Exploring a Memoir of Stolen Boyhood with Author Stephen Mills

Season 4Episode 7April 28, 2022

Chosen, author Stephen Mills’ account of his abuse at the hands of a camp counselor and his journey towards healing, challenges all of us to better protect boys, and better help them help if they have been abused.

Today’s episode is a conversation with author and survivor Stephen Mills about his recently published memoir, Chosen. For those who haven’t yet read his book, which we highly recommend, it recounts Mills’ abuse at the hands of a camp counselor over several years, and his long journey towards healing. While many institutional abuse cases involve boys, there are very, very few published accounts of male survivorship. And, if we’re to help boys who have been abused, then it’s critical for us to understand how this experience may differ from that of female survivorship. Mills’ account is deeply moving, and it challenges all of us to better protect boys in the first place, and better help them heal if they have been abused.

Topics in this episode:

  • Why we need this story (1:17)
  • Stigma and shame (3:42)
  • Grooming family and community (6:50)
  • Longing for justice (17:34)
  • Pushing institutions to change (26:17)
  • Public policy wishes (29:45)
  • Advice for child abuse professionals (34:39)
  • Learn signs and tactics (41:46)
  • For more information (47:01)


Stephen Mills is the coauthor with Roger Fouts of Next of Kin: My Conversations with Chimpanzees. He has advised and written for an array of public interest organizations in the fields of human rights, civil liberties, and the environment. Since 1983, he has worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council, building campaigns that have mobilized millions of people in support of environmental protection, and he serves as an ambassador for CHILD USA.

StephenMillsAuthor.com includes resources for survivors, families, and everyone and information on ways to take action to prevent child sexual abuse

At a Place Where He Was Supposed to Be Safe, He Was Molested,” by Bruce Feiler, The New York Times, April 26, 2022

Other memoirs mentioned: Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford; Half the House: A Memoir by Richard Hoffman; and The Tricky Part: One Boy’s Fall from Trespass into Grace by Martin Moran

Child Victims Act of 2019 (New York)

CHILD USA has information on child protection laws across the country, including statutes of limitation reform

U.S. National Blueprint to End Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents from Keep Kids Safe

For more information about National Children’s Alliance and the work of Children’s Advocacy Centers, visit our website at NationalChildrensAlliance.org. And join us on Facebook at One in Ten podcast.

Transcript to come.