Men in My Town

Is It Really Possible For People To Heal From Sexual Abuse?

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on June 20, 2018

In a reply to a quote I made during an interview, “the real healing was achieved when I started to sincerely believe I’m not responsible for what happened to me,” a woman, Jennifer, asked, “is it really possible for people to heal from sexual abuse?”

If you believe what I’ve written may be helpful to someone you know who is suffering in silence or struggling with their journey through healing, please share what’s here. Thank you.

Jennifer, my name is Keith Smith. I’m a stranger abduction male rape survivor.

I began to make the transition from victim to survivor when I was able to stop blaming myself, when I started to sincerely believe that I wasn’t responsible for what happened to me.

When i stopped blaming myself, the fear, the embarrassment, the shame, the guilt diminished. It’s not gone 100%, but it’s less painful, less destructive.

Unrelated to my rape, I’ve been operated on three times to remove cancer. Am I healed? I believe I am even though I know the cancer may come back and the very visible scars on my body and face will remain forever.

Like the emotional and psychological scars that remain after being raped at the age of 14 by a total stranger, I’ll live with them for the rest of my life.

I can deal with the emotional, psychological and physical scars. My rape, like my cancer, won’t kill me. I won’t let it. Neither was my fault. I’m not responsible for what happened to me. i’m in control. I’m healing – not healed.

For me, healing from the rape doesn’t mean I have to forget the horror I experienced or forgive my rapist.

Like my surgical scars, I expect the emotional and psychological scars related to my abduction, beating and rape will most likely last forever.

For me, healing means I no longer let those scars, the embarassment, the fear, the guilt, and shame define, limit, control or harm me.

When I started to sincerely believe I wasn’t responsible for what happened to me, I began my transition from victim to survivor.

The emotional, psychological and physical scars remain. The memories exist. Neither go away permanently… but I’m in control. I can cope with triggers and flashbacks now…now that I sincerely believe what happened to me was not my fault.

Being abducted, beaten and raped no longer haunts me, taunts me, defines me, limits me, controls me.

I’m healing. Not healed.

May you soon be able to get to the point where you sincerely believe what happened to you wasn’t your fault so you too can start to heal – and begin the transition from victim to survivor.

Peace, Jennifer.

Keith

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A Transformational Moment in Understanding Sexual Harassment, Abuse and Assault

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on November 3, 2017

I believe we’re at a crossroads, a transformational moment in our understanding of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, perpetrators, victims and society’s previous unwillingness to confront publicly what has been hidden in the shadows for far too long.

Recent events involving Hollywood executives Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Brett Ratner, Bill Cosby, Andy Dick, Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman; News & Media executives Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Mark Halperin and Michael Oreskes; NYPD detectives Edward Martins and Richard Hall, Wall Street bond trader Howie Rubin, celebrity chef John Besh, Uber founder Travis Kalanick, Bikram Yoga creator Bikram Choudhury and former U S Congressman Anthony Weiner show us all that abusers aren’t the stereotypical unknown stranger in the park, rather just the opposite. Abusers are often known to their victim, and may be well known, successful, rich and powerful.

In public, in office buildings, on the set of Hollywood blockbuster films, in broadcast news studios, in the back of a police van, in Howie Rubin’s $8 million dollar NYC apartment, in your town, on your block, on your street, maybe even in your own home, sexual harassment, abuse, assault and rape occurs.

And now victims are speaking out, criminals are being held accountable and the public seems more willing to believe accusers, more willing to confront and expose abusers, more willing to shed the stigma and confront the reality.

As the powerful, rich and famous are being outed and those around them seem to no longer look the other way, I hope victims of harassment, abuse, assault and rape, victims young and old, rich and not-so-rich, famous and the lesser known kid next door get the strength they need to speak out, seek help, bring to light the abuse they’ve suffered and expose the abuser responsible.

So thank you Taylor Swift, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Asia Argento, Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette for standing up and speaking out.

Because of your strength, somewhere today a young boy or girl may follow your example and find the courage to tell a parent, a teacher, a friend, or walk into a police station and begin their transition from victim to survivor.
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If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, sexual assault or rape, help is available, anonymous and confidential, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week from RAINN.

Call RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network at (800) 656 4673 or visit RAINN on the web at http://www.rainn.org

RAINN Survivor Series Video – Keith Smith, Stranger Abduction Rape Survivor

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on March 29, 2016

Smith’s book being made into screenplay

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on November 13, 2010

by JON BAKER                                                                                        Monday, November 8, 2010

LINCOLN — It took years for author and Lincoln native Keith Smith to be able to speak about his abduction and sexual assault, but he readily admits nowadays he’s free of all fear, guilt, shame and embarrassment that stems from being victimized.

In fact, he told over two dozen friends during his recent presentation, “Reasonable Steps We Can Take to Keep Children Safe” that his book Men in My Town is now being developed into a screenplay by former Lincoln resident and current Hollywood writer / producer Ron Truppa.

Smith talks about the necessity of having background checks on all personnel working with children in extracurricular activities, sports programs and summer camps during his program in Lincoln. TIMES photo by BUTCH ADAMS.

How that came to fruition is a story in itself, Smith smiled.

“Ron reached out to me in the first week of December 2009,” he recalled.  “He learned about Men in My Town from a posting on a Social Networking site. Although we had never met, Ron and I grew up in Lincoln, graduated from Lincoln High School and both went on to receive Political Science degrees from Providence College.”

“I was excited about getting a call from a writer / producer in LA.” he added. “In one of our early phone conversations Ron said, ‘I think I found the Rhode Island project I’ve been looking for.’ After a few phone calls and hours of conversations, I felt an immediate connection with Ron.”

A few weeks later, Truppa flew from Los Angeles to the Ocean State, and Smith drove from his home in New Jersey to Lincoln, and the tandem got together for an entire day, sharing stories and thoughts.

“We retraced the events of the night (March 1, 1974) from the Barber Shop on Front Street where I left my youth 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,” Smith noted. “We went to places described in Men in My Town, the bars, the basketball courts, the race track (now Twin Rivers casino), the police station, restaurants, the bowling alley, the streets in Fairlawn and to my assailants home on Washington Street in Central Falls. We captured the entire journey, our conversation and my description of the events of the night on film.”

“Over the past year, I’ve come to know Ron as a talented, creative, successful movie and television executive, an ‘L.A. Guy’ by way of Rhode Island. I’m glad he took an interest in developing Men in My Town as a movie. I’m really pleased we’re working together. I look forward to shooting this ‘Rhode Island story’ right here in Rhode Island.”

That’s not all for Smith who has testified to government officials to prevent cutbacks to programs serving child victims of sex crimes; appeared on several live radio and TV programs; and done blog interviews with “The Indie Spotlight” and Mike Angley, an award-winning author and retired colonel of the U. S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

And, this past Friday, he participated with actor Tyler Perry and 199 other men on Oprah Winfrey’s groundbreaking TV show she called “Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse.”

When asked what’s next in his life, he stated he will continue to take his “Reasonable Steps We Can Take to Keep Children Safe” message on the road, seeking out opportunities with all types of media to publicize his speaking engagements; and to let people know he’s available as a keynote 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.

As for his presentation at the Courtyard Marriott on Route 116 in Lincoln in late October, Smith promised it exceeded his expectations.

“It was wonderful to finally share with family and friends the story I’ve kept silent for so long.” he said. “Their support that evening, and their love and friendship over the years, has been a source of great strength and support. They’re a great group of people, and I’m fortunate to have them as family and friends.”

For those who wish to purchase his book, they are available for $14.99 in paperback and $9.99 Kindle at http://www.amazon.com

He stated it consistently has been ranked in Amazon’s Top Ten Biographies & Memoirs in New England and is currently ranked No. 6 after being at No. 2 throughout August.

“Between paperback and Kindle sales, over 1,000 copies of Men in My Town have been sold,” he said proudly.

“Men in My Town” on You Tube

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on August 30, 2010

See scenes from the novel in the Men in My Town video with pictures of Hartley’s, Great Road, Lincoln Woods, Barney’s Pond, Chase & Butterfly Farm plus Downcity Providence set to Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” with Alicia Keys.

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, Author of “Men in My Town,” Guests with Mike Angley

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on August 20, 2010

Keith discusses Men in My Town with Award Winning Author, Criminal Investigator and Counterterrorism Specialist Mike Angley, Retired Colonel, United States Air Force, Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

Click here to read the interview.

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

Smith Appeals to County Government to Fund Crisis Intervention Counseling Program for Child Victims of Sexual Assault

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on December 11, 2009

Keith’s comments to the Mercer County Board of Freeholders, Mercer County, NJ, December 10, 2009 as County Government considers cutting funding of Crisis Intervention Counseling Program run by PEI Kids, Inc.

My name is Keith Smith and while I’m a member of the Board of Trustees of PEI Kids, tonight I’m here in a different role. Tonight, I’m here to speak with you as a survivor of sexual violence.

In 1974, at the age of 14, I was abducted, beaten and raped by a total stranger, a recidivist, pedophile, predator hunting for young boys in my hometown of Lincoln, Rhode Island. 35 years ago, agencies like PEI Kids didn’t exist. Today, I’m glad they do.

Tonight, I’m asking you to help the children of Mercer County, victims of sexual assault and rape, right here in Mercer County. Help our children obtain the help, support, guidance and counseling they need to cope with the horror they’ve experienced and to recover from the emotional and physical trauma they suffer as victims of sexual violence.

The Trentonian ran this headline. Man Charged in Rape of Girl, 8. The article reads, “A convicted pedophile has been charged with the rape, kidnapping and attempted homicide of an 8 year old girl who was abducted from her home on February 15 and left for dead in a snow bank. Police allege Eric Lyons, 37, abducted the girl from her home, drove her about a mile away and tried to rape and strangle her. Lyons then drove the girl to a parking lot and dumped her between a fence and snow bank where police said he left her for dead. The girl was found several hours later by two truck drivers.”

Three weeks later, the Trenton Times ran this headline. Trucker Pleads in Sexual Assault. The article reads, “A truck driver has pleaded guilty in the knifepoint kidnapping and sexual assault of two 17 year olds last summer. James Randall Smith, 24, entered guilty pleas to two counts of kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault. Smith tied one victim to a signpost then drove the other victim to a rural area where he raped her and tied her to a tree. The girl freed herself and was spotted walking barefoot six hours later.”

These stories, and a hundred more stories like these, are the stories of the children who are served by the incredible people and programs of PEI Kids.

PEI Kids provides crisis intervention counseling to children who are victims of sexual assault. There is no other agency providing crisis intervention counseling services to these kids in Mercer County. Should you choose to eliminate or reduce funding for PEI’s Crisis Intervention Program, the life-altering and life-saving counseling PEI Kids provides to these children will be significantly reduced or even eliminated, leaving Mercer County’s youngest victims of sexual assault and rape, without the professional help they need to cope and recover from the horror they’ve experienced.

Without professional help to cope and recover, children who are victims of sexual assault and rape typically resort to inappropriate behaviors to cope on their own. They turn to drugs and alcohol; they drop out of school; they run away from home; suffer from eating disorders, sleeping disorders, personality disorders, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress syndrome; they resort to physical violence, sexual promiscuity and inappropriate and sometimes criminal sexually reactive behavior; they resort to cutting, self mutilation and in the most extreme cases, suicide.

Over the years, PEI Kids has led more than 4,000 of Mercer County’s children, child victims of sexual violence, to lives full of hope and promise by providing crisis intervention counseling and PEI needs continued financial support from the County to do so. The consequences to every one of Mercer County’s young victims, their families and our communities are too great for anything less.

PEI Kids provided Crisis Intervention Counseling to 238 children in 2008. 238 children who were victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape. Children abused, assaulted or raped right here in Mercer County.

• 151 Girls and 87 boys.

• 3 children were 18 years old.

• 71 children were between the age of 13 and 17.

• 132 children were between the age of 6 and 12.

• 37 children were under the age of 5.

• Children from East Windsor, Ewing, Hamilton, Hightstown, Lawrenceville, Pennington, Trenton, Robbinsville and West Windsor.

In 2009 PEI Kids will see approximately 300 children, kids from every town in Mercer County. The need to provide Crisis Intervention Counseling Services to children who are victims of sexual assault still exists and isn’t going away.

PEI Kids is the only agency in Mercer County providing children with Crisis Intervention Counseling related to sex crimes.

Now, I have just one question. If you refuse to fund PEI’s program, who will help the children? In 2010, who will help Mercer County’s children who have been sexually abused, sexually assaulted or raped?

Ladies and gentlemen of the Freeholder Board, unfortunately the need to provide Crisis Intervention Counseling to children who are victims of sexual assault will never go away. The need to help child victims of sex crimes will always exist. May you find it in your hearts, your head and your budget to make sure funding for PEI’s Crisis Intervention Counseling Program for child victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape also exists.

Thank you.

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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.

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

Men in My Town profiled in the Fall Issue of Providence College Magazine

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on October 27, 2009

Keith Smith’s Men in My Town is profiled in the Fall Issue of Providence College Magazine 9781439226254-FrontCover

In Graduates’ Literary Work Hits the Bookshelf we get an inside look at Keith Smith’s recently released bio-novel, Men in My Town. In Men in My Town, Smith tells the shocking but compelling story of the abduction, beating, and rape of a teenage boy, followed by the unsolved murder of his assailant. Making the narrative even more gripping is that the protagonist and victim was Smith himself. “I wrote the story to raise awareness of male sexual assault, to let other victims know that they’re not alone and to help victims of rape and violent crime 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,” he said. “For those who suffer in silence, I hope my story brings some comfort, strength, peace, and hope.”

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Available now at Amazon.com in Trade Paperback and Kindle.

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

In Honor of Chief Ernie Hart

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on September 30, 2009

One of the Men in My Town died today – Chief Ernie Hart, Chief of the Fairlawn-Lincoln Fire Department.

Chief was a good man. He taught us how to lay a few hundred feet of 3 inch hose in the bed of a pumper and was insistent about us properly rolling the 50 feet of green garden hose that laid between the bay doors.

When he caught guys washing their own cars at the fire station, he made them painstakingly hand wash the old Ward La France pumper until it was spotless.

He took local boys who weren’t old enough to smoke and gave them the courage to walk into smoke-filled buildings.

I’m pretty sure he never coached a sport, but he was more of a coach than any I ever played for and better than all of them. He coached dozens of us, 16 year-old kids and 50 year-old men, to work together as a team.

He taught us to work side-by-side so we could roll out of the station with 3 men on a truck; one to drive, one to dress the hydrant and one to slip on a Scott Air Pack and enter buildings.

Men in My Town Pictures Firemen

He taught us the buddy-system; no one ever entered a burning building alone and it was up to each one of us to keep the other guy safe.

He was serious and professional on the scene of a fire and would entertain us with stories about drunks who fell asleep smoking and burnt their couch or the guy on Cobble Hill Road who put a garden hose in his chimney to put out a creosote fire in his fireplace.

When ten young women died in a dormitory fire during my freshman year at Providence College in 1977, Chief reached out to console me and my friends.

He was a friend to Duffy, Bones and Arthur; a mentor to me, David, Kevin, Tim, Greg and Russell; a husband to Barbara; and a father to Debbie, David, Brian, Bruce, Kevin, Craig and Maryann.

Fairlawn was a safer place because Ernie Hart was our Fire Department Chief.

Kids from Fairlawn grew up to be better men because Ernie Hart was their Chief.

My book, Men in My Town, is dedicated to ‘masked men and superhero’s, real and imagined.’  It’s dedicated to men in my town who enter burning buildings in life-offering, unselfish acts of bravery and kindness, real men, real-life heroes.  It’s dedicated to Chief Ernie Hart and the firemen who were lucky enough to stand by his side.

Rest in Peace, my Chief and Thank You.

Ernest J. Hart, Jr.  1927 – 2009

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. Available now at Amazon.com

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

A Conversation with Keith Smith, Author of Men in My Town

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on June 30, 2009

Q: Keith, I understand you’ve recently finished writing a book. Tell us about it.

A: The book is titled, Men in My Town. It’s a suspense novel based on the true story of the abduction, beating and sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy in Lincoln, Rhode Island in 1974 and the brutal unsolved murder of his attacker in Providence in 1975.

Q: What can you tell us without spoiling the plot for those who haven’t yet read the book?9781439226254-FrontCover

A: The story focuses on the young boy’s relationship with a few men in his town, men who are close to the boy and his family, men who watch over him, men that protect him after he’s been assaulted. 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.

Q: Why did you write Men in My Town?

A: There are 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, Rhode Island in the 1970’s, complete with gamblers, bookies, car thieves, petty criminals, organized crime, hard-working honest men 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 victims of rape and violent crime 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.

Q: Why did you wait 35 years to tell this story?

A: I’ve been silent because of shame and guilt. I was ashamed that a man sexually assaulted me. My guilt was based on wanting to protect my protectors, to eliminate the possibility that someday, someone would get arrested and perhaps go to jail for killing the guy for what he did to me. I’ve been fighting these thoughts, these feelings, these emotions, for decades and I’m finally able to properly deal with these things. I now realize that I shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty because I’m not responsible for what my attacker did to me… and I’m not responsible for what others may have done to him.

Q: What makes Men in My Town unique?

A: It’s unique because it’s the only fact-based suspense novel that I’m aware of that deals with the subject of male sexual assault and the unsolved murder of the pedophile rapist. It’s unique because there aren’t many novels set in Rhode Island and this is the first novel ever set in the Town of Lincoln. Men in My Town is unique in that it helps people understand that violent crimes against children can occur anywhere, even in bucolic, beautiful, sleepy little suburban towns like Lincoln, Rhode Island.

Q: Are there other works, either books or movies, that you think are similar to Men in My Town?

A: Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River comes to mind. Mystic River opens with the abduction and sexual assault of a young boy from a tight knit, working class suburb of Boston. It deals with pedophilia, murder, secrets, average guys, cops and criminals. Michael Corrente’s movie Federal Hill, set in Providence, deals with relationships between close friends, organized crime and what I refer to as ‘street hustle.’ If you’re familiar with either Mystic River or Federal Hill, you may see similar themes in Men in My Town.

Q: How long did it take you to write this book?

A: The story has been with me since 1974 so I can actually say it took me 35 years to write this book. The actual writing, putting pen to paper, hammering out the story, revising drafts, took about 6 months; working with editors, literary agents and publishers took the project out to a full year.

Q: How did you write Men in My Town? What was your process?

A: I wrote this story inside out. I didn’t start by writing chapter one, page one. Instead, I listed the events that 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, like a quilt.

Q: I understand you left Rhode Island in 1982. What do you miss about Rhode Island?

A: I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s in the Fairlawn section in the south end of Lincoln, 4 miles north of Providence. Everyone on my block knew my brothers, my sisters, my mom, my dad and me. People went to baseball games at the field in the fall, skated on the pond in the winter and lined up on Smithfield Avenue to watch the Memorial Day parade in the spring. There was a wonderful sense of community, security, peace. People sat on their porches and knew their neighbors. Neighbors watched out for one another, took care of each other. I miss that. I also miss coffee milk, clear chowda, clam cakes, great Italian food on Federal Hill and the beaches from Narragansett to Watch Hill.

Q: Well we’re glad you’re back in Rhode Island, at least for today. Keith, how do we get a copy of Men in My Town?

A: Men in My Town is available now on Amazon.com. You can pick up a copy of Men in My Town at all public libraries in Rhode Island and public libraries in Mercer County, New Jersey. If your local library doesn’t have a copy in their collection, they’ll typically order one after they receive a few requests, so please visit your local library and ask them to stock a copy or two. Discounts on orders for 10 or more books are available, just email your request to MenInMyTown@aol.com.

Q: Thanks for being with us tonight.

A: It was my pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about Men in My Town.

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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. 

Men in My Town by Keith Smith.

Available now at Amazon.com

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com