Men in My Town

Keith Smith, Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and Child Safety Expert Shares “5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe”

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on July 21, 2014

For more than 15 years, I served as a member of the board of directors of one of New Jersey’s most respected child advocacy agencies providing crisis intervention counseling services to child  victims of sexual abuse, 6 of those 15 years as President of the Board. As I write this article, I’m writing not as a board member, social worker, psychologist or academic. I write this article as an adult male survivor of childhood sexual violence.

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.

In 1974, at the age of 14, I was abducted, beaten and raped by a stranger, a  recidivist, pedophile predator hunting for boys in my childhood hometown of Lincoln, Rhode Island. Although my attacker was arrested and indicted, he never went to trial. He never went to trial because he was brutally beaten to death in the streets of Providence before his court date. Thirty-eight years after his murder, no one has ever been charged with the crime. Men in My Town is my story.

I’m writing not to tell my story, but to share my personal experience and what I’ve learned over the years, to help people understand the personal and societal effects of childhood sexual abuse and to share with you, 5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe.

Children who are victims of sexual abuse often resort to inappropriate behaviors to cope as they suffer through physical, emotional, behavioral and social problems directly related to their abuse. Some turn to drugs and alcohol, drop out of school, run away from home, suffer from eating disorders, sleeping disorders, personality disorders, stress, anxiety, depression, disassociation, post-traumatic stress syndrome and life threatening sexually transmitted disease.

Some children have difficulty forming trusting relationships, resort to physical violence, sexual promiscuity and inappropriate and sometimes criminal sexually reactive behavior. Some resort to cutting, self-mutilation and in the most extreme cases they’ve murdered their abuser while others contemplate, attempt or commit suicide.

Directly attributable to their sexual abuse, victims often suffer these enduring problems throughout their adolescence and into adulthood, many suffering through decades of silence, never disclosing their abuse.

But why not? Why don’t they disclose?

Sexually abused children and adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse remain silent out of misplaced guilt, fear, shame, embarrassment and under threat of violence from their perpetrators, threats of violence directed at the child or their family.  In time, some victims of childhood sexual abuse get the strength to come forward, the strength to speak out, the strength to face the demons that haunt them and the perpetrator of their abuse, while many remain silent, living with the debilitating, destructive side effects forever, never disclosing their abuse to anyone.

It saddens me to say that I believe sex crimes committed against children will never stop. The life altering physical, emotional, behavioral and social side effects of sexual abuse, suffered by children into adulthood, last a lifetime. With the personal and societal cost of childhood sexual abuse so high, it’s necessary for parents, grandparents and anyone with responsibility for the health and safety of a child to be aware of 5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe.

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Five Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe

Step 1.       Know the Facts

  • Approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by blood-relative family members; parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.
  • An incremental 60% of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone known to them, non-family members including neighbors, teachers, coaches, clergy, instructors, camp counselors, baby-sitters, step-parents, older kids in the neighborhood and friends of the family.
  • Fewer than 10% of children who are sexually abused are abused by strangers.
  • Less than 1% of children who are sexually abused are abducted and assaulted by strangers. Although very real, and it happened to me, the “Stranger Danger” risk of a child being abducted and sexually assaulted by a stranger is very low.
  • While “Stranger Danger” abductions and sexual assault are rare, the risk is very high. Odds are 50-50 if a child is abducted and sexually assaulted by a stranger, and the abduction lasts over 3 hours, the child will be murdered.
  • While we teach our kids to be aware of strangers, the facts show that over 90% of sexual assaults perpetrated against children are committed by someone known to the child.  Since that’s the case, the risk you face may not be from the stranger at the park, but from the very person you allow to take your child to the park.

Step 2.       Know the Signs

There are physical, emotional and behavioral signs that could indicate sexual abuse.

  • Physical signs include bruises, swelling, pain, rashes, cuts, bed wetting, self-mutilation, excessive weight gain or excessive weight loss.
  • Emotional signs manifest themselves when a normally happy, healthy, social child suddenly becomes withdrawn, sullen, sad or depressed. Or when a child experiences recurring nightmares, is unable or unwilling to sleep or experiences and discusses thoughts of suicide.
  • Behavioral signs can be seen when a child becomes excessively combative or exceptionally defiant. Some children no longer want to do things they liked to do or no longer want to be with people they liked to spend time with in the past. Behavioral signs can also appear in the form of age inappropriate sexual behavior, drug and alcohol abuse and suicide attempts.
  • Be aware that sometimes there are no signs at all.
  • While the presence of some of these physical, emotional or behavioral signs may be associated with, or dismissed as “adolescence,” we should be aware they are well known, documented warning signs of sexual abuse.

Step 3.       Know What to Do

  • Since over 90% of sex crimes committed against children are committed by either family members or someone known to the child, we should minimize the amount of alone time any child spends in one-on-one situations with an adult.
  • Demand that adults with access to children involved in school, school bus transportation, extracurricular activities, sport programs, summer camps, music, dance, gymnastics, skating or other one-on-one teaching lessons are subject to mandatory background checks.
  • Don’t leave children in the care of adults with known alcohol or drug problems.  Nothing more needs to be said.
  • Understand why a child might not tell. Children remain silent because of manipulation and misplaced guilt, shame, fear and to protect others.  If you suspect abuse and your child won’t tell, don’t assume abuse isn’t happening.  If you suspect abuse, trust your instinct, understand why a child might not tell and get help.
  • Use positive stories in the news as a catalyst for discussion. When you hear about the next Amber Alert, discuss it with your child. Let kids know that there is a system in place that alerts adults and law enforcement that a child needs help. The next time the news reports a missing child being reunited with their family, talk about it. Fear is the tool of the perpetrator.  As scared as a child may be during an assault, or an abduction, if they know that people are looking for them, if they know people are going to help them, the child may find some peace and hope in those thoughts.  Positive stories in the news, discussed with children before they need to rely on them, may just be the hope they need to get through their own experience.
  • Tell your child now, that you will believe them, they can trust you and you will help them.One way perpetrators manipulate their child victim is by telling the child no one will believe them. If a child knows before they’re abused, that you will believe them, that they can trust you and that you will help them, you’ve taken away the perpetrators leverage over the innocent child.

Step 4.       Know Where to Go

  • If you suspect child sexual abuse, anonymous and confidential help is available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Consider reaching out to ChildHelp at 1-800-4-A-Child. You can visit their website at www.childhelp.org or call RAINN, the Rape Abuse Incest National Network at 1-800-656-HOPE. RAINN’s website is  www.rainn.org

Step 5.       Know What to Say

  • I pray that you’ll never, ever need to know what to say, but should a child ever disclose to you that they’ve been sexually abused, the child needs to hear you say, I believe you. You can trust me. I will help you.

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Keith Smith, the author of Men in My Town, is a Survivor of a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault and a Keynote Speaker on the topic of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

The story of Keith’s assault and his transition from sexual assault victim to survivor has been featured in newspapers and magazines and his program, “5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe” has been discussed on radio and television.

Keith has lobbied government officials to prevent cutbacks to sex abuse prevention and counseling programs and he’s testified before the New Jersey State Senate Judiciary Committee seeking to eliminate the statute of limitation in civil actions relating to sex crimes committed against children.

Keith’s story has been covered by the New York Times. He participated in Oprah Winfrey’s award-winning show, 200 Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, was featured on Perspective : New Jersey with ABC Investigative Reporter Nora Muchanic and appeared on Anderson Cooper’s Special, State of Shame: The Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal.

More information is available at www.MenInMyTown.wordpress.com

Information about his novel, Men in My Town can be found at www.tinyurl.com/MenInMyTown

Keith’s Men in My Town LinkedIn Profile can be viewed at www.LinkedIn.com/in/MenInMyTown

Email Keith Smith at MenInMyTown@aol.com

Keith Smith, Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor answers the question, “What drives rapists?”

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on July 7, 2014

I recently participated in a discussion on “What drives rapists, power or sexual desire?”

For me, rape is an act of intentional criminal sexual violence.

I’m not concerned with what “drives” rapists (sexual desire, control, power, anger issues, entitlement) no more than I’m concerned about the root cause of robbery or car theft (poverty, unemployment, addiction, entitlement).

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.

Criminals, for various reasons, chose to commit crimes. Criminals who commit sexual assault, sexual abuse and rape, whether they are known to us or are strangers, are criminals who chose to commit sex crimes.

As a victim of a stranger-abduction sexual assault, my rape was a random act of criminal sexual violence. As a Survivor I have no interest in trying to understand what drove my rapist to repeatedly commit sex crimes and to hunt for young boys on the streets of my hometown.

What drives rapists?

For me, it’s not sexual desire. It’s not power. It’s neither control, nor anger, nor entitlement.

It’s choice.

Choice drives rapists.

Rapist rape because they choose to rape.

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Keith Smith, the author of Men in My Town, is a Survivor of a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault and a Keynote Speaker on the topic of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

The story of Keith’s assault and his transition from sexual assault victim to survivor has been featured in newspapers and magazines and his program, “5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe” has been discussed on radio and television.

Keith has lobbied government officials to prevent cutbacks to sex abuse prevention and counseling programs and he’s testified before the New Jersey State Senate Judiciary Committee seeking to eliminate the statute of limitation in civil actions relating to sex crimes committed against children.

Keith’s story has been covered by the New York Times. He participated in Oprah Winfrey’s award-winning show, 200 Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, was featured on Perspective : New Jersey with ABC Investigative Reporter Nora Muchanic and appeared on Anderson Cooper’s Special, State of Shame: The Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal.

Information about his novel, Men in My Town can be found at www.tinyurl.com/MenInMyTown

Keith’s Men in My Town LinkedIn Profile can be viewed at www.LinkedIn.com/in/MenInMyTown

Email Keith Smith at MenInMyTown@aol.com

As Victims, Men Struggle for Rape Awareness

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on January 24, 2012

Michael Nagle for The New York Times. Keith Smith was raped when he was a 14-year-old hitchhiker.

New York Times reporter Roni Caryn Rabin talks with Keith Smith, Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor about Male Rape. Click here to read the New York Times article. A version of this article appeared in print on January 24, 2012, on page D 1 of the New York edition with the headline: Men Struggle for Rape Awareness.

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Keith Smith, the author of Men in My Town, is a Survivor of a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault and a Keynote Speaker on the topic of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

The story of Keith’s assault and his transition from sexual assault victim to survivor has been featured in newspapers and magazines and his program, “5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe” has been discussed on radio and television.

Keith has lobbied government officials to prevent cutbacks to sex abuse prevention and counseling programs and he’s testified before the New Jersey State Senate Judiciary Committee seeking to eliminate the statute of limitation in civil actions relating to sex crimes committed against children.

Keith’s story has been covered by the New York Times. He participated in Oprah Winfrey’s award-winning show, 200 Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, was featured on Perspective : New Jersey with ABC Investigative Reporter Nora Muchanic and appeared on Anderson Cooper’s Special, State of Shame: The Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal.

More information is available at www.MenInMyTown.wordpress.com

Information about his novel, Men in My Town can be found at www.tinyurl.com/MenInMyTown

Keith’s Men in My Town LinkedIn Profile can be viewed at www.LinkedIn.com/in/MenInMyTown

Email Keith Smith at MenInMyTown@aol.com

American Troops in Afghanistan Reading Men in My Town

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on January 20, 2012
United States Marine, NATO Forces, Afghanistan. Semper Fi, Marine !

U. S. Marine Corps., NATO Forces, ISAF, Afghanistan. Semper Fi, Marine !

Lieutenant Colonel Denis Riel, Lincoln, RI - Kabul, Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Colonel Denis Riel. Lincoln, R.I., USA. Kabul, Afghanistan. One of the Men in My Town.

Abuse Survivor, Author, Keith Smith Talks to “Go Local Providence”

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on January 13, 2012

Anthony Faccenda, GoLocalProv Contributor Author

 Keith Smith’s novel based on his own abuse gets a screenplay treatment.

Although sexual assault is a difficult subject matter to discuss, it is a topic that is of vital importance. Author and survivor Keith Smith, is not only a talented writer, but also a preeminent advocate for victims of assault. A Rhode Island native, Smith was abducted and raped at the age 14 in Lincoln. Since then, Smith has lobbied government on behalf of sexual assault victims, served as a member of RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network), discussed matters of sexual abuse on television with Oprah Winfrey and Anderson Cooper, and also authored a book titled Men in My Town  (2009: BookSurge Publishing).

Fans of Men in My Town will soon be able to witness Smith’s story on the big screen, because the author’s gripping tale of survival has recently been transformed into a screenplay by filmmaker Ron Truppa. GoLocal caught up with Keith to discuss his book, advocacy and the upcoming film version of his life’s story.

For those who are unfamiliar with Men in My Town, can you give us a brief synopsis of the book?

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.

Men in My Townis based on actual events. It’s my personal story. In 1974, at the age of 14, I was abducted, beaten and raped by a stranger. He wasn’t a neighbor, a coach, a relative, a family friend or teacher. He was a recidivist pedophile predator who spent time in prison for previous sex crimes; an animal hunting for victims in the quiet suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island.

Although he was arrested and indicted for what he did to me, he never went to trial. His trial never took place because he was brutally beaten to death in the streets of Providence before his court date. 36 years after his murder, no one has ever been charged with the crime.

Men in My Town focuses on my relationship with a few men in my town, men who were close to me and my family, men who watched over me, men who protected me in the time between my assault and my assailant’s death. They’re good men with the capacity to do bad things. It’s a story that causes the reader to revisit their position on the question, “does the end ever justify the means” and vividly juxtaposes the good and evil that can exist simultaneously in every man.

Why did you write the book?

Men in My Town is my first novel and I needed to write it for a number of reasons.

First, it’s a good story worth telling. It’s a gripping suspense novel with a storyline that includes characters based on real people, real places and real events. It’s a glimpse into the street hustle hiding in the peaceful suburbs of Providence in the 1970’s, complete with gamblers, bookies, car thieves, petty criminals, organized crime, dozens of hard-working men, a twice convicted sex offender and a murderer or two.

Secondly, Men in My Town is my personal story. I am the 14-year-old boy in the story and only a few people, very few people, know what really happened to me on that cold winter night in 1974. I wrote Men in My Town to stop keeping this secret from the people closest to me, people I care about, people I love, my long-time friends and my family.

And finally, I wrote the story to raise awareness of male sexual assault, to let other victims know that they’re not alone and to help all victims of sex crimes understand that the emotion, fear and memories that may still haunt them are not uncommon to those of us who have shared a similar experience.

What was your writing process like?

I wrote this story inside out. I didn’t start by writing page one, chapter one. Instead, I listed the events I wanted to write about, the places I wanted readers to visit, the characters I wanted readers to meet and the emotion I wanted readers to feel. I wrote sections one at a time capturing the events, places, characters and emotion, then pieced them together in a sequence that made the story whole.

What do you hope that readers take away from your book?

First of all, I hope people read Men in My Town and enjoy the story. I hope my book helps people understand that violent crimes committed against children can occur anytime, anywhere, even in bucolic, beautiful, sleepy little suburban towns like Lincoln, Rhode Island. I hope every adult who reads Men in My Town takes a little more seriously their obligation to keep kids safe. I hope victims of sex crimes who read the book feel a little vicarious justice and everyone realizes that sometimes it’s the perp, not the abducted child, who ends up dead.

What was your initial reaction when you heard that filmmaker Ron Truppa was writing a screenplay based on your novel?

I was very excited about getting an unsolicited call from a Hollywood guy. In our first phone conversation Ron said, “I’ve always wanted to film a movie in Rhode Island and I think I found the Rhode Island project I’ve been looking for.” After a few phone calls and hours of conversation, I felt an immediate connection with Ron.

In December ’09, Ron flew in from L. A., I came up from Trenton and we got together in Lincoln. We retraced the events of the night I was attacked, from the barber shop on Front Street where I left my hockey team meeting, to the spot where I was abducted in Lonsdale, to where I attempted to jump out of the car in Fairlawn, to where I was assaulted in Lime Rock,” We went to places described in Men in My Town – Kiernan’s Lounge (now Brooksie’s), the basketball courts on Reservoir Avenue, Lincoln Downs Thoroughbred Race Track (now Twin Rivers Casino),  the Lincoln police station, Frank’s Restaurant, Lincoln Lanes Bowling Alley, the streets in Fairlawn and to the house on Washington Street in Central Falls where my assailant lived at the time he was beaten to death. We captured the entire journey, our conversation and my description of the events of the night on video.

Over the past two years I’ve come to know Ron as a talented, creative, successful writer, producer and director. I’m glad he took an interest in developing Men in My Town as a movie. I’m really pleased we’re working together and I’m fortunate to call him a friend. I look forward to shooting this ‘Rhode Island story’ back home in Rhode Island.

What’s your involvement with the film version of Men in My Town?

I’m working closely with Ron and Lori Truppa in the development of the Men in My Town screenplay. They’ve done really wonderful work bringing the book to life, developing the characters, transforming the pages of the book to the visual scenes and audible sounds you need for a movie. It’s been a great partnership and is a friendship that will continue long after Men in My Town is on the screen.

What, to your thinking, will determine if the film version of Men in My Town is a success?

If one child who is currently being abused, or one victim of past abuse, boy or girl, man or woman, age 7 or 70, sees this film and comes to realize that they are not alone, that they are not responsible for what happened to them and that they can make the transition from sexual assault victim to sexual assault survivor, then Men in My Town will be a success as a movie. An Oscar or two would be good, too.

Lastly, what are you currently working on?

I’m working on two things right now, focused on protecting children and strengthening the legal rights of child victims of sex crimes.

First, it saddens me to say that I believe sex crimes committed against children will never stop. The life altering physical, emotional, behavioral and social side effects of sexual abuse, suffered by children into adulthood, last a lifetime. With the personal and societal cost of childhood sexual abuse so high, it’s necessary for parents, grandparents, guardians and anyone with responsibility for the health and safety of a child to be aware of what they can do to keep kids safe. I speak publicly, to the press and on TV about “5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe.” Know the Facts; Know the Signs; Know What to Do; Know Where to Go; Know What to Say. To learn more about my “5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe” visit www.MenInMyTown.wordpress.com

The second is getting state legislatures to pass legislation eliminating the statue of limitations for civil action in sex crimes committed against children. In many states, victims of sex crimes have as few as 2 years to bring civil charges against their perpetrators. I believe that since the psychological, emotional and physical effects of sexual abuse last a lifetime, the ability for victims of sex crimes to file a civil law suit should last just as long.

For more information about Keith and his mission of advocacy visit www.MenInMyTown.wordpress.com.  Also, stay tuned for more news on the upcoming film version of Keith’s story.  Click here if you wish to purchase Men in My Town.

Hollywood Filmmaker Ron Truppa Finishes Screenplay, Discusses Filming “Men in My Town” in Rhode Island

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on January 8, 2012

THE WRITE STUFF – Lincoln native finishes screenplay

January 8, 2012

By JON BAKER

LINCOLN – As always, Ron Truppa came home from Los Angeles a few days before Christmas to spend the holidays with his parents, Ron Sr. and Lori, and other family members. This time, though, the 36-year-old Lincoln native and Hollywood film writer, producer and director returned to his old Bridle Drive abode with some thrilling news.

Truppa, with plenty of help from his mom, virtually has finalized the screenplay involving fellow Lincolnite Keith Smith’s book “Men In My Town,” one the author calls a “novel inspired by actual events.” It details the abduction, beating and rape of Smith when he was 14, and the fact his attacker was later murdered on a Providence street. That case remains mysteriously (or is it?) unsolved.

Truppa noted that when he booked his flight, he did so with a five-hour layover in Newark, N.J. so he could meet with Smith. He wanted to tell him his book will, in fact, be made into a movie, with filming to occur right here in the Blackstone Valley.

Ron Truppa discusses filming Men in My Town. TIMES photo by Butch Adams

“We went to dinner and discussed the screenplay,” Truppa explained as he relaxed at a living room table as his four-year-old nephew Nico played nearby. “The weird thing is we’d e-mail and talk on the phone all the time, but we hadn’t seen each other in about two years. I wanted to explain to him that we finished the script and give him other details.”

“I also mentioned some cast lists we had assembled, and he told me he thinks Kevin Spacey looks like his dad, Buddy,” he added with a chuckle. “I needed to know who looked like what actors; I hadn’t seen photos of his family members, so he showed them to me. He said his mom looks like Doris Roberts (of “Everybody Loves Raymond” sitcom fame).

“I do know what his attacker looked like, and it’s sort of a James Franco type, not as pretty, but more common, more worn, more street-wise … I explained with the economy of Hollywood being what it is, the next step for all this is we’d begin production sometime in the winter of 2013.”

“Keith is so excited! He wants to get his message out about child sex abuse and his ‘5 Steps You Can Take To Keep Kids Safe.’ He was on Anderson Cooper’s talk show a few weeks ago to discuss the Jerry Sandusky allegations (at Penn State University). He told me he’d been on the steps of the New Jersey state house on Dec. 10 to push for the bill to get rid of the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases.”

“He also mentioned other state officials have contacted him; they want to pass similar legislation in their states. Honestly, this story has become so much more relevant than it was even a couple of months ago.”

Truppa revealed last summer he had happened upon Smith’s book in November 2009. Because he couldn’t attend his 15th-year Lincoln High reunion, he signed on to Facebook and discovered the author’s story.
He immediately called Smith, identified himself as another Lincoln native who worked in Hollywood and wanted to develop it into a screenplay. He also told him he hadn’t read the book, so Smith sent him one – autographed and with the message, “From one Lincoln guy to another, these are the men in our town.”

Truppa said the note gave him chills. When he read the book, he indicated he could picture himself riding his bike down the same streets Smith had depicted.

***

The owner of TRUPPA Entertainment – a company based in Sherman Oaks, Calif. that produces films, television pitches, scripts, commercials and public service announcements – admitted he often got goosebumps as he and “Ma Truppa” wrote the script.

It took them about 18 months, and they edited and re-edited, from a distance, at least 15 times.

“There’s corruption on both sides – the vigilantism of the person or persons who killed Keith’s assailant, and those who covered it up or turned the other cheek,” he stated.

“We adopted the screenplay from the book, but we learned so much more about Keith’s childhood when we interviewed his brother Brian; his best friend, Kevin McGee; and others. Excepting his parents and Brian, nobody knew what had happened to him.”

“Initially, our process was conducting interviews and research for the script; just like the book, it’s very accurate, but with the screenplay, we needed more locations to develop the characters. That is, the kids – Keith and his friends or classmates running into the men in their town at various sites, such as Hartley’s Pork Pies, Stanley’s Hamburgers in Central Falls, the old Fairlawn Cinema, Edward’s Ice Cream, the Lime Rock Quarry, even the silos on Great Road.”

Stated Lori: “Interestingly enough, I grew up in Providence over by Smithfield Avenue, and I used to go to Ed’s Ice Cream and the cinema. Keith knew those places, but I could remember them more clearly because I’m a little older.”

“All I did was drive up and down those streets, and I was able to picture them in 1974, when it happened to him,” she continued. “Even though there’s somewhat of an age difference, my friends and his friends hung out at a lot of the same places.”

Both mother and son indicated the opening of the movie will move the same way as Smith’s first chapter. “It was so riveting!” Truppa offered. “You don’t mess with something that’s not broken. All we had to do was take the beginning and make it visible and audible for those in the audience.”

“You have to tell a story in arcs; simply put, that means a beginning, a middle and an end, and that can be difficult with a book. We start it with the book’s opening, and then we meet seven-year-old Keith on the day of his First Communion. We had to establish who his friends were and introduce the characters, which in essence is the town.”

“He loves it more and more every time, but he does get emotional about it; still, it’s in a happy way. It’s hard for Keith to read the tough parts, though he says he gets more into it every time he reads it. He told me he thought he’d like it less each time because of the memories it brought back, but he still loves the changes.”

_______________________________________________________

“Men in My Town” by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.

Keith Smith, the author of Men in My Town, is a Survivor of a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault and a Keynote Speaker on the topic of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

The story of Keith’s assault and his transition from sexual assault victim to survivor has been featured in newspapers and magazines and his program, “5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe” has been discussed on radio and television.

Keith has lobbied government officials to prevent cutbacks to programs serving children and he’s testified before the New Jersey State Senate Judiciary Committee seeking to eliminate the statute of limitations in civil action relating to sex crimes against children.

Keith participated in Oprah Winfrey’s award-winning show, 200 Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse and appeared on Anderson Cooper’s Special, State of Shame: The Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal.

More information is available at www.MenInMyTown.wordpress.com

Information about his novel, Men in My Town can be found at www.tinyurl.com/MenInMyTown

Keith’s Men in My Town LinkedIn Profile can be viewed at www.LinkedIn.com/in/MenInMyTown

Email Keith Smith at MenInMyTown@aol.com

Keith Smith Speaks at State House Press Conference as Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey introduces the “Enough Abuse Campaign”

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on December 10, 2011

 _______________________________________________________

The complete text of Smith’s speech is below.

TRENTON, NJ – It’s appropriate in the very neighborhood where citizens of New Jersey fought the Battle of Trenton 235 years ago, we announce the beginning of another revolution in the State of New Jersey, a revolutionary transformation in the way we protect our children from sexual abuse.

It’s a special day for Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey, the New Jersey Partnership to Prevent Child Abuse, the Coalitions, the Enough Abuse Campaign and more importantly, every child in the state of New Jersey.

My name is Keith Smith. For the past 15 years, I have been a member of the board of directors of PEI Kids, the Lead Agency in the Greater Mercer Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse, serving 6 of those 15 years as the Chairman of the Board.

 Today, I’m not here as a board member, academic or social worker. I’m here in a very different role. Today, I’m here to speak with you as an adult male survivor of childhood sexual violence.

 In 1974, at the age of 14, I was abducted, beaten and raped by a stranger; a previously convicted, recidivist, pedophile predator hunting for boys in my childhood hometown of Lincoln, Rhode Island.

I’m not here to tell my story, but to speak from experience, to help highlight the devastating personal and societal effects of childhood sexual abuse and to tell you that the Coalitions announced today will make a difference in the lives of  thousands of children in New Jersey by effectively providing adults with the awareness, the knowledge and the skills adults need to prevent child sexual abuse.

 Children who are victims of sexual abuse often resort to inappropriate behaviors to cope as they suffer through physical, emotional, behavioral and social problems directly related to their abuse.

 Some kids turn to drugs and alcohol, drop out of school, run away from home, suffer from eating disorders, sleeping disorders, personality disorders, stress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome and life threatening sexually transmitted disease.

 Some children have difficulty forming trusting relationships, resort to physical violence, sexual promiscuity and inappropriate and sometimes criminal sexually reactive behavior.

 Some resort to cutting, self-mutilation and in the most extreme cases they’ve murdered their abuser while others contemplate, attempt or commit suicide.

Directly attributable to their sexual abuse, victims often suffer these enduring problems throughout their adolescence and into adulthood, many suffering through decades of silence, never disclosing their abuse.

 Children and adults remain silent out of misplaced guilt, fear, shame, embarrassment and under threat of violence from their perpetrators, threats of violence directed to the child or their family. 

 The life altering physical, emotional, behavioral and social side effects of sexual abuse, suffered by children into adulthood, last a lifetime. While it saddens me to say that sex crimes committed against children will never stop, I’m proud to stand here today on the steps of the State House to tell you we’re taking action to minimize the risk to children by educating adults on steps they can take to keep kids safe and providing adults and communities with the knowledge and skills they need to put an end to the silence surrounding the sexual abuse of children.

 The Coalitions introduced today, will work in our cities and suburbs in every county in New Jersey, from the George Washington Bridge to the Pine Barrens, from the Delaware River to the Jersey Shore, with community leaders, faith-based organizations, public officials, parents, educators and others, to replicate in New Jersey the Enough Abuse Campaign, a program the Center for Disease Control has called a “groundbreaking effort,” and one that “breaks the mold” in child sexual abuse prevention efforts and strategies.

Long before the sex abuse scandals at Penn State and Syracuse were front page news; and long before this weeks’ abduction, rape and murder of 7-year old Jorelys Rivera in Canton, Georgia, work was being done throughout New Jersey to transform the way we protect our children. 

The groundwork is finished, the Coalitions formed and funded, and the day-to-day effort of providing adults and communities with the knowledge and skills they need to protect children from sexual abuse begins now.

 To those who were involved in the funding and creation of the Coalitions, thank you.  

To the people on the front-lines doing the day-to-day work to keep kids safe, thank you.  

 To the parents, grandparents and guardians of children in New Jersey, help is on the way.

And to the children who are victims of sexual abuse, if you are strong enough to speak out, ask for help. If you can’t and continue to suffer in silence, I understand…just know that you are not alone and believe me when I say the abuse you suffer is not your fault.

 It’s never your fault.

 Never.

 _______________________________________________________

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.

Keith Smith, the author of Men in My Town, is a Survivor of a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault and a Keynote Speaker on the topic of Childhood Sexual Abuse. The story of Keith’s assault and his transition from sexual assault victim to survivor has been featured in newspapers and magazines and his program, “5 Steps You Can Take to Keep Kids Safe” has been discussed on radio and television. Keith has lobbied government officials to prevent cutbacks to programs serving children and he’s testified before the New Jersey State Senate Judiciary Committee seeking to eliminate the statute of limitations in civil action relating to sex crimes against children.  Keith participated in Oprah Winfrey’s award-winning show on Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse and appeared on Anderson Cooper’s Special, State of Shame: The Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal.
 
More information is available at www.MenInMyTown.wordpress.com

Information about his novel, Men in My Town can be found at www.tinyurl.com/MenInMyTown

Keith’s Men in My Town LinkedIn Profile can be viewed at www.LinkedIn.com/in/MenInMyTown

Email Keith Smith at MenInMyTown@aol.com

A boy is raped in Lincoln. His assailant is murdered in Providence. No one has ever been charged with the crime…someone got away with murder.

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on November 26, 2011

A boy is raped in Lincoln, Rhode Island. His assailant, beaten to death in Providence. No one’s ever been charged with the crime. Someone got away with murder.

My name is Keith Smith. I was abducted, beaten and raped by a stranger. It wasn’t a neighbor, a coach, a relative, a family friend or teacher. It was a recidivist pedophile predator who spent time in prison for previous sex crimes; an animal hunting for victims in the quiet, bucolic, suburban neighborhoods of Lincoln, Rhode Island. I was able to identify the guy and the car he was driving. Although he was arrested that night and indicted a few months later, he never went to trial. His trial never took place because he was brutally beaten to death in Providence before his court date. 36 years later, no one has ever been charged with the crime.

“Smith has delivered a gripping, fast paced crime story, a captivating suspense novel inspired by actual events. It’s a true ‘someone got away with murder’ story you can’t put down; a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading Men in My Town.”

___________________________________________________________________

The story of the abduction, beating and rape of a teenage boy from Lincoln, Rhode Island, followed by the unsolved brutal murder of his assailant in Providence, is now a moving novel written by the man who survived this vicious attack.

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.  Available now at Amazon.com in Paperback and Kindle.

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

Keith Smith with Anderson Cooper on Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on November 16, 2011

 

 

Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and Child Safety Expert, Keith Smith discusses the Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal with Anderson Cooper, live on “Anderson” from Time Warner Center Studios in New York.

 

Smith asks Senate Judiciary Committee to End Statute of Limitations in Sex Crimes Against Children

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on September 17, 2011

 

TRENTON, NJ – Keith Smith testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee asking members for their support of Senate Bill S-2405. If passed, the Bill will revoke the existing statute of  limitations in civil actions for sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape. The current two-year statute of limitations will be removed, allowing victims to indefinitely seek justice in civil courts from perpetrators of sex crimes against children.

After hearing over four hours of testimony, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 9 – 0 in favor of the Bill, moving S-2405 out of Committee for consideration by the full Senate.

Smith said, “We’re one step closer to changing the law in New Jersey, a law that will end the Statute of Limitations in Civil Actions for Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault and Rape of children.”

Smith is a survivor of a stranger abduction sexual assault and author of Men in My Town.

The transcript of his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee is printed below.

___________________________________________________________________

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee,

I’m appearing before you today to ask for your support of S-2405 sponsored by Senators Joseph Vitale and Nicholas Scutari. If passed, this bill would remove the current statute of limitations in civil actions for sexual abuse of a minor and expand the categories of persons and entities potentially liable for sex crimes committed against children.

For the past 15 years, I have been a member of the board of directors of a 501 (C)(3) social service agency providing crisis intervention counseling services to child victims of sexual abuse, 6 of those 15 years as the Chairman of the Board. Today I’m here in a different role. Today, I’m here to speak with you as a survivor of sexual violence.

In 1974, I was abducted, beaten and raped by a stranger; a recidivist, pedophile predator hunting for boys in my childhood hometown of Lincoln, Rhode Island.

I’m not here to tell my story, but to ask you to help the children of New Jersey and adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse by supporting S-2405 as proposed, without revisions.

Children who are victims of sexual abuse often resort to inappropriate behaviors to cope as they suffer through physical, emotional, behavioral and social problems directly related to their abuse.

Some turn to drugs and alcohol, drop out of school, run away from home, suffer from eating disorders, sleeping disorders, personality disorders, stress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome and life threatening sexually transmitted disease.

Some children have difficulty forming trusting relationships, resort to physical violence, sexual promiscuity and inappropriate and sometimes criminal sexually reactive behavior.

Some resort to cutting, self-mutilation and in the most extreme cases they’ve murdered their abuser while others contemplate, attempt or commit suicide.

Directly attributable to their sexual abuse, victims often suffer these enduring problems throughout their adolescence and into adulthood, many suffering through decades of silence, never disclosing their abuse.

But why not? Why don’t they disclose?

Children and adults remain silent out of misplaced guilt, fear, shame, embarrassment and under threat of violence from their perpetrators, threats of violence directed to the child or their family.  In time, often in a number of years that far surpass the current 2 year statute of limitations, some victims of childhood sexual abuse get the strength to come forward, the strength to speak out, the strength to face the demons that haunt them and the perpetrator of their abuse. Unfortunately, the amount of time that lapses between the sex crime committed against the child and the date the adult survivor comes forward seeking justice, often exceeds the current 2 year statute of limitations and dissolves the possibility of civil action.

I agree with the sponsoring Senator’s position that eliminating the existing statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases would be in the interest of justice and respectfully request your support for S 2405.

Senators, it saddens me to say that sex crimes committed against children will never stop. The life altering physical, emotional, behavioral and social side effects of sexual abuse, suffered by children into adulthood, last a lifetime. Shouldn’t a victims’ ability to bring civil action against perpetrators of sex crimes last just as long?

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you this afternoon.

___________________________________________________________________

Keith Smith, author of Men in My Town, is a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and a Keynote Speaker on issues of child safety. He’s available as a speaker for conferences, seminars and fundraising events benefiting non-profit organizations, government agencies, companies and professional associations dedicated to helping children who have been sexually abused. 

The story of the abduction, beating and rape of a teenage boy from Lincoln, Rhode Island, followed by the unsolved brutal murder of his assailant in Providence, is now a moving novel written by the man who survived this vicious attack.

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.

Available now at Amazon.com in Paperback and Kindle.

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