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Sep 28, 2000

Author works to assist victims of child abuse

Story Picture
On yesterday’s newscast we spoke to a Belizean author whose new collection of short stories recounts a more innocent era in Belizean life. Today, we introduce you to another Belizean author… but the autobiographical tale he weaves tells us that whatever innocence may have existed on the surface of Belizean society it was merely a veneer which covered some deep dark secrets.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

It was not easy reading about the unspeakable torture the author, Carlton Buller, experienced from the young age of five years old, but “Stolen Innocence” is a personal story Buller felt compelled to write. Buller, a survivor of physical and sexual abuse, believes that by telling his story he has made that first step towards personal healing. He also feels that he had to write about the problem that is crippling the future of children in Belize and abroad.

Carlton Buller, Author, “Stolen Innocence”

“I had to write my personal life story. I had to go back and relive all those experiences and experience the pain and allow myself to grieve over it in order to heal. That is a totally separate decision from deciding to publish it. I could have burnt it, but I decided along the way that it was too important and I needed to publish it for a couple of reasons. Number one, shame; I had to get rid of the shame and the only way to get rid of the shame is to put it out there. What shame is all about, is hiding things that you don’t want others to know about you, because you are ashamed of them because you feel that they will feel less of you about those thing. If in fact you put it out there for the world to see, you’ve got no shame, it’s already there and now you can walk with your head held high because you have already made a decision to accept whatever they think, come what may. The second part of that of course, was helping other people. I realised that I now needed to spend my life trying to help people, trying to get people to understand how terrible this really is, that we need to try and put an end to it right away and of course trying to help the survivors of child abuse find a way to heal themselves.”

“First of all this book is about child abuse in general and the terrible consequences of it. But it is also of the lesser-known phenomenon of the abuse of a male child by an adult female. For females, everybody, knows that men do that to little girls, and to some extent, there is quite a tremendous amount of resource that’s available to assist those little girls and adult survivors to heal themselves. There isn’t that much for men, there is still a taboo. You don’t talk about it. You’ve got to be macho, you’ve got to be this, you’ve got to be that, you’ll be considered soft and all kinds of stuff. So first of all, part of this effort is to do something to make people understand that for men, there is just a great as need and that men have the same feelings that women do, even though they don’t acknowledge it.”

“I’m probably 98% healed. I don’t think you’re ever healed from this kind of thing, and I actually suggested in the book, it is a continuing process. You must continue to take responsibility and that’s why people who have been abused must write. It’s a way of being in touch with the nurturing needs that you must continually give yourself. By writing, you’re continually taking your own pulse, and you’re continually measuring your own nurturing needs so you know what to do when you need to get some nurturing to continue to heal yourself.”

Buller grew up in Dangriga and for the last 20 years has lived in the United States. Stolen Innocence is available at the Angelus Press for $45 as well as major bookstores in the U.S.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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