On 9 September 2018, JTM (formerly known as James The Mormon), released what is perhaps his most vulnerable music video to date. The video called “I Could Be Wrong,” is a depiction of his own abuse as a child.
JTM says in the video description, “The first 17 years of my life were hell. I was abused physically and emotionally almost daily.” Now, at the age of 32, he is ready to share his story and experiences.
The number of children that are abused physically, mentally, and sexually each year is alarming. According to a Children’s Bureau 2015 report, on a national level, over 7 million children in the United States come to the attention of Child Protective Services each year. Invisible Children.org reports that 37% of American children are reported to Child Protective Services by their 18th birthday (African American children are reported at 54%). The report further states that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old, and 34% of people who sexually abuse a child are family members, with 96% of the sexual offenders being male, and 76.8% being adults. Add to those heart wrenching statistics the fact that 325,000 children are at risk of becoming victims of commercial child sexual exploitation each year. The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12 to 14 years old, and the average age for boys is 11 to 13 years old.
In his music video, “I Could Be Wrong,” JTM plays the role of both of his parents as well as himself. The song and video illustrate a hypothetical conversation that he has with his parents (whom he has not spoken to in years) and they finally tell him that they are sorry for the things they did to him. He recalls, “The entirety of my childhood I would get asked about bruises, scars, and black eyes and I would either lie or say nothing.” JTM also shares two traumatic events in his young life that are forever etched in his memory. He said:
The most scarring events were me as an 11-year-old, being beaten with a two by four to the point where I couldn’t move. All I could do was cry and wonder what parts of my body were broken. The second was being stripped down to my underwear and being locked in a dog kennel along with my younger brother for hours.
JTM not only shares his personal story, but he also bears testimony of the fact that there is a God who cares and watches over all His children. He said:
There are so many kids dealing with what I did. To those children, if you are reading or watching, I want you all to know there is a God above that loves you who is aware of you. You can go to Him for comfort through these miserable and unbearable times. I also want you to know as someone who’s gone through it, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It does get better.