Rob: Alright, ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the Bob Culture Podcast. Now right now we’re honored to be talking to the Creator and Writer of the new book Breaking Through the Silence: #MenToo, which is already the #1 New release and #1 Bestseller in its category on amazon.com. Guys, please welcome back to the show our good friend, author, Marissa Cohen, what’s up? Marissa? How are you?
Marissa: I’m great. Thanks. How are you?
Rob: Everything’s great. I’m feeling good. I’m just excited to talk to you. Intense couple days for you for sure.
Marissa: Oh, yeah, I’m releasing a book, especially when you’re self-publishing is a lot. You’re doing all the promoting all of the editing all this stuff yourself. And so, it becomes more of like a, like a full-time job than I guess what people think. But it’s been amazing. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It just makes the thrill of making it a best seller All that more of an accomplishment.
Rob: That’s amazing. And Congrats. Congratulations again, I noticed when I was looking on Amazon, you know, doing my homework, obviously, I’m familiar with the first book, I did see publisher Marissa Cohen as well. So, you’re doing everything, you’re killing it right now. But you know, more importantly, you’re doing a lot of great work for some people who’ve been some tough situations. Now the first book breaking through the silence that so many powerful stories we talked about in the past on the podcast, what was the feedback you got from the first book, and what made you decide to go ahead and do a second book?
Marissa: Wow. So, the feedback that I got from the first book was the most inspiring and heartwarming feedback I’ve gotten about anything in my life, I had so many people reaching out to me telling me how amazing it was them sharing my story, and that they’re now empowered to share theirs. I had hundreds of people reaching out to me just sharing their story. And that was exhilarating for me and it was so worth it, it made the whole process. So much more fruitful and it felt amazing. So basically, what it encouraged me to do was jumpstart the breaking through the silence series And I have about 17 other books in the works. Not they’re all coming out at the same time. I’m not psychotic but I have a lot of ideas. I want to do a book about military personnel who have been assaulted in the military or out of military or how it affected them, you know, in their life related to the military. I want to do one with LGBTQ. That community has the highest risk of being assaulted or abused. And I want to really showcase that and make people understand that it’s not like… I’m all about, you know, that lifestyles not a choice. And that is something that is ingrained in them, it is their sexuality, it’s their identity. That’s how they feel about their chosen partner and to say that that’s a choice, I think, is still pretty ignorant. And I want to kind of showcase that the people who are in this community are already at a high risk, because they feel so isolated from people, it almost puts a target on their back. And so, I want to I want people to really understand that. That this isn’t them doing something for attention, or, you know, they just want to be different. It has nothing to do with that. They’re not trying to, you know, air quotes, sin. It is something that is a part of them a part of their being And I want to show that. But I also want to show that they are at highest risk. And we need to love and coddle them the same way we live in coddle women and hopefully now men who are survivors.
Rob: Wow, very well said and it’s exciting to see you got a whole you know, like you said kind of series coming out slowly. That’s great. All the topics, you know, things you would never kind of think of, you know, you’re talking about the military. That’s very fascinating to me. But again, what was very fascinating to me about this second book, you know, you talk about the at the risk of sounding naive here. You know, you talk about the #MeToo movement, I would say, you know, I googled this a little bit again, at the risk of sounding naive, you would usually think as the women as victims, but this book you have the #MenToo. very clever, did a lot of men approach you after the first book, Was this something? You just kind of thought about? How did this come about? It’s very interesting to me.
Marissa: That’s a great question. So, a lot of men, in the beginning, when I was working on my first book, I approached a handful of men who I knew had been victimized. And across the board, every single one of them, other than one person said, “Nope, nope, not touching it, not doing it. Don’t talk to me about this. We’re not doing it.” And I was really surprised. Because at that point, I wasn’t familiar with the frequency of men being assaulted. But even more than that, really the, the aftermath for men or, you know, the stigma for men, because it just never crossed my mind. It wasn’t something I thought about. And so that was a huge realization for me. And then what kind of solidified me wanting to do a book about men after my first book came out was this one experience I had. I was out with a couple friends. And we ended up running into a coworker of mine, who asked me if I had a copy in my car that they could buy. And I said, Absolutely. So, I went out. And I brought the book in, and it was it was a guy, coworker. And he just placed it on the bar where he was sitting. You know, he knew all about my book, he knew about my story. And these two men who I didn’t know who were also at the bar, walked over looked at it, you could tell they were curious, they didn’t want to touch it. It was like hot lava, you know, you don’t want to touch it, but you don’t want to look. And I walked by and I said that’s my book. I just released it. You know, it’s called breaking the silence about survivors of sexual assault. And they were like, Are there any men in there? And I said, there’s one man in there. But most men don’t feel comfortable talking about it. And both guys separately, pulled me aside at different points in the night and said, “Hey, I want to tell you my story. Wow, you look like a person who would understand and not judge me. And so, I want to tell you.” And I was really floored And I was really honored that they felt that comfortable. Neither of them had ever spoken about it before, something they told me, and that they finally felt comfortable talking to me, because they knew I wouldn’t judge them. And that to me was so sad. You know how these were adult males probably in their 40s or 50s, with kids my age, and they’ve never spoken about abuse from when they were children. And I was so inspired. I wanted to change that. That was for I’m sorry, if this is inappropriate… That was bullshit. You know, I don’t think that it’s fair, that this me-too movement is happening all around us. And survivors all over the place are hash tagging me to on Facebook, on Instagram on all social media, there are millions of women coming forward. And the more I investigated, the more I saw that any man that hashtagged #MeToo was kind of getting berated by women. Yeah, it was actually horrifying. That, you know, any man that came forward and said, me too, when we jump on and be like, this isn’t for you. You be quiet. You know, this is a women’s movement, you’re not part of this. And I was so disgusted with that I didn’t think that was fair. Survivors aren’t Gendered. This isn’t a gender specific problem. This is an everyone problem. Men are survivors too. Men deal with this too, as children as adults, abused by men, by women by anyone. It’s, it’s not a women problem. So in in #MenToo ,I have several men who are abused in adulthood or in childhood by women, you know. I just needed to kind of push that point across that this is not a man vs. woman issue. This is an everyone issue. And I had 27 amazing survivors come forward. And several that I interviewed or that, you know, reached out to me but weren’t comfortable because they still felt that they were going to be ostracized for it, or that they were going to be, you know, there was this still that stigma that there was still going to be, you know, yelled at or, not believed or doubted, you know, and that was heartbreaking. But I wanted to I wanted to give that voice back to men.
Rob: Wow, that really incredible story. Well said, firstly, that meet up, like you said, at the cafe or the bar, whatever it was, that’s, you know, that seemed like it was meant to be. That’s really interesting. And, you know, they needed to meet you and tell their story. You know, that’s, like, incredible that was meant to be. And then secondly, like I said, talking about the #MeToo movement. You know, like I said, at the risk of sounding naive, I did a little homework myself. And, you know, some of the things would pop up. What should men think about the hashtag me to movement? So, I think your book really is a game changer, if you think about it. Any comment? Any thoughts on that?
Marissa: I hope it’s a game changer. I think like I said before, every survivor deserves that community. You know, we’re all survivors. It’s not a gender thing. Every survivor deserves respect, dignity, a hug and a community to come to that will empower them, and encourage them to tell their story and break out of that darkness.
Rob: Wow, really well said. And something I want to ask you, you know, we kind of talked about your story in the last book. We’re talking about other people’s, you know, coming to you and just talking about it, having it printed. For you, And for some of these people in the book, is that part of the healing process of being a survivor?
Marissa: A lot of people have said that speaking about their abuse, is therapeutic. And I would, have to agree. I think that the first time you speak out is the scariest moment of your life thus far. You know, what happens to you happens, and then it’s over. And I’m not downplaying that what happens is absolutely horrific. But a lot of people just try and forget about it, don’t talk about it, thinking that, okay, well, if I don’t talk about it, if I don’t think about it, it’ll just go away. I have to make this go away. And that’s not how it works. So, when you have to relive it and speak it for the first time, you’re taking power away from that experience, and putting it back into yourself and into your heart and into your soul. So, I think that the main point of all of these books is going to be to encourage people to speak their truth, and to find their voice again. Because losing your voice in such a violent and unnecessary way, is really debilitating. I didn’t talk about it for six months and to be honest, that’s a really short amount of time. I, happen to be very lucky that I had such a strong support network around me, and that I felt so comfortable with the people around me that I was able to say it, but not everybody is that lucky.
Rob: That’s crazy. And I’m sure a lot of people like repress things like that too, as well. So, again, we talked about it being therapeutic. And you know, great job out of you with the first book, this one already hitting #1 on Amazon. Now, like I said earlier, never doubt we knew it would Good job out of you. Are you being you going to be doing any more of those live readings or anything like that? Where can people kind of tune in for that?
Marissa: Yeah, absolutely. So, I’m going to start doing them, probably not tonight, sometime this week, I haven’t decided yet. I wanted to give people who ordered paperback copies and opportunity to get their book. So, you can follow me on my Facebook page, my author page, it’s Marissa F. Cohen. And I’ll do live readings, I’m going to try and do them once or twice a week. And then I also am going to do live chats about sexual assault and different subjects related to sexual assault. If anybody has any ideas or questions, I’m happy to answer them.
Rob: Great job out of you Marissa, as always, and kind of, you know, not to be cliche. But I mean, for you, you’ve accomplished so much with the first book, what did it mean to you to, you know, hit #1 on Amazon, and in all those categories over the weekend.
Marissa: It was so it was amazing. The first book, I was really confident that I would be a best seller, if we’re being honest, I just had so much support behind it because it was my story and it was very personal to me. All of my friends really rallied and they were all like, you know, talking about the book and really helping. And I was more concerned with this book, that it wasn’t going to do that well, because the subject matter is so controversial. And because, you know, men typically won’t stand up for a book about this, because they don’t want to be, either identified as a survivor, or they don’t want to not be a survivor. And they’re supporting this and have people think that they’re a survivor, like, you know, I just didn’t want any, I didn’t want anyone to get any negative clout. And they also didn’t want any negative cloud around them. So, I was concerned that more people would be likely to kind of steer away from it, as opposed to embrace it the way they did. I was astonished with the amount of support I got, I had so many shares for my, for my posts. I had people post posting all over the place, every domestic violence group, every sexual assault group on Facebook had it on their page. A ton of my friends who are survivors posted about it. It was beautiful.
Rob: That’s amazing. No, that’s amazing. I mean, you’re doing great and you’re doing good things for people. Now, did a lot of people in the book do they typically stay anonymous? Or do people kind of want to put their name on it? Is that you know, I kind of asked like, you know, we have a lot of these tragic, you know, really tough kind of stories. Do people like to kind of put their name to it, does it you know, kind of help with any sort of closure or anything like that, or is it more anonymous?
Marissa: So, For this book, it’s typically pretty anonymous. There are a couple people you can identify, either because I posted the name of their business or their program, or I put their information in the back. There were two guys in the book one has a presentation. It’s an interactive, one man shows that goes to schools called Ask a Sex Abuse Survivor. And he’s been on and also, he’s identified, because he gave me permission, I specifically asked him. And another person who’s a life coach, for people who are survivors to help them heal. I also put his information in the back, because I asked him specifically. But other than that everybody is on identifiable, all their names, places, any identifiable information is changed to protect their identity. You just don’t know what people are going to say or do. And especially a lot of these people don’t want their abusers to know that they’re speaking out about it or attack them. There’s so much room for retaliation, and you just don’t, you don’t want that kind of negativity around something that’s so sensitive.
Rob: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, I keep talking about like the healing process and all the good work that you’re doing, you know, having gone through this personally. Tell us a little bit about I think last time we were talking about, I believe it’s called Within Your Reach.
Marissa: Yeah, that’s still up and running I changed it around a little bit. Within Your Reach is a nonprofit dedicated to help people break their silence. It’s open to everyone and what we do is we create a community and programs to help survivors have a place to go to speak their truth, get support and thrive after their abuse. And since then, I also created another business, just under my name, Marissa F. Cohen and it’s where I published my books through and where I publish other people’s books through. I started a publishing company. And through that, I create programs to help people heal. So, the nonprofit helps you break your silence and, and Marissa F. Cohen helps people heal. So right now, my beta testers and focus group are working on my writing program. They’re working through my writing program called the path to healing through writing. It’s for survivors to use to teach them to write about their abuse, or write for therapy after abuse, without being re-traumatized or triggered, because that’s a huge problem. And writing about it is such a healthy and productive way to heal. So, so this is a step-by-step program that helps you heal through writing. And also, I weaved in some self-development or some personal development into the program to help build confidence, help people get on track and accomplish goals. So, it’s kind of like a twofer. You learn to write about your trauma, and you learn to heal that way. And you’re also rebuilding yourself at the same time, and setting yourself goals and writing affirmations and working on confidence and it’s really beautiful. I worked personally with Jack Canfield and Tony Robbins and I put a lot of the lessons I learned from them into that. I also love Rachel Hollis I’m not like a huge fan, but I really like a lot of things she says so I we’ve done some of her exercises and Bob Proctor and all these famous motivational speakers who are also very accomplished authors and business coaches. So that is in the works. That should be out in January latest so I’m very excited for that.
Rob: Wow. Okay. And lastly, Marissa a very important question before we get to all social plugins stuff you said you’re out in Chicago, right?
Marissa: Yes, I am.
Rob: You like that deep dish pizza out there as jersey pizza better. Oh, yeah.
Marissa: Deep Dish is great. Don’t get me wrong. Jon Stewart was onto something though. It’s like a tomato soup soufflé. Yeah. No, I will always love my New York pizza. It’s the fastest oils not dripping. It’s not right.
Rob: Yeah, that is the correct answer. You pass this as I was in Chicago this summer. I had to try the deep dish. It was good. It was different. But I got to go with the New York you know, New Jersey pizza for sure. Alright, Marissa, more importantly, tell everyone where they can follow you. You know all the shameless plugs we’d like to do here on the Bob Culture Podcast, where they can find the book, you know, on Amazon, all that good stuff.
Marissa: All right, perfect. So, I am on Facebook. You can friend me personally, I am not. I am a friendly fun person. And I post a lot of goofy pictures and videos of my dogs. My name is Marissa Cohen. And then my author page is Marissa F. Cohen. Follow Within Your Reach. I’m on Instagram for both within your reach. And for me personally, my handle is Marissa.Faye.Cohen. I started at Tiktok. My Project Manager introduced me to it and it is hilarious. I’m not great at it yet, but I’m getting there. Follow my videos. Again, mostly my dogs, but a lot of live readings and a lot of topical conversation about sexual assault, domestic violence. Weaved in with my goofy dumb dogs and let’s see, I’m on Twitter, but don’t follow me there because I don’t really do anything unless a football game. And its usually just #Doink because I’m a Bears fan.
Rob: Oh, they won yesterday.
Marissa: They Did! Hooray.
Marissa: I think that’s the first out of the last five games.
Rob: Yeah, I know. That’s okay. I’m a Giants fan over here. So, I feel the pain. I know. It stings. Yeah, that’s okay. I’m used to it at this point. But Marissa, thank you again, for coming on. You know, it’s always great to kind of talk to you and you know, tackle some you know, we do so much pop culture in wrestling. It’s good to tackle some important issues and, you know, things going on in the world here. So, I appreciate what you do, what you’re bringing to the table and helping out a lot of people. And maybe in the near future. We’ll see. You know, book number three.
Marissa: Hopefully next year. I’m going for November 8 2020. For book number three. Thank you so much for having me. This is always fun. I love talking to you, And I will very I’ll talk to you very soon, I’m sure. Oh, is a pleasure.
Rob: All right, ladies and gentlemen. Marissa Cohen, the book is Breaking Through the Silence. #MenToo get it now on amazon.com. We are out. peace.