At the age of four I lost my innocence, and experienced pain that would change my life forever.
Two of my uncles, Howard Nevison, Larry Nevison, and Larry’s son Stewart Nevison, all sexually abused me multiple times on separate occasions from the time I was four years old until I was eight. I only told my parents when I realized they were also hurting my little sister, and after two years of therapy, at the age of nine, the prosecution began. I spent my entire childhood trying to make sense of what had happened to me. Each of my abusers were tried separately, and as a result, the last case was not closed until shortly before my 17th birthday. Being abused set the pace for my life, and because of my painful and frightening journey, I know more about myself now then I may have ever discovered if I hadn’t had to work through the fear and the pain in order to trust and love again. I believe that overcoming the deepest, darkest form of pain that there is in this world has enabled me, within my emotional threshold, to understand and share equally powerful expressions of love and compassion. This film is not about calling out monsters and highlighting the life of a victim; it’s about identifying and understanding what causes human beings to hurt other human beings in the form of sexual abuse, and ultimately, this film offers a few ideas for how we can more effectively help child abuse victims, and how we can work with compassion and understanding to stop abuse cycles from continuing. When I was born in Philadelphia on Sept. 20th, 1989, my name was Alex Lawrence Nevison. Today, my name is Sasha Joseph Neulinger, and with my film Rewind to Fast-Forward, I will be completely transparent, as I share my story from birth to the present day. We have a visual archive of more than two hundred hours of home video from my childhood, including footage from before my abuse, footage that was shot with me and my abusers during the years of my abuse, and after the trials had begun. The fact that all of these moments are on tape means that I have to spend countless hours manually digitizing my life, and within that process, which we have been filming, I have had the opportunity to objectively re-experience my life, and by documenting that experience I will be able to share all of the emotions and revelations that surfaced as I process the footage. Interviews with Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman, and Lower Merion Township Senior Detective George Ohrin, both of whom worked tirelessly on my case, will aid in revealing the prosecution process, as well as providing a firm legal facet to the retelling of my story. Understanding how child sexual abuse cases are processed is vital to understanding how to take the next step and change they way we deal with child sexual abuse. The clinical knowledge and support in this film will come from one of Philadelphia’s leading child therapist, Dr. Herb Lustig, who was my psychiatrist for more ten years. Through our discussions with Dr. Lustig, we will explore what child sexual abuse victims experience emotionally by using my case as an example, while also getting a clinical explanation of the psychology of both a victim and the abuser. Interviews with members of my immediate family will also be used to tell this story.
I will spend a lot of time interviewing my father and processing the home videos with him, as he was not only the person who shot all of the home videos from which this film is pulling, but he was also abused by his brothers (my uncles) when he was a child. My father and I share an incredible bond. He never abused me, but he puts a lot of blame on himself for letting his brothers into our home. This additional storyline is extremely vital to the process of understanding how a victim becomes paralyzed by fear, both through my father’s personal experiences and by learning about the early years of my uncles. To marry the past with the present, I also plan to reach out to my abusers, in the hopes that they will meet with and interview with me. In addition to abusing my father and I, Howard Nevison also abused my uncle Larry. Larry went on to abuse my father and I as well.
Finally, Rewind to Fast-Forward will look at some new approaches to processing child sexual abuse cases. One very fresh approach that this film will look at is coming from Mission Kids, a 501 c 3 non-profit organization that coordinates child abuse investigations and provides appropriate referrals to victims and their non-offending caregivers. Mission Kids was co-founded by District Attorney Risa Ferman, who played a huge role in the prosecution of my case. When my case was put through the justice system, I had to tell and retell in vivid detail what my abusers did to me. Now with Mission Kids, a place made specifically for processing cases like mine, kids only have to testify once. They enter a nice, quiet room that has HD Cameras and audio recording devices, so that the child never has to retell their private and painful story more than once. The testimonies that are recorded at Mission Kids are used in court for prosecution so that the child victim never has to step foot in a courtroom.
My story will show that there is life after abuse, and that really dealing with and processing pain can only lead to self-empowerment and understanding, and while it is an extremely difficult process, it has proven to be invaluable to me, as I am aware of my emotions and able to voice them without judgement. I have come so far in my life that I am able and willing to re-examine old memories, in order to shift how the world understands child sexual abuse. We can make a difference, and the only way we are going to do it is with love and compassion. This film will shed light on what it is to be a child abuse victim, from the first moment of abuse, through the process of reclaiming and rebalancing life after abuse, while identifying the cause of child abuse cycles. Using visual, emotional, legal, and clinical angles to tell this story, Rewind to Fast-Forward is as fully rounded as it is profound.
According to Mission Kids, one in every four girls and one in every six boys are sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. The time to make this film is right now.
Sasha Joseph Neulinger