May 14, 2014
MAY 21st 7.30pm - food; 8pm Start at Doubletree Hotel 200 Atrium Dr, Somerset
A writer and director with Radiate & Reflect Productions, Chris Gavagan has worked in New York's independent film world since 1999. In November of 2009, he began production on the documentary Coached into Silence. Coached into Silence in a feature-length documentary which deal with the sexual abuse of boys with the world of organized sports. The film will tell the stories of a diverse group of boys, from Little League to the Olympic and professional ranks whom the system failed to protect. Far more sinister than those failures of prevention, this film will shed light on the organizational, institutional and legal systems which have conspired in attempting to silence the victims while protecting profits, their reputations and in some cases, the predators themselves.
Gavagan's own experience of sexual abuse at the hands of his roller hockey coach while growing up in Brooklyn, New York was the genesis of this project, and to some extent forms it's spine, but it's the courageous survivors that he has interviewed which provide it's limbs, it's lungs, it's eyes, it's brain, and it's beating heart. Beyond stories included in the film, it has been getting to know hundreds of other survivors throughout the course of making the film which truly brought Coached into Silence to life. Chris has had the opportunity to speak and show footage from the film before legislators in numerous State Capitols in support of laws strengthening victims rights and child protections, as well as on national television and radio. (The New York Times, New York Daily News, The Atlantic, Anderson Cooper, NPR)
As a result of his work on Coached into Silence, Chris was chosen to be a member of the the USOC's athlete advisory group for Safer Training Environments and recently had the honor of giving the keynote address at the inaugural Safe Sport Leadership Conference in Colorado Springs, hosted by USA Swimming.
He has a degree in Communications from St. John's University and studied film production at New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. He lives with his wife and daughter in Brooklyn, NY.
A chance meeting with a hockey coach over twenty years ago uniquely qualified Chris Gavagan to tell the stories in Coached into Silence, a documentary about sexual abuse within the world of organized sports. In it, we will hear the stories of a diverse group of athletes whom the system failed to protect. Far more sinister than those failures of prevention, this film will shed light on the organizational, institutional and legal systems which have conspired to silence the victims while protecting profits, reputations and in some cases, the predators themselves.
Yet these clear cases of such clear-cut wrongs are the exceptions. It is rarely that simple. Much more often it is a combination of subtle failures by well-intentioned individuals which have prevented the proper actions from being taken to protect children in their care.
Drawing on lessons learned from 4 years of research and production on Coached into Silence, conversations with hundreds of survivors, parents, experts, and drawing on his personal experience as a victim of sexual abuse by a coach, he will discuss the ways that we as individuals and as a society unwittingly silence ourselves, and how those obstacles can be overcome.