BOISE -- A local man is inspiring a legion of supporters with his effort to break down social stigmas when it comes to child sexual abuse.
Matt Pipkin, an abuse survivor himself, started a non-profit for other survivors called Speak Your Silence.
More recently, he launched a new campaign called The Stitch. It's a symbol that can be worn to raise awareness, end the stigma, and start conversations to prevent child sexual abuse.
"We want to make it so it's not so socially awkward and taboo to talk about it, so we can actually prevent it and help people who have been through it," said Pipkin.
FINDING HIS VOICE
Pipkin was abused by a trusted family friend when he was just 6-years-old. He held onto the secret for years - it wasn't until he was adult that he spoke out publicly about the ordeal.
"Even though I came from a great family, a supportive family, I always thought this secret would devastate everyone if they knew the truth about me," he said. "Finally, after 20 years, a few years back, I told my story. I got it off my chest and it felt amazing. And I saw that my family loved me and supported me."
Pipkin was inspired to something for other people just like him. He started Speak Your Silence in 2012, encouraging survivors to share their stories. It took off, receiving an incredible response.
"Helping people who have been through it find freedom, and helping parents prevent it from happening to their kids."
Pipkin's latest campaign to spread awareness, The Stitch, puts a symbol to the cause.
"I envisioned a guy with a stitch on the pocket of his jeans, of just thread like that," Pipkin explained. "The symbolism, the voice frequency, the bounce."
He turned that idea into reality, and created The Stitch Kit. It comes with a needle and thread and you can stitch it to your own clothes your backpack, shoes, you name it.
Each one is individually numbered and unique.
Now, people are sharing it on Twitter and Facebook, proudly wearing the subtle stitch and telling their friends about it.
You can buy the kit online and at local specialty stores, including Bricolage.
"I love the story behind it, and it's also really cool looking and I'm all about cool things," said Chelsea Snow with Bricolage. "A lot of people already have heard about it, which is cool. People specifically come in to buy it."
Pipkin and his little orange stitch are already making big waves nationally, having been featured in the Huffington Post.
And he has big plans for the future.
"We're going to focus on Seattle and Portland to grow those networks and slowly grow across the country."
GET YOUR STITCH
The Stitch costs $20. The money raised from sales goes directly to pay for counseling for child sexual abuse survivors.
To order The Stitch online, click here.
Local Retailers in Boise currently carrying The Stitch:
Flying M Coffee House
The District Coffee House
Bee Wise Goods
Newt & Harold's