An elephant in the room: Two survivors to host local discussion on sexual abuse |

An elephant in the room: Two survivors to host local discussion on sexual abuse

There’s an elephant in the room, and we need to talk about it.

Authors Ernie and Mary Carwile will be hosting a lecture and panel on sexual abuse at the Church of the Eternal Hills in Tabernash on Saturday, inviting all Grand County residents and visitors to stop in for a safe and respectful dialogue on one of the most pervasive issues facing the nation today.

The presentation, “There’s an Elephant in the Room,” will focus on raising awareness of sexual abuse, learning how to protect yourself, learning to heal and more.

“[Sexual abuse] is insidious and terrible,” said Mary Carwile. “We just want to get it out in the open, and shine a bright light on it. It’s a tough subject; nobody wants to talk about sexual abuse, but we have to.”

The Carwiles formed the presentation based around their own experiences with sexual abuse.

Mary, a former Winter Park resident of 30 years, has a son who was molested in the county when he was seven years old. Ernie was sexually abused by his father for years growing up, memories which he suppressed until his 30s, when they manifested and caused major depression and drug addiction.

Ernie recently published a book, “Even The Trees Were Crying,” an autobiographical novel detailing the effects of sexual assault.

“I show the effects of abuse over a 70-year span,” he said. “Depression started at 18 … and it took 38 years to discover anything that actually helped with healing. There was nothing out there.”

The book, along with the lecture, discusses ways in which survivors of sexual abuse can learn to heal, including simple solutions such as seeking therapy, to more advanced methods such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, a method for helping people better process traumatic memories.

Ernie said a portion of the proceeds from his book would go to help survivors afford EMDR treatments in his home state of Arizona.

The event will be held at the Church for the Eternal Hills in Tabernash on Jan. 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. It is not a religious event.

“I feel passionately about it, because it’s got to stop,” said Mary. “Everyone is talking about it, it’s on the news every single day, the world is talking about it. We want to get the awareness up, we need to be able to tell people that they have some place they can go.”

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