Welcome to The Turn  with James Buffin.

This is a friendly and welcoming interview based video blog featuring empowered adults who endured sexual abuse in childhood, and speaking frankly about what got them through. The purpose is to share information about transformation and healing. While the comments of all participants are their opinions and experiences, the editorial direction of the themes were selected ahead of time, in anticipation of the wisdom you will see and hear. As a special note, I would like to point out that none of the participants were aware of what the other interviewees had said. The similarity in their responses is really the soul of this project.

But this is more than just sharing information. This is part of my own transformation. Three years ago I began my own journey out of the wreckage of child sex abuse.

 So, why is it important for me to share in this way? 

By telling the truth of what my experience has been in both suffering and release from trauma, I can move forward. And it’s known that storytelling is a key way to help other people.


Episode 16 – LEADERSHIP

For many survivors of child sex abuse, the idea of leadership is a very loaded topic. At one end of the scale, challenges with trust can muddy the waters and at the other, empowerment may only be seen in hindsight.

By telling the truth of what my experience has been in both suffering and release from trauma, I can move forward. And it’s known that storytelling is a key way to help other people.


Episode 15 – PERMANENCE

Survivors of child sex abuse often experience a profound sense of loss after they begin healing. This is a natural and very understandable reaction to both trauma and healing. Watch this episdode to hear more about the intersection of loss and permanence.



Episode 14 – WRITING

Watch this episode to hear how survivors have used writing in their healing journeys. The heart of this is in the empowerment of voice through sharing of stories. Particularly fascinating is how the act of sharing stories can impact both the person sharing and those around them. This is one powerful way how change happens.



Episode 13 – MIND/BODY

When thinking about the kinds of trauma that surivors of child sex abuse live with, it’s uncommon for people to consider that the effects are in both the mind and the body. But many people I’ve spoken with will tell you that really, there’s no difference. That mind/body are one and the same – and the trauma affects the entire being of those impacted. The hope here, in acknowledging the scale of the problem that individuals face when healing, is in the potential to use body practices to release the stored trauma.




A Breeze of Hope has been providing free psychological, social and legal support to survivors of child sex abuse in Cochabamba, Bolivia since 2004. Last year they were gracious enough to allow filming with them for my project, Picking Trauma’s Pocket. This year I returned as a volunteer to produce a video about them, for them. Here’s what was accomplished.




One one hand, acknowledging the harm done to survivors of child sex abuse is a vitally important part of both healing and justice. But it’s complicated and much of the time survivors are seen through a lens of pathology, where their experiences are defined as a set of symptoms. While the inclusion of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the DSM was a hard fought for major step towards validating and treating survivors, perhaps it’s time to revise the language around the way that the problem is defined?




Episode 11 – ROLE MODELS

Often, in recovery journeys, key relationships are marked by professional boundaries. The place for role model relationships, so common in many other areas of life, is not something often discussed in the context of child sex abuse survivors. Watch this episode and hear what some survivors of child sex abuse have to say on this topic.




Episode 10 – RUMINATION

Rumination, or dwelling in symptoms, has been likened to a dead end in some circles. The term certainly carries stigma because of this. But is there more to the story? In this episode, hear what some survivors of child sex abuse have to say about it.




Suffering and growth are often seen as “either/or”. If you’re in one you can’t have the other. But the empowered child sex abuse survivors in this episode have a different story to tell.



While self-judgement and self-exclusion are not exclusive experiences to survivors of child sex abuse, they are particularly predominant. But, there’s more to the story and certainly great value in discussing some of these dynamics.




For survivors of child sex abuse, becoming educated about the long-term harm it causes can be difficult and at times overwhelming because of the focus on negative outcomes. That’s why it’s important to share the hard-won victories that are also part of healing.


Episode 6 – WITNESSING

Many people who are subjected to child sex abuse have significant challenges receiving compassionate validation of their experiences. They often become self-isolating, with challenges about knowing how and who to trust. Hear empowered survivors share their courageous stories in this episode.




Survivors of child sex abuse, once they start recovery journeys often experience feelings of shame and anger; that they might have been more productive had their lives not been interfered with. Watch here to hear some very personal shares and also perhaps some surprising insights.



Breaking the cycle of wanting to avoid mistakes can be incredibly liberating, especially for survivors who have stayed frozen in it for a long time. But knowing about it is one thing and doing it is another….



Episode 3 – PRESSURE

The horrible perpetual pressure of things piling up, of feeling of being behind, of never being able to climb out of the hole is something that some survivors have reported experiencing. Here are some courageous thoughts about this difficult burden.



Episode 2 – STRUGGLE

Struggle can lead somewhere. It doesn’t always last forever. The problem is, when you’re in it it’s hard to see the horizon of something different. Growth often happens in surprising ways, not necessarily because of the trauma, but because of the obstacles that survivors deal with over and over again.


Episode 1 – LOSS

The loss is one of experience – of quality of life. This is incredibly hard to articulate because the tangible evidence is only a shadow of the real harm. I don’t have to lose $50 million or bottom out with a needle in my arm to show you how much my life was impacted. I lost a certain quality of life and that stayed with me for over 30 years. I’m on the other side now, looking back, sometimes shaking my head at how I could have lived for so long, unaware. It’s largely through the generosity of the people in this video and others like them that helped me get to a better place. And if you’ve been impacted by child sex abuse, then I hope you do too.

James Buffin

May 2015