SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - Describing child abuse as one of the "greatest social epidemics of our time," Sascha Joseph Neulinger, now an adult survivor, shared his personal horror story of sexual abuse that began when he was just four years old at the 3rd Annual Stand Against Child Abuse Conference on Tuesday.
"The world became a dark and evil place and I felt dirty," said Sasha Joseph Neulinger, describing how he felt when it began.
From the age of four to seven, Neulinger was sexually abused on multiple occasions, including family holidays and get -togethers, by his cousin and two uncles -- one of whom threatened to kill him if he told anyone.
"I felt disgusting and unlovable," said Neulinger. "In that moment, I was unwillingly plucked from the innocence of my childhood and spiked harshly into a world of emotional and physical pain, paranoia and fear."
Neulinger blamed himself as a child for the abuse, thinking he did something wrong to deserve it, until he found out his baby sister was a victim of the same abuse.
"When we locked eyes, I could see her tears and I knew in that moment what he was doing to me, he was doing to her. At that time, I was seven and she was four," said Neulinger.
"My sweet, beautiful baby sister is the most beautiful person in my life and I couldn't think how anyone could think of hurting her," added Neulinger. "It was in that moment I realized what my abusers were doing was wrong and maybe, just maybe, I didn't deserve to be hurt."
After that Neulinger confessed to his mother about the abuse and charges were pressed against the relatives.
After seven long years in court, all three relatives were found guilty of child sex abuse. Two received prison time and the third a plea deal for misdemeanors and probation.
Now more than a decade after the cases have closed, Neulinger is a "Voice for the Kids" and using his talents as a filmmaker and public speaker to shed light on the issue of child abuse with a new documentary titled “Rewind to Fast-Forward.”
"As a survivor of child sexual abuse and as a filmmaker passionate about the topic, it's an honor to come here and share my story," said Neulinger.
To create the documentary, Neulinger used 200 hours of video footage from his childhood.
More information on the new film, set to be released in 2018, can be found here.
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