April 12, 2019

Lessons from 'Neverland': A Teachable Moment


As I watched the documentary, "Leaving Neverland," I was eerily reminded of my own past early childhood sexual abuse and the grooming process used by sexual predators seek to exploit the vulnerable and innocent.

With so many courageous stories of women, children, and men coming forward with their experiences, I felt now was the right time to share my  own "aha" moment and lessons we all need to take into account. And so I penned this USA Today Op-Ed released yesterday. (see below) 

(Photo: Vincent Amalvy/AFP/Getty Images)

It is my hope that by sharing this part of own story, others will be encouraged to speak out and get the support they need. I firmly believe that together, we can help to prevent the sexual exploitation of children and youth in the digital world.

Prevention is paramount and possible. If you haven't already, will you consider joining us in defending the innocence of children by making your most generous tax-deductible gift today? Thank you for taking this journey with me and Enough Is Enough®.

Donna's Signature

Donna Rice Hughes
President and CEO,
Enough Is Enough®


Donna Rice Hughes: Coming to terms with my own sex abuse in a 'Leaving Neverland' moment

Michael Jackson was my childhood hero. But the credible allegations against him evoked the memories of when I came to terms with my own abuse.

As I watched Wade Robson and James Safechuck accuse pop legend Michael Jackson of sexual abuse in the new documentary “Leaving Neverland,” I found myself believing them. I could recognize my own story, and the story of so many other children, in what they had to say. As these men exposed Jackson's alleged secret world, the more convinced I became that my childhood idol was guilty. 

Jackson and I were both born in 1958. At a young age, he captured my heart with his charm, music and dancing. While all the signs of an unusual attraction to young boys were apparent as he reached adulthood, his popularity, likability and shy demeanor provided an effective veil that kept his private life hidden in plain sight. He never had a childhood of his own, many of us reasoned at the time, and used his wealth and fame to provide a fantasy world for children to play, laugh and love.

Read Full Op-Ed Here