He was a sexually abused kid, and he's bringing his story to light for a good reason.

Once in a while, you meet a human being who just kinda exudes magic. Sasha is one of those people.

I don't know that I would have survived what he did — that is, sexual abuse by relatives over several years, beginning at age 4.

This is Sasha now, and at age 4.



Image by Sasha Joseph Neulinger/TEDx.

After throwing himself from his mother's car at age 8, he got some help to begin processing what had happened to him.

Sasha bravely made his sexual abuse history public.

Over a decade later, after the trials were over and he finished film school, he began a Kickstarter to fund the making of a movie about his life, " Rewind to Fast-Forward." You see, his father, a filmmaker himself, captured a lot of their family life on film, so Sasha got to watch himself as a wee child, then at ages 4, 5, 6, and even into his teens when he had to testify against the uncles and cousin who abused him.

Sasha's family videos show times when abusive family members were with him. Image by "Rewind to Fast-Forward."

This film is his chance to tell his story, connect with other survivors, and open a dialogue with the world about child sexual abuse.

Sasha's film shows his struggle with a difficult past. Image by "Rewind to Fast-Forward."

His Kickstarter raised nearly $200,000 in just a few weeks, received millions of views, and reached thousands of people who'd had similar experiences. Many of them sent him personal messages with their own stories of survival, some telling that story for the first time in their lives. There is great power in the ability to start conversations about a subject that most people would rather hide under a rug, and those conversations can turn into healing, justice, and positive change in the world. The film is in post-production. See the attributions below to find out more.

The real numbers behind sexual abuse? More than you think.

Think of 500 people in a room you've been in recently. A conference, a concert, a church.

Statistically, Sasha points out, 1 out of every 3 girls and 1 out of every 5 boys have been sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. (Note from our fact checkers: Some organizations like the U.S. Dept. of Justice put this at 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys, but either way — it's totally unacceptable).

I've been aware of that for several years now, though the reality of it is so much more than a statistic. It still shocks me.


Sasha's film shows how he coped with this trauma when he was a child. Image by "Rewind to Fast-Forward."

It's one of the biggest sources of trauma for children, and it happens far too frequently in the world.

Watch Sasha talk about his journey and about finding that 4-year-old child inside himself, holding his hand through the darkness, reminding him that he is deeply loved.

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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