O’Brien Dennis’ life has been anything but easy; however, he has not been anything but persistent. He was born and raised on the Island of Jamaica. The absence of Dennis’ biological father and his mother’s hectic work schedule in maintaining her household made Dennis’ early years challenging. Dennis was sexually abused while living in the ghettos of Kingston by a trusted neighbor. For years he lived in denial and shame of the abuse and sought refuge within the church that later shut its doors on him for his candidness and honest demure.
At fourteen, his neighbor raped him. Not knowing who to turn to, how to deal with the situation, Dennis returned to his neighbor and was again and again sexually abused. Dennis refers to this experience as “the big, dark pit that swallowed him alive.” He, nonetheless, courageously climbed out of the darkness, relying on his internal strength to save him. He remembered one important lesson his maternal grandmother taught him: “Never bow down in the face of adversity”. “The Lord is testing you.” Without telling a single person about the abuse, Dennis, enrolled himself in college and earned, a bachelor’s degree in African History with a minor in International Relations from the University of the West Indies.
“The Cries of Men: Voices of Jamaican Men who have been Raped and Sexually Abused” published in 2005, the first major publication by Dennis, is, in short, a victory. In this vivid and often blunt biography, Dennis recounts the horrid tales of his abuse in languages that is both raw and direct, forcing his readers to glimpse, even if uncomfortable, into his horror.
Dennis continued his quest for knowledge by writing “Understanding Male Sexual Abuse” published in 2011. The book allows readers to take a personal look into the lives of male survivors of sexual abuse and explore how these men cope with sexual violence. This is Dennis attempt at changing social perception about male sexual abuse and starting a conversation on the subject topic.
In an attempt to change the conversation surrounding homosexuality in Jamaica, Dennis published “Love on the Wire: A Jamaican Gay Love Story” in 2014 centered on the complexities of sexuality within relationships nestled in an island paradise.
Dennis now resides in Westchester County in New York State and is involved in many community outreach programs.Dennis is currently a training coordinator with a foster-care agency in New York City that service children who have serious emotional disabilities and who are developmentally delay. Dennis has a strong passion for helping those in need and changing social perception about all forms of abuse. Dennis is currently the Executive Director of the O’BrienDennis Foundation a not-for-profit located in New York. The mission of the O’Brien Dennis Foundation is to empower male victims of sexual abuse to live productive and fulfilling lives in their community. The foundation goal is to empower communities within New York, to create an environment where men and boys can speak freely about sexual violence and grow up free from sexual abuse. The O’Brien Dennis Foundation will also provide counseling and educational services to motivate young male victims to live more productive lives. Currently the foundation launched “The Conversation” a weekly group where men who are victims of sexual abuse can meet and discuss issues that impact their lives.
Dennis holds a Bachelor of Arts in African History and a minor in International Relations, from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, and a graduate student at Metropolitan College of New York, where he earned a Masters of Public Administration. His dissertation focused on how to help male victims of sexual assault break their silence and to take an ecological approach in addressing the issues surrounding male sexual abuse.