The stories of healing from these courageous men will inspire a range of emotions.
If you need support, visit 1in6's Free and Confidential 24/7 Online SupportLine.
Chat now Hide this note

The Bristlecone Project

Portraits and Biographies of Male Survivors

Brian Cardoza

“I am becoming the man that I needed when I was a child,” Brian says, as he tightens a bolt on a cast-off kid’s bicycle that he is resurrecting. It is one of dozens that he has refurbished and painted colorfully and then found a new home for; with a child at the local domestic violence shelter, or with a child who, like Brian, has known the sting of a clothes hanger or the devastation of sexual abuse.

Abandoned by his father and rejected and physically abused by his mother, Brian was set up to be targeted by local predators. He was left deeply scarred, and like so many abused kids, he sought solace in addictions. And he set out to prove his manhood, to compensate for the self-doubts that tormented him. But those choices led to a solitary jail cell, and the possibility of 18 years in prison for being in the wrong car at the wrong time.

Brian was spared that fate. And in that solitary jail cell he vowed to make different choices. He drew on his natural talents, and eventually created for himself a career as a chef.

Today, Brian volunteers at his local rape crisis center, he speaks nationally about his own life history (his upcoming book is titled, Struggling to Fight) and about the need to provide services for survivors of childhood abuse. And, he fixes bicycles, and then spray paints them magnificent colors, and gives them to kids who need a man like him.