Project Description

About Brian

I’m Brian Cardoza, an inspirational speaker, author, and artist.  I am the founder of The Broken Knee Club, a non-profit organization created to provide a safe haven for all sexes to comfortably speak out about their experience of childhood and adult sexual assault. In collaboration with others, I am building Survivor Knights, a community working to heal the wounds and trauma of abuse, addiction and other life-threatening health conditions through creative expression. Survivor Knights art exhibits highlight the enormity of the journey from trauma to healing through dark and bright works of art created through various mediums. 

I am also the author of The Unexpected Victim. You can connect with me via my website. 

My Story

I grew up in a very abusive home in Alaska where I was the household slave.  I was emotionally, verbally, physically, and sexually abused by my family.  My mother would regularly tell me “ You are a failure”, “You should have been aborted”, and “ You are worthless.”

At six I was held responsible for my fathers leaving, and was later sold into sex slavery by my older brother to his best friend, My crime was “He left because you couldn’t make him love this family” The crime was without clear definition but the punishment had translucent long term effects. The lessons I learned at six should have not been taught till, well never.

I have wondered what my life would have been without the PTSD, severe Anxiety borderline Agoraphobia, and Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Stemming from sexual, physical, and severe mental child abuse. I have often been asked if I could change everything magically would I?

The answer is No because I can not waste time on illusion and to be honest I finally almost completely proud of who I have become. I have a ton of work left to do, but I know for certain I would not be who I am now, without those events.

My Healing Journey

When I was just 15 years old and had escaped and slept in a car in the middle of Alaska in the winter, tortured by the memories of the trauma I had been experiencing … I remember thinking- ‘No one cares you are in this car” “Brian you have a choice to make, die, beg to go home, or keep fighting” The cold made choice one very inviting and choice two was unbearable. Fighting seemed like the impossible thing, fighting seemed like the most improbable thing, mostly is was the only thing.

It was that moment I realized I’m possible. I will never forget that night and as I am now almost 30 years removed from that agonizing evening where I slept in a abandoned car at the end of a street no one cared about. I sometimes even today wonder if anyone may have cared about the car more than anyone in my family ever did about me?

The years have passed and I am no longer the child in the car at the end of the street. I am no longer the failure or worthless. I am now also thankful I was not aborted, but sometimes I wish I was not the boy who learned what sex was at six or that in ordinary to not get beat to listen to my mother’s desires for dinner and house cleaning.

I still suffer and often say I will be into full blown recovery twelve minutes into my own funeral, I just have learned that now I have more good days then bad and tomorrow I know the sun will rise. I just still hope that I will make it to see it. Mostly I just understand now that others need to hear the stories of survivors of the people who know what monsters look like and know that in order to overcome we must be willing to succumb to our own fears, Today we will be better than yesterday and maybe one day I will completely convince myself of that also.

Creative expression has been a huge part of my healing.

“We are stronger than we ever expected. We become a SUPERHERO.”

To My Younger Self

Hey Bud,

I am writing this letter really late and many years in the future. I have wanted to pen this to you many times I have dreamed that this letter is what allowed us to last to this long.

As we get older one of our favorite saying is “I didn’t get to (add approximate age here) on accident” I dream about us younger receiving a letter that gave us the courage to with stand the sexual abuse from him.

I dream that a comforting thought from the future reminds you that every time our mother or brother told us we’re worthless or beat us that we hold value and one day it would reveal itself.

The moments that the fists were raised the lapses in time when he would take us without our permission are simply that, moments in time. Time is longer than us but we are the masters of it. The tranquility of knowing our depths of pain has allowed us to survive gut wrenching misery.

We are stronger than either of us has ever expected but still 6 years old. I am sorry that I cannot stop him I am sorry I cannot come back and whisk us away like the comic book super hero we dreamed of.

You will find strength in those books you will see a world where we can be free. You will grow to be a large man with many faults and far more passions that neither of us know in their entirety I can promise that as we get older we will make choices that will ensure we will never have that happen again but they will make us live alone and without a love others speak about casually in social media sites (explain later promise).

We will make mistakes and find friends that are the furthest from the definition. We find help in the strangest places and from people that we will first hate. We will dream about a family that we will be forced to fear because of myths of survival.

We will struggle and we will certainly fail. We will not have crayon drawing on our own refrigerator but we will have children that look up to us. We will be the unexpected face of survival.

But most importantly we will survive.

I am writing this to you now because I hope that our mastery of time that we hold is transforming it to a physical manifestation, not just a trigger that takes us back to vacuum cords stuck between our toes and then usher us forward to current time.

Time does loop and it does not always go back to family trips to Disneyland. One day though we both will find a peace that is as unexplained to us as abuse is to healthy families. We are mighty little one and we are brave, it will not always be so easy to find but it will be there.

Know this many years from now you will learn to love yourself again and it will be the most painful experience and worthwhile time. Just breathe and know that it ends it will end by the time your 15. I will write that letter later.

I also know that a lot of my words are probably to large or to forward thinking for us at 6 so I just wanted to say this and this alone to you for now: WE BECOME A SUPER HERO

Brian (US)