The Second Wound Blog

My Statement Regarding Child Victims Act Lawsuit Against Adam Savage

My name is Miranda Savage Pacchiana and I am a survivor of child sexual abuse. My older brother, Adam Savage sexually assaulted me repeatedly over the course of several years, starting when I was seven years old.

As a child, this experience shook my sense of safety and crushed my self-confidence. For decades afterward, I dealt with periods of depression and near-constant anxiety. These symptoms interfered with all aspects of my life, stunting my career aspirations, and robbing me of countless simple pleasures. In my mid-twenties, I sought treatment for the abuse and so began a long, arduous process of working to address the emotional impact of my trauma.

I last made contact with my brother, Adam Savage, over two decades ago. At the time, I called him out for his callous attitude about the abuse and his apparent disregard for the damage he had caused, but he chose not to acknowledge or show any compassion for my pain. Not once in the ensuing years have I seen evidence that my brother cares to truly understand what he did to me. He gives me no reason to believe that he has meaningfully examined whatever compelled him to commit sexual crimes as a minor.

But now, because of the NY Child Victims Act, I finally have the opportunity to pursue justice for the crimes my brother committed against me. While nothing can give back what Adam Savage took from me,  I hope this lawsuit will also demonstrate to my fellow survivors that we do not deserve to carry the shame of sexual abuse and assault.

I will never wake up one morning and stop being a survivor of child rape. I will always feel the impact of my brother’s abuse, including trust issues and nightmares that I live with to this day. What I hope to change, standing alongside so many other brave survivors, is to initiate an honest look at the epidemic of sexual abuse.

At least one in 6 boys and one in 4 girls will be sexually abused before age 18. We must do a better job of protecting children, starting by holding more abusers accountable. This happened to me. Statistically, it happened to someone you know. Maybe even someone in your family.  It’s time to tell.

That is why I’m here today. The public needs to know that Adam Savage sexually abused me when I was a child, as set forth in the lawsuit that I have finally been able to bring after all of these years. As a survivor and advocate for victims, I am determined to shine a light on the truth. Thank you.

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Fear, Loss, & the Grocery Store

The following is adapted from a bonus Truth & Consequences podcast episode recorded during the Covid-19 quarantine. I post it here because it addresses retraumatization and the resurfacing of past trauma and loss.  

If you have a few extra minutes this week, I’d like to share a story and some thoughts with you in the hopes that you’ll find it useful. It’s a story about going to the grocery store. Something that used to be an annoyingly frequent chore, at least to me, but has now become a whole different experience for a lot of us…of course, that’s IF you’re actually still venturing out to buy food in person.

Because our world has changed.

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I think it’s safe to say that most people are opposed to sexual violence. Rape, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of children are considered heinous acts that most of us would not be caught defending in a debate. And of course, they are classified as crimes by our legal system. In theory, at least, opposition to sexual violence is considered a shared cultural value. 

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Grateful for What I Know

It’s American Thanksgiving today. In the midst of the bustle of holiday prep, I have survivors on my mind. Those, like me, who are estranged from their family. Whatever the status of our family relationships, so many of us feel misunderstood by loved ones who minimize or deny the weight of our experiences. They just don’t get it. And maybe they never will.

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Sexual Violence Is Only the ‘First Wound’

View the original post on The Mighty.

You might think, being a victim of sexual abuse or assault, it is the experience that affects survivors the most, causes the most damage in our lives and has the most lasting, destructive effects.

You might be wrong.

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Healing Begins with Connection (as seen in The Mighty)

There is no substitute for feeling heard, understood and cared for. These are the gifts of human connection, an integral component of where healing begins from the trauma of sexual abuse and assault. For survivors on the path to healing, it’s vital we connect with people who will sit with us in our pain and struggle, appreciate our value and share in celebrations of our progress and triumphs. These may be therapists or other professionals as well as partners and caring friends. As legitimately scary as it can be to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and risk trusting others, doing so (in our own time and with careful judgment) helps to repair our damaged hearts and fulfill our emotional needs.

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Parenting with a Limited Road Map

There have been many points during my parenting journey when I wished I could fall back on what I’d learned from my own mom and dad, to recall how they’d handled similar situations and use their actions as my guide. But based on the way things went during my childhood, I didn’t have that luxury. In fact, for a lot of parenting moments, I was determined to handle things differently from the way my parents had.

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Dear Second Wound, I am a survivor of sexual Abuse. Why wasn’t I believed?

Dear Survivors,

You 100% deserve to be believed.

Though it’s nearly impossible to gather accurate statistics on false reporting of sexual abuse, we do know that it’s rare. If we look at sexual assault reports made to law enforcement, research tells us that false reports make up about only 2 to 6 percent of cases. It’s probably safe to assume the number is at least this low in sexual abuse cases.

Let’s be realistic. Survivors have very little reason to lie. As one survivor pointed out, “A small child couldn’t make that stuff up”. So then…why are so many survivors doubted, questioned, and outright disbelieved? Even when we ARE believed, why is our trauma so often minimized, brushed under the rug as if it doesn’t matter to anyone but us?

There are many reasons that explain the heartbreak of disbelief and minimization. I’ve done my best to explain them here.

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A No-Win Situation

My mother sighed, clearly exasperated with me yet again. My transgression? I had objected after finding out that she’d hidden information from me for no apparent reason. I’d learned that my half-sister was flying into town from across the country. My mother (her stepmother) knew all about the trip. In fact, the two of them had made arrangements to get together, along with other siblings. But no one informed me — despite my friendly relationship with my sister at the time. I was completely in the dark about the entire topic until it an extended family member innocently mentioned what she knew.

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Reasons Family Members Side with Sexual Abusers

As seen in PsychCentral

Living with the emotional effects of sexual abuse is painful enough. Unfortunately, many survivors open up about their abuse only to find that their family members’ reactions toward them are just as painful — if not more so — than the original trauma. It may shock some people to learn that family members often choose to side with sexual abuse perpetrators and against their victims, especially if the abuse was committed within the family.

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