Stories From Brave New York Victims

The Problem In The Words Of Survivors Who Have Suffered
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Vicky Budnack

Vicky Budnack

Sexually Abused by her stepfather

Vicky was sexually abused from the age of 3 until around age 14.  So, her earliest memories are of time and time again having her step-father use her body in every horrific way possible and then urinating all over her.  This would happen if her mother wasn’t in the mood for sex or if the two of them fought and her stepfather left and then returned.  As a reward for coming back, her mother would tell him to “go pleasure yourself”.  That meant rape and sodomize Vicky.

There were three girls in the family, and one was his.  Except for once when he raped HIS daughter, Vicky was the one he focused on.

The cops were called several times, but Vicky’s stepfather was never put in jail because her mom never wanted the police to  press charges. Her step-father would laugh at Vicky, and brag to his buddies about how he escaped arrest.

Years later, Vicky’s mother was diagnosed 4th stage cancer, and she finally asked her mother WHY she allowed her partner, even encouraged, her partner to do this over and over?  Her mother said it was all about money.  That she needed the money he brought into the  house.  The money he gave her.  She sold her daughter’s body to her partner for his perverse sexual pleasure.  

Vicky’s mother died less than three months later.  

But her stepfather didn’t. He is still alive and lives in this Buffalo. Vicky bumps into him from time to time in public, and sometimes she has her own children with her when she does. What can a mother tell her kid when that happens? How can someone explain to little kids that the bad guys don’t always go to jail? That children are still at risk.

Bridie Farrell

Bridie Farrell

Sexually Abused by her coach

Bridie Farrell was a star-struck 15-year-old with Olympic aspirations when Andy Gabel arrived in her hometown. She was thrilled one of speed skating’s biggest stars took her under his wing.

The speed skating star repeatedly molested her in 1997 and 1998, abuse that would leave her feeling lost and depressed years later.

Gabel repeatedly told her not to tell anyone, and he became increasingly controlling as the abuse continued. The abuse ended when Gabel qualified for the 1998 Olympic team and left Saratoga Springs. It never occurred to her to report Gabel to the police. Gabel was not just a legendary competitor — he was a person who wielded tremendous clout in the small, insular world of American speed skating.

“I didn’t think anybody would believe me,” she said.

She says she didn’t realize how much damage the abuse caused until she had to write about a life-changing experience for a human development class at Cornell University. Her professor urged her to seek counseling. But because Farrell was 26 when she wrote that paper, New York’s statute of limitations prevented her from pursuing criminal charges or civil litigation.

In a 2013 statement to the Chicago Tribune, Gabel acknowledged he had a “brief, inappropriate relationship” with a female teammate. “It did not include sex, however. I know what happened was wrong, and I make no excuses for my behavior,” Gabel said.

A boxing coach at an Olympic training center at Northern Michigan University reportedly raised suspicions about Gabel’s relationship with young girls. University officials investigated but determined the allegations could not be substantiated.

Speed skater Nikki Meyer, meanwhile, later said Gabel had raped her in 1991 when she was 15.

“There is nothing I can do,” says Bridie, “But people like Andy should not be on the street.”

June Blkitalianf

June Blkitalianf

Sexually Abused by her stepfather

I’m another Voice who was beaten because I TOLD.

I was 6 years old. I even got left back in school because he wouldn’t stop abusing me! I told my family, I got beat more. I went to school… more TROUBLE..then I became the trouble maker. He was my stepfather.

Because no one cared or heard me,I got left back. In this picture I was in the 1st grade, because No one cared.

Now I’m another voice with Ron Savage. And all we won’t SHUT UP!! I’m not bitter. I don’t dwell on it! I’m not crazy.I was not looking for this .I was an innocent. All these triggers are giving me my nightmare back!

I was a child who ran to the clubs at 13years old because the pervert came home every night, drunk, to get me. I went to bed with knives. .I was going to kill myself because I didn’t like the beatings for being innocent, and I didn’t like what he was doing to me. Then I was going to kill him, but God said I’d go to hell if I killed myself or him. So I danced my pain away.

I stayed in clubs all my life. Thank God for DJ’s music..it saved my life. But my stepfather ruined my entire childhood. Today, I will fight for a child’s right to be a child.

Ron Savage

Ron Savage

Sexually abused by his mentor

Ronald Savage was just a kid thrilled to be part of the burgeoning Bronx hip-hop scene when he met hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa. But the thrill evaporated when Bambaataa sexually abused him in 1980, inflicting deep emotional wounds that continue to torture him to this day.

Ronald says he struggled with intimacy and suicidal thoughts for decades from the abuse that occurred when he was 15 years old.

“People don’t understand that you are scared. You’re scared if you tell on this person, what are they going to do to you, what you’re going to do to your family,” says Savage.

Savage says the first sex assault happened at Bambaataa’s apartment, after Savage cut school. Bambaataa fondled himself and Savage, then invited another man to join in. During the second incident, Bambaataa allegedly ordered Savage to perform oral sex on an older Zulu Nation member.

“I hated myself,” Savage says. “I don’t even know why I did that. I don’t even know how he got me to do that. It was like I was hypnotized.”

Savage says he eventually stopped the abuse by pulling away from his former hip-hop hero.

“He came to my house. I pretended I wasn’t there and that’s how it began to stop,” Savage says. “But by that time I was already messed up.”

“I think the statute of limitations is unfair for victims,” he says. “It took me all of these years to speak about this. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed.”

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