Actor Todd Bridges attributes his wild days of alcohol, violence and drug abuse to his being molested as a child.
The actor, who most recently had a reoccurring role on the show “Everybody Hates Chris” and who now stars as a commentator for truTv’s “World’s Dumbest Criminals,” sat down with Beliefnet Entertainme
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His story unfortunately is not a rarity. We should note the following stats from Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse.
- More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way.
- Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
- About 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
- Children who experience child abuse & neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crime.
Todd didn’t pull any punches when he said the below:
What I hope is that anyone else who’s struggling with the same kind of situation will find out how to really deal with it. I hope that victims, including myself, stop blaming ourselves and start putting the responsibility where it lies, which is on the actual molester, the guy who actually did it, because a lot of people who get molested spend so much time blaming ourselves and thinking that we deserved it or we put ourselves in that position, not realizing that we had nothing to do with that whatsoever. That was his sickness and not ours. So hopefully, they learn to forgive [themselves] and in return, forgive that guy. You don’t have to condone what he’s done, but you still have to somehow find a way to forgive him because that’s what God would want.
When asked why did he start using drugs, he explained the following:
What caused me to start using was being sexually molested [by someone outside of the family] at 12-years-old, and my father was [physically] abusive. I didn’t know how to deal with that. I thought that drugs would help me feel better. It temporarily took away the pain, but no one told me that I was going to become fully addicted and lose everything.
When I grew up, they never really told us about the do’s–they always told us don’t do what I do but they still did things. Your parents tell you “don’t drink,” but they drank, “don’t use profanity,” but they used profanity.
I think that it’s really helpful to explain to children why not to do something. Just like God–when He talks to you or He disciplines you, He shows you the reasons not to do something.
What made me stop was I got sick and tired of going through that pain and suffering. All drugs did was compound it and make it even worse. The drugs helped it temporarily, but it wasn’t a long-lasting fix. That’s why I had to stop.
One-third to two-thirds of child maltreatment cases involve substance use to some degree.Children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs are three times more likely to be abused and more than four times more likely to be neglected than children from non-abusing families. As a teacher, I cannot tell you how many times I watch my students fall into the same traps that they witnessed at home.