of colorful humor throughout the performance, Michael authentically and daringly painted the picture of the torment and abuse he experienced in a way that became tangible and relatable to everyone in the room. Before his performance was over I witnessed true healing in some survivors in the audience, who were able to discover, through Michael’s brave retelling of his story and the opportunity to ask questions, that they were not alone. Michael showed us that no one has to be alone as a survivor, and that everyone can heal. Whether you are a survivor or simply a supporter you will not be able to walk away without being deeply affected.”
From Children’s Advocacy Centers of Pennsylvania: “We hosted a virtual performance of Ask A Survivor and it felt just as dynamic and interactive as an in-person event. This show is as honest as it gets about the hard reality of child sexual abuse. As Michael tastefully recreates through dramatic monologue the most painful scenes of his childhood, we become “witnesses” to the abuse that Michael suffered alone and in silence for so many years. Yet this carefully guided journey does not abandon its audience in those dark places of memory. Michael strikes a “just-right” balance between raw emotional intensity and self-reflective commentary. Each memory-scene is followed by an opportunity for audience engagement—and Michael creates a genuinely safe space for participants to ask questions about this very sensitive topic. The brilliance of Michael’s approach comes down to this Q&A—without realizing it, we have been empowered to have a conversation that is still so taboo in our society. We leave the performance feeling compelled to pay greater attention to victims and survivors, to feel their pain more deeply, and to act more decisively to protect children from abuse.”