Healing from childhood sexual trauma. One in six boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of eighteen. This is the story of Brian, a Herculean painter, writer, chef, and childhood sexual trauma survivor. “We become a superhero,” Brian wrote to himself in his acclaimed memoir. In this episode, Brian shares his story and how he uses his experience to help other victims of sexual abuse. The Brave Files Podcast.

We Are A Superhero: Surviving Childhood Sexual Trauma

With Featured Guest

Brian Cardoza


Top Takeaways From This Episode

  • You are stronger than you think you are!
  • While you may not choose what happens to you, you can choose how you let it affect you.
  • You are not alone!
  • Making a conscious decision to live healthier and happier every day, is a key to happiness.
  • Healing begins when we realize we can’t change the past so we must focus on the future.

Gentle Giant

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.

Healing from childhood sexual trauma. One in six boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of eighteen. This is the story of Brian, a Herculean painter, writer, chef, and childhood sexual trauma survivor. “We become a superhero,” Brian wrote to himself in his acclaimed memoir. In this episode, Brian shares his story and how he uses his experience to help other victims of sexual abuse. The Brave Files Podcast.

His dream…

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

Giving is Good

In giving back to people of trauma, Brain supports Survivor Knights. Although not a traditional 501(c)(3), Survivor Knights is a traveling art show that helps people with trauma speak about their pain through the medium of art.

Survivor Knights has two taglines:

“We don’t care what you survived, we just care that you did”  and “Communities create survivors but stronger survivors create stronger communities.” They not only connect with sexual abuse survivors but also cancer survivors and others who need to heal.

Learn more about them via their website, or Facebook. We also encourage you to follow #SurvivorKinghts on Instagram to see some of the artwork featured.

"When you realize you cannot go back and change what happened, and that you can only control how you react, you start to gain control over your life."

- Brian Cardoza

Meet your Host, <em style="color:teal">Heather Vickery<em>

Meet your Host, Heather Vickery

Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.

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