Tonight's special guest is Ernest Ciardi from Teaneck, New Jersey, a university professor, musician, writer, and survivor of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). His uncle was his primary babysitter and began sexually abusing him at a very early age. While his father never knew of the abuse until many years later after his uncle had died, his mother (now deceased) knew early on and failed to protect him allowing the abuse to continue. Ernie says, "My mother caught him several times and told him to stop. She didn't want to lose the apartment, so I was victimized because my mother was reluctant to tell my grandmother that her son was a sexual predator." The trauma of these experiences followed Ernie for much of his life. Like many sexually abused children, he began touching himself and he recalls his mother scolding him for this. In school years he developed a stutter, low self-esteem, and struggled with using public restrooms or changing in locker rooms. In high school he suffered conflicted feelings about his sexuality and obsessive thoughts about males lusting after him. Later in college, he had difficulty expressing interest toward females due to worrying that his attention would be unwanted and make them feel victimized as he had felt. While therapy has helped and he describes his supportive wife as his ‘savior', Ernie says, “there are images and feelings that are permanently etched into my consciousness,” and, “the fears and memories never go away; they just go dormant until something wakes them.” Recently Ernie has written a story about his victimization entitled “The Fawn” and plans to use this to speak with college students about CSA. Please join us as Ernie shares his story on our show for the first time. We are very glad to welcome him as a new member of our NAASCA family!
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