Episode 116 sheds light on the issue of sexual abuse, which is a topic that has been extensively covered in the media over the last few months. This episode was recorded back on October 17 of 2017, which was after the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, but before Larry Nassar plead guilty to 10 counts of first-degree sexual misconduct. Now, we are also aware of the sexual abuse that Nassar's athletes suffered while at Michigan State University. It is tragic how common and similar these stories are and leaves us wondering how the hell something like this can happen and continue to happen for so long?! This week's guest tells us not only how, but also what we can do to prevent the suffering of others in the future.
"I am not unique."
Mark Williams is a former East Hampton High School quarterback who led his team to a county championship back in 1973 and he eventually went on to play at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. After losing his father to leukemia when he was 12 years old, Mark fell victim to sexual abuse on multiple occasions, which led him down a path of alcoholism until he was 48 years old. I can't thank Mark enough for his courage to be vulnerable and share his story with the listeners of the Heads 'N Tales podcast. As we know, this is the true definition of toughness. Below you will find a list of some of the talking points you will hear in this interview:
- Why the death of Mark's father made him vulnerable to sexual abuse.
- What influenced Mark to abuse alcohol after being sexually abused by an elementary school teacher and Mark's genetic predisposition to alcoholism.
- How sports and especially football served as an outlet for Mark.
- The situation that led Mark to be sexually abused by a Priest when he was 15.
- Why Mark really struggled playing baseball in high school.
- The complicated relationship Mark had with the Catholic Church.
“We are as sick as our secrets”
- How Mark's experiences with sexual abuse lead to a confused sense of sexuality.
- What happened when Mark "removed the mask" of football and his transition to life after sports.
- What Mark said when he spoke to the Penn State Football Alumni Association after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
- Mark shares his thoughts on Joe Paterno's role.
- The role authority and power plays in instances of sexual abuse.
- Common themes/red flags of sexual abuse.
“Its like a cancer, and left untreated, eventually it is going to erupt.”
- Mark Williams on Penn State
- What happened when Mark stopped using alcohol cold turkey.
- The limp/conversion disorder Mark developed after losing the "crutch" of alcohol.
- The question that set Mark free.
“When was your first drink?”
- How Mark is using his experience as a forensic social worker and mitigation specialist.
- Story of a Rikers Island prisoner Mark worked with.