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.

More
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular