Being a survivor of trauma is not gender specific, and even though I come from the male perspective of being a survivor, my mission is to reach everyone with a message of hope, encouragement, and to inspire survivors and those close to them, to not be silent. The unified message of trauma survivors is one that can change lives, and that’s what this particular post and podcast, with my special guest, is all about.
We start out talking about something that probably most every guy on the planet can relate too, and for the ladies, they’ve no doubt heard it too…
The “man card”, the thing that supposedly defines what a man is, or should be in the eyes of his peers. It’s been used in relation to everything from sports, to politics, to who’s makes the best burgers. It’s something that’s been joked about since the beginning of time I suppose.
“Dude, you just lost your man card”….”So when did your wife take your man card again?” I’m sure you’ve heard these and countless others before, and they can definitely be in good fun among friends. To that, did you know that there is actually an official (so to speak) definition of a man card?
A Man Card is required proof of manhood in order to become a respected member of the male community. It can and will be temporarily revoked if privileges as a Man are abused.*
So what does all this “card talk” have to do with Beyond Your Past? To that point, if you’re a woman and you’re wondering “what could this have to do with me?” Well, I’m glad you asked…
I recently had the honor of talking with friend, fellow survivor, advocate, artist, and author, Brian Cardoza, and we decided to record a podcast together. I’m stoked to share this with you, because this show was something that inspired me and also validated me as a survivor, in some incredible ways. Since we’re being real here, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been at your healing journey from trauma, more validation is always a good thing.
In case you aren’t familiar with Brian, he’s the author of , “The Unexpected Victim”, his story of recovery from repeated childhood sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. You can find his book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Brian’s message is one of responsibility and hope. As a survivor, he works diligently raising awareness and money to fight against sexual assault and physical abuse. He believes in the potential to change your circumstances by changing your thinking. His motto of, “Don’t let this moment dictate the next moment” is shared by the many that he inspires, and I’m definitely included in that group.
We covered so much during our time together, but I wanted to highlight a few key topics to get you ready for our conversation…
One of which was that “man card”, because when I mentioned it during our chat, he brought up such an insightful way to look it and how we need to redefine its meaning. You’ll notice I keep putting it in quotes, because I never put much stock in that man card stuff in the first place”.
Anyway…so what would it look like we could give a card to everyone who’s a survivor of abuse? To any man who steps up and shares his story, and refuses to be ashamed? To a guy who saves someone from being abused, or offers refuge to a victim when they have nothing left or nowhere to go? To a boy who speaks up and tells someone what’s going on in his home because he isn’t safe, or tells someone because his friend is living in an abusive home?
Now that my friends, is a real Man Card right there! As Brian also mentions, “I can still be a man and not have machismo, I can still be a man and be sympathetic. ” We get into that topic more in depth, so you’ll want to check out the podcast for sure!
We also discuss his speaking engagements, and how he tells his story to others in a way that completely grabs the attention of the audience. I mean let’s face it when you stand up on a stage and tell a bunch of strangers, “I am a rape victim”, you’re going to get some looks. As Brian describes, “I’m 6’2″, and almost 400 lbs, and I can bench press 605 lbs, and when I get up on stage I immediately break that stereotype of what a lot of people think when they talk about a male victim.”
We dive into that more, and discuss the importance of understanding that if you were a child when you suffered trauma, you were helpless and at the mercy of those who were not only bigger than you, but also those whom you thought you could trust…and should have been able to trust. You may very well be able to take care of yourself now, but there’s a world of difference between you now, and you as a child! To that point, as adult who suffered abuse, there are extenuating circumstances that don’t always permit you to “just leave” or go tell someone. The key here is, understand that as a survivor, you don’t always have the capability to escape or fight back.
Brian brought up a situation that unfolded during a past speaking engagement, and it totally floored me! He gave his presentation and afterwards a man came up to him and told him simply, “You Keep Talking for Us”, and then just walked away. Those 5 simple words completely validated him on the spot, it validated me as we talked, and it validates everyone who’s a survivor today.
You never know who is going to be impacted in a powerful way when you share your story and start doing anything to help make a difference in the world in a positive way. Even if you reach just one person with a message of hope and encouragement, that is a life changed forever, and that is amazing!
You’ll also learn about his artwork, his upcoming art show, more about his book, “The Unexpected Victim”, and his Facebook page, Survivor Knights. There is so much more that we talk about, and I can’t thank Brian enough for joining me on the podcast. His story, advocacy work, and incredible talent as an artist and author are inspiring. He is doing amazing things on behalf of not only male survivors, but all survivors.
We’re not just fighting for men’s sexual abuse awareness, we’re fighting the whole humanitarian fight to end it completely.
So grab those headphones or plug us into your car speakers and join us for an inspiring chat on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, with special Guest, Brian Cardoza.
Be sure and check out BrianCardoza.com for all the information on his story, the book, his art, and more!
Originally Published at Beyond Your Past
Photo: Getty Images