At 6ft 2” 320 lbs, Brian Cardoza is a giant of a man. He is a Rockstar human. His story, however, isn’t congruent with his size or stature.
Brian is a sexual abuse survivor. Pause for a moment and hear that again … This strong, straight, man is a sexual abuse survivor. While it is horrifying and devastating to hear, Brian was abused from the ages of 6-9. Even worse, his abuse was orchestrated by his older brother who blamed him for their father leaving the family. Brian’s brother essentially sold him, at the age of six, to an older friend who violated him, sexually, for three years.
Sexual abuse is not only a problem for women and girls.
Although Brian outgrew his raper, the abuse didn’t stop there. This time the abuse came from an unexpected source. Unlike other young children that had sweet kind doting mothers, Brain had a cruel mom that verbally and mentally abused him. He was left feeling neglected and personally responsible for his own torture. Worse still, when he was 15 years old, his mother threw him out of the house and he was forced to fend for himself.
Unlike many children who have been where Brian was, he survived and learned to thrive despite the massive amount of abuse he endured. Thankfully, he went on to achieve some incredible things. Brian is a classically trained chef, painter, and an inspirational speaker. Additionally, he has a book that made it to the library of Congress.
Healing from childhood sexual trauma
It may surprise you to hear this, but Brian is a happy individual. He has worked hard to understand how to live a happier, fulfilled life and part of that comes from helping others step out of the darkness.
Part of the healing process has been letting go. After Brian was kicked out of the house and a few years passed, he reached out to his family in an attempt to get closure. Sadly, he didn’t get it and finally decided to walk away from his toxic family.
He hasn’t looked back since.
One way Brian found healing was to make a conscious decision that every day would be better. He would will it to be so – – And he now has a lot of good days.
In his book, The Unexpected Victim, he shares his past experiences and hopes to help other abuse survivors heal. He talks about the tortuous process of writing his book and how his editor helped him write a clear story that was palatable for people.
All writers have a dream. Many imagine walking through the airport and see their book on the shelves in the airport bookstores. This is an image Brian is actively manifesting … But the airport is no casual location for Brian. Many, many victims of human trafficking are taken through the airports and Brian hopes these victims will see his book and know there is a way out. A way to survive and, eventually, thrive.
Although he almost froze to death when his mom threw him out of the house during an Alaskan winter, he has come a long way since then. He’s a survivor who now uses his experience and platform to help others.
Learn more about Brian and connect with him on his website.
You are not alone – Call to action
If you or anyone you know is currently being abused we urge you to connect with RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization.
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
When you call 800.656.HOPE (4673), you’ll be routed to a local RAINN affiliate organization based on the first six digits of your phone number. Cell phone callers have the option to enter the ZIP code of their current location to more accurately locate the nearest sexual assault service provider. These calls are 100% private and confidential.
They can help you by
- Confidential support from a trained staff member
- Support finding a local health facility that is trained to care for survivors of sexual assault and offers services like sexual assault forensic exams
- Someone to help you talk through what happened
- Local resources that can assist with your next steps toward healing and recovery
- Referrals for long term support in your area
- Information about the laws in your community
- Basic information about medical concerns