Awareness: AeA Deaths
Dear TCF Friends,
I hope that you all will indulge me for a few moments, and I hope and pray that none of you will be offended by this. I know that many of you have no sons, but you do know other people who do, and so I'm sending this to one and all.
My only child, Colin, will be gone 6 years on the 21st and I am often overwhelmed, even still, that young men die (more all the time) the way he did. I have never hidden the fact that his death was caused by an extremely dangerous and addictive behavior known as autoerotic asphyxiation. In 1998 when Colin died, the coroner told us that he was the "third so far in York County that year". So why had we never heard of it and why isn't it being exposed so that parents can be on the lookout for it? Simply put, because it usually involves the use of pornography or masturbation and is a subject no one will discuss until they find their son hanging in his closet with an open Penthouse magazine.
Anyway, I never felt I could utilize the TCF newsletter for a soapbox, but I got to thinking recently that I could never live with myself if another TCF family would suffer the loss of a son to AeA and I would have done nothing to sound the alarm.
I only ask you to talk to your boys and warn them and be on the lookout for "telltale" signs such as bruises or marks on the neck, pornography, ropes or other things tied in knots, being overly defensive about you getting near their rooms, etc. Also, please visit the website www.silentvictims.org and educate yourself before you talk to your kids. Although the overwhelming majority of deaths are boys, girls sometimes also engage in this and die also.
In the meantime, I've attached a newpaper article that ran down south about a precious young man whose mom gets our newsletter in Adams County. [KotaPress Editor's Note: The attached article didn't come through on the email I got. Sorry I don't have the link to offer here.] There are five known AeA families in our newsletter area, and if statistics ring true, there are many more out there who are afraid to say so or their sons deaths were misinterpreted as suicides.
I suppose the realization that my Mother's Day may have been totally different if I had heard of this or known the signs is what caused me to send this now. In Colin's case there were signs.
Please take a moment to educate yourself, hug your kids and talk to them about AeA. My prayers are with all of you. In loving memory of Colin, Jason, Nat, Chris, Dalton, Nathan and all the other boys we dearly miss.
Gala TCF Editor Colin's Mom