I AM ME: Survivor of Child Abuse and Bullying Speaks Out

i am me patrick dati book cover

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For millions of victims on the path to recovery, I AM ME is the next step.

This is my story of childhood abuse, sibling bullying and hiding from who I was. I am a survivor and want to help others heal as I did from my trauma and show them there is hope.

I AM ME touches on the following:

  • Explore my strategies for survival and healing
  • Help survivors identify and validate their childhood experiences
  • My experience of a devastating and traumatic encounter with my bullying brother that changed my life forever
  • My first gay relationship, which mirrors the emotional and psychological traumas of my past life
  • My emergence as a gay man and my first experience of truly loving another man
  • Efforts to deny my sexuality and hide who I really was to please everyone else
  • How I worked through issues such as trust, intimacy, and sexual confusion

Statistics show that most boys and men do not come forward about abuse out of shame and fear. I was one of those statistics. After years of depression and attempts with suicide I decided it was time to tell my story. I hid my entire life to please my family and others around me out of fear that they would disown me and not accept me for me. I want to help others who suffer and show them that not only can they survive but I can help them with the steps they need to take to enjoy life again.


The riveting, heart-wrenching chronicle of one man’s journey from victim to survivor.

Dati, who grew up in a Catholic middle-class family, has come to terms with his own abuse—sexual, mental and physical—by penning an unflinching memoir that details three decades of torment he endured at the hands of a stranger, his older brother Marco, and his former wife Wendy. Dati’s “dark secret” happened in 1973, at age 9, when, while playing hide-and-seek with Marco and a friend, he went into a department store’s restroom to relieve himself and was suddenly alone with the kind of man mothers warn their children about. The account is difficult to read and might be triggering to other sexual abuse survivors. Dati’s horror was compounded several years later, when, as he watched the news about the arrest of a man who lived across the street from his friend’s home in the Chicago suburbs, Dati realized that his attacker was John Wayne Gacy. A week later, Dati tried to commit suicide. Suffering from the shame and stigma brought on by the abuse and torment, Dati spent the next 30 years coming to terms with himself as a gay man worthy of love. He also married two women who each bullied him, struggled with OCD and depression, and eventually came out of the closet, though he refused to let two boyfriends love him. One heinous boyfriend pushed him down the stairs. Dati’s ability to investigate and analyze his mistakes is admirable. Readers unfamiliar with the long-term impact of abuse may find his repeated choices hard to fathom. Still, this smartly written, brave tale is ultimately about self-love—a comforting prospect for other victims.

An intense story of abuse that could empower other survivors.

Kirkus Reviews

Patrick Dati has written a memoir that explores his intense journey to self-identity. His personhood was dramatically changed when he was attacked by the serial killer John Wayne Gacey. How can a nine-year-old boy act attentive in school when burdened by the experience of rape? It’s too much to bear.

It appears that Patrick acted his whole life. He was pressured by a guilt-tripping mother to be who she wanted him to be. He sought her approval, tirelessly tried to please, and yearned to be accepted. Meanwhile, his older brother bullied and bashed him, adding to the confusion of childhood. Patrick lost his spontaneous personality early in his life, leading to an adolescence and adulthood disrupted by mind-numbing obsessive-compulsive activities. As a Catholic, he turned to religious rituals as a coping mechanism. He acted “as if” he was what everyone else wanted him to be.

Patrick lived in the shell of shame that typically encloses a victim of rape. His secrets led him to take on roles not beneficial to his unique personality. He married domineering women who controlled what he wore, where he lived, and even when (if) he could see his own daughter. He engaged in relationships that were emotionally and verbally abusive. He lived a life of pretense.

With the help of a mentor and for the love of his daughter, Patrick emerged from his shell. He explores the depths of his being and comes to terms with his sexuality. He tells the reader how he learned to embrace his authentic self. In this courageous memoir, Patrick conveys a message of hope for living a life with integrity and individuality.

Lynn C. Tolson
Author of “Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story

I truly enjoyed reading Patrick’s book “I Am Me.” Being a “different” kind of child is very difficult for the child and the family. His violent rape as a little boy had to shake his entire world. How could he tell anyone? Then learning it was John Wayne Gacy made it even more taboo. His gay shame manifested in hiding and marrying twice. He was lucky enough to have a beautiful daughter who plays the most important part of his life. Still today. He found amazing men, but could never allow himself to be loved because he did not love himself. He was closeted for many years. I’m so please that he has come out, is loved by his family and has an amazing partner. Great read. Buy it!

Daniel Kopelson
Amazon Reviews

Great book. It was amazing. This book should be read by anyone who struggles with any abuse. Letting yourself go and changing your life is hard thing to do. This books gives your the first step towards freedom.

Dale Holdman
Amazon Reviews

A must read for all survivors of child abuse and/or sibling abuse. A true story of survival, self discovery, and acceptance of ones self. As a survivor myself I felt at times alone in my journey of recovery, self love, and self acceptance but Patrick reminds us all that although the paths we take may not be the same we all are on the same journey.

Matthew Sasso
Amazon Reviews

This book was a very engaging memoir covering particularly relevant issue in our society today–that of child abuse and bullying. The book is full of memorable characters that round out the good and bad of Mr. Dati’s life story. It provides valuable insight into one person’s path in overcoming childhood issues to achieve a successful and fulfilling life.

Paul R. Mittleman
Amazon Reviews

I think Patrick’s book is outstanding. His ability to overcome some of lifes difficult obstacles given some of the facts of his abusive past are both remarkable and inspiring. Throughout the book he mentions in his interaction with other people that his family will always support him- the fact that blood is thicker than water holds true here. I couldn’t put the book down!

Mike Calcagno
Amazon Reviews

Dati’s personal account of recognition, self-discovery and reconciliation is an absolute page turner. His autobiography reads like a well balanced novel, but is tailored with strong affirmation and raw truth. I found it difficult to put the work down. This account is a must have for just about anyone who ever experienced self doubt, or who continually struggles with identity. It is a kind reminder that healing is many times a life long journey, requiring self exploration and the shedding of denial and concerns of outside perceptions. I believe many lives will benefit as a direct result of Dati’s introspective witness; especially those who are victors of abuse of any kind. Dati’s book certainly has the potential to be a best seller.

Amazon Reviews