Tonight's special guest is Rick Cosentino from Palm Springs, California, a survivor of sexual assault, physical abuse and emotional trauma from an early age. Rick was raped while in foster care in San Diego, CA, when he was 5 years old. He explains, "My father left my mother with four kids. She had to go to work and took two jobs. A neighbor noticed we were alone and called the police which in turn took us from the home. Three of us ended up in one home and our youngest brother ended up in another. I was abused by both the husband as well as the wife." Rick believes he was the only target, not his siblings, because he was the youngest, the weakest. After a couple years Rick's mother succeeded in re-uniting the family and for years he tried put the horror he'd experienced out of his thoughts. But he stared using drugs at 12 and eventually became a "tough guy," fighting to prove he was a man. He married young and explains, "I walked thru life angry and hateful. My ex kept asking me what's wrong. I finally told her, and the look in her face was not of care but disgust. All her questions were of sexual nature not violent nature. She was disgusted and viewed me as less of man. My marriage was over." Thoughts of using a gun to commit suicide nearly drove him crazy. "Then one night I'd had enough, I was done dancing. As I started to squeeze [the trigger] my mother came to me clear as a bell in my mind. She said she loved me, she said I was needed. I couldn't understand what she meant." But, he concludes, "I do now. I got angry again, only this time I was angry at the people who hurt me and couldn't let them win by me dying. I still have nightmares but I knew I could be a service to others who are living like I did. I'm alive, I'm living proud with no shame and so can they."
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