Unfortunately, the Jerry Sandusky story is being played out throughout the country, with equally devastating results by tainted role models of both genders, with a host of Joe Paterno-like figureheads who willfully ignore the problem until it’s too late.
Six months before the Penn State scandal broke, writer Jamison Leigh penned a screenplay called Strong Men, in which a town is rocked by a sexual abuse scandal on the town’s high school wrestling team. The morning the scandal broke, Leigh was awakened to the news of the scandal by a fellow writer. “I remember the text message I received from my friend,” he said. “The last two words of his message were: It’s time.”
Leigh decided to form a production company to put his film into production as soon as possible, not to financially capitalize on a sordid tragedy, but powered by the knowledge that one out of every five young men will have been sexually abused by the age of 18.
A sexual abuse survivor himself, now 53, Leigh is well aware of the pain, the isolation, and the sexual confusion that can be brought on by abuse at a young age. “Imagine that out of every one hundred men you know, as many as twenty could have been abused. It’s sobering and mind-boggling.”
Leigh has assembled a production team and is currently engaged in crowdfunding through indiegogo to create a short film called The Life of Riley, dealing with an Olympic wrestler who is in for the fight of his life, struggling with the memories of his own abuse. The purpose of the film is to create awareness of male sexual abuse, and to start a national dialogue about this growing epidemic. “It’s a tough sell,” Leigh concedes, “but our children are worth it. We can no longer be a nation of Joe Paternos.”
Strongmenfilm.com is the official website for the short film The Life of Riley and the Feature Film Strong Men. For more information, contact Jim Henson at firstname.lastname@example.org and to make a contribution to the short film, visit the indiegogo page: www.indiegogo.com/