Marko Hamlin: One Man’s Story Of Overcoming Child Sexual Abuse and Depression


Marko Hamlin Dunking

Marko Hamlin was raised in Arlington, Virginia. The son of an alcoholic mother, he was placed into foster care around five years old. His mother had visitation and he remembers being returned to his mother in fourth grade. Marko graduated from Wakefield High School, in Arlington Virginia and joined the armed forces, serving one term before ending his military career.

Marko was promiscuous and although men are often celebrated for being a ladies’ man, Marko admits that much of his detachment to women, and sexual promiscuity were related to things that he was embattled with much of his life.

Marko served in the Army and was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. After leaving the military the six-foot seven forward/center played basketball for a Junior College and was recruited on scholarship to play for St. Augustine. Marko Hamlin, attending the College of Southern Maryland, was named the NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, Dec. 21, 2006. There were promises made by people who worked for St. Augustine, ensuring that Marko would be financially taken care of, that were not kept. This situation quickly soured Marko’s confidence and trust in those he once believed, supportive of his gifts and talents, and he left college to embark on a journey that he did not know would lead him to love, God.


“The first time, I didn’t think it was my fault but I knew it wasn’t right. He would make me do things. He did things to make me be his friend, and he used those things to take advantage of me.”

Marko was first sexually abused at the age of four. Marko’s mother was working overnight when she asked for a teenage family friend to watch he and his sister. When she returned home, she knew that something was wrong when she saw Marko’s underwear torn, and evidence of abuse from his sister who was around two years old. Marko’s mother called the police, and remembers that the teenager received probation.

He was abused several times by two males, a foster cousin, and the family friend mentioned above, who were ten years or more, older than he at the time. He was also abused by his foster sister who was seven years older.

These were all separate incidents that happened on more than one occasion. He was often hit physically by one of the perpetrators and commanded to perform sexual acts on himself, and the teenage boy.  More striking is the commonness of abusers who, often go on to live “normal” lives and maintain relationships with their victims beyond the abuse- even denying it or minimizing it, which is a form of emotional or psychological abuse.

Marko knew that something was wrong because he was being physically hit. He informed his mother of the sexual abuse, and the police were called. He remembers that he did not tell on all of his perpetrators, but in this case, the police sent Marko to counseling as a way to collect evidence against the predator. Marko was asked to demonstrate what had been done on a toy doll. The counseling sessions stopped, and although Marko saw child psychologists for the trauma of becoming a foster child, child sexual abuse was never brought up again.

The female perpetrator stopped because of an argument in the foster home that exposed her actions. Although Marko was never questioned about his claims, the foster sister never sexually abused him again.


Marko was a member of a new home. Foster homes are supposed to be filled with love. Marko says that he wants to make sure that people know that they are not forgotten, and to speak up to their case worker so that they can be helped. He thought that since he was accustomed to the family, and had been there for years, he would prolong getting back to his mother if he told of the sexual abuse, which was his primary goal. He says that all he could think about was getting back to his mother. He encourages social workers to do thorough investigations on the homes that are offering to take children in. Mr. Hamlin says that as an adult, he still wonders if his foster family ever loved him.

He was forced alcohol and forced to fight children in the neighborhood, and if he lost a fight he was forced to get into a bath tub and be whooped by family members.  Mr. Hamlin looked up to his older family members and was fearful of what they would make him do.

He remembers being in third grade, studying for a spelling test and each time he misspelled the word W-A-T-C-H by spelling it W-A-C-H he would be struck with a leather belt on his hand.  Marko’s greatest desire was to be reunited with his mother. He became angry at foster family members because of how he was treated and was internally aggressive awaiting a time to unleash his rage on anyone who would cross the line. Hamlin is a funny, fun-loving type of man and acknowledges how such physical, psychological and sexual abuse in his foster care home has played a part in his life.

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How did you know that this was something that you weren’t healed from, I asked.

We live in a time when emotional abuse is not something that men are able to identify with because they are often ridiculed for acknowledging that they have emotions. When men are emotional, women and men often call them soft, weak, gay or homosexual and feminine.  These references to the association of weakness and emotional needs of men are often just as abusive and traumatizing as when the man was first violated.

Mr. Hamlin is candid to share a time when the first revelation of his traumatizing past caught up him. He was in the military, home for thanksgiving break when he and two other passengers in a friend’s car were hit by a drunk driver who had two female passengers in the car as well.

The two women, who were passengers in the drunk driver’s car, were ejected from the car in the middle of 395 south bound. Marko remembers seeing the Pentagon on his right hand side. What was troubling was not the accident itself, it was the brain of the two female passengers that were exposed on the highway floor, and the body parts that were scattered around the crime scene.  A flurry of feelings about things that had happened to him resurfaced, and he returned to the Fort Bragg.

So, overwhelmed by internal thoughts of his childhood, and the recent accident, Marko was not able to fulfill his orders to Iraq, and continued his duties here, imploding by depression.

Two additional major events would change his life, and resurface his tragic life beginnings. Marko welcomed the birth of his daughter in 2007 and the death of his father, one month apart. Marko Hamlin longed to develop a relationship with his father, who cared for his half siblings, and had chosen not to father him. He had the opportunity to live with his father for a brief time as an adult, restore their  relationship, and to totally forgive his fatherless ways.

During the time that his father was sick and his then girlfriend was pregnant, he left everything in life behind and ran to the aid of his daughter who was admitted to John Hopkins University, due to birth complications, and his father who was admitted to Arlington Hospital in Arlington, Virginia.

Still embattled with depression, and needing a change; hoping for something that was empty to be filled, he leaned on the mercy-seat of God. He knew who God was, but did not have a one on one relationship with him, prior to these three significant events all relating to life and death.


Marko and his beautiful bride!

Today, Marko is married to his then girlfriend, and mother of his child. His family attends the First Baptist Church of Glenarden church, where he credits the men’s ministry for helping him to develop and cultivate a personal relationship with God.

He is strong enough now to share his story, and to fight the mental illness of depression with faith. People often use the word depression as a term to relate to their feelings of the moment. Clinically there are two types of depression, situational and clinical; both types may require medication.  He is inspired and empowered to help other men who are living with the pain of their past, to experience the same liberty that he does. His favorite scripture is Romans 8:28 which says,

ROMANS 8: 28


Marko Hamlin is amazing and maybe I’m giving way to my own emotions here but I am so proud to know a male survivor of child sexual abuse who desires to stand up on a stage, a pulpit, a car, or a step-ladder in the Walmart to declare that not only is he victorious but he’s taking hostages. His belief and devotion to his spiritual practices are infectious and make us all want to believe more, and do more to aid in the healing process of those who have been mentally, physically and sexually abused.

Marko Hamlin’s story encourages me to continue writing, and speaking about child sexual abuse prevention and awareness. It ministers to me, that we can put a gap between the current statistics and lower the number of men and women who have these haunting stories of child sexual abuse.

It also reminds me that there is hope in God, and that although we have been through trials and tribulation our ability to share our testimony will allow us room to recreate ourselves, and prepare for destiny. Everything that we do in life, is a portion of what is to come of our calling, and if we can be the sacrifice to prevents others from having this same story, then waking up each morning is absolutely worth it.

As I pen often, the church is not doing enough to address mental illness, and sobriety. I believe that we must start at the root, and many churches say this, but then they don’t actually do it. With staggering numbers of foster children sexually abused, eighty percent of narcotics and substance abusers who are victims of child sexual abuse and a high percentage of those suffering from mental illness having experienced sexual abuse as a child, the church must wake up, and reformat ministries to address problems that began as traumatic injury from our childhood.

We also must employ biblical principles to ensure that we are not allowing sexual predators, and emotionally abusive parents and parishioners to walk among us without requiring accountability. Thank you Marko Hamlin for allowing me to pen your story, and for opening your mouth, your heart and your spirit to set other free. The best is truly yet to come.

You May Also Like: How Emmy-Award Winning Johnnetta McSwain Broke The Curse

– Ressurrection Graves, 

Author and Speaker

Child Sexual Abuse Advocate

Relationship Mentor



About Ressurrection

Ressurrection Graves is a Child Sexual Abuse Grooming Expert and H.E.A.L.E.R. (Healer, Educator, Activist, Life Skills Expert, Empowerment Speaker, Relationship Mentor) Her website reaches readership in 188 countries. She is available for national speaking engagements, radio and television interviews. She can be reached at: 202.717.7377 or send your request to: ressurrection dot wordpress at yahoo dot com or comment on
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56 Responses to Marko Hamlin: One Man’s Story Of Overcoming Child Sexual Abuse and Depression

  1. Thank you for this re-telling…and thanks, too, to Marko. It seems to be much more difficult for men to speak up around sexual abuse, often even to remember it. May he receive many blessings for all that he bestows with the gift of his story.

    • Thank you so much for reading Victoria! Yes it is a powerful story of identifying the root cause of our actions and then taking steps to heal. I love his story myself, and feel honored to write it.

  2. Marko says:

    Thank you for allowing me to share my story, it was very difficult for me to do so but God will be glorified and his people will be healed in the name of Jesus! Keep writing Ress, and keep letting God use you. You started something here sis, and know that your labor is not done in vain! Love ya!

    • Marko, Your story is going viral. I haven’t even sent it out today yet and the website views are amazing. I feel so proud of this piece because of the conversations that we had leading up to it. You are incredibly brave and I personally ask for the angels to hearken to your voice and bless you in a way that your mind can not fathom. Peace. Res

  3. Daniel Muir says:

    This was so powerful on so many levels, but what really struck me is how a man can go through di much but God is able to take all of it and turn it good for his purpose. This story needs to be shared with the world!!!
    Bless you Marko and we all live your courage and bravery. Love you brother

    • Daniel, his story is very powerful and I believe it is divine to have the opportunity to share it so that others can heal. Thank you for reading. The best way to support him with sharing it, is to feel free to “Share It” on your Social Network profiles. Bless you, Res

    • Marko Hamlin says:

      To God be the glory bro, his strength is made perfect in our weaknesses! God bless you Daniel!

  4. I thank God that you have the courage to tell you story because I know it will help others heal. And I am glad that you shared a sumary of your experience with my readers in the Spring 2012 issue of Press On! Webzine, Greater things and more exposure for you and your story are coming. Get ready! Sometimes it won’t be easy but God will give you the strength that you need.

    • Not everyone is called to tell their story on a platform. For those of us who are, this is a walk in boldness; a walk that requires tough skin and tunnel vision. So proud of Marko!

      • Flores says:


        May the Lord continue to bless you Marko. And to use you for the expansion of His Kingdom. We are all wounded spiritually in some way, shape, or form. However it is only by Christ’s wounds that our wounds, spiritual, phsycological and emotional, can be healed once and for all.

        In the Lamb,

        • By his stripes we ARE healed. The interesting thing that I shared with another Christian on my Facebook page yesterday is that not everyone has the information that we have about Jesus being a healer. Not everyone has an understanding that healing is possible and quite frankly not everyone believes what we believe. For some Christians, quoting scriptures is enough to dismiss what has really happened. What I want Christians to know is that their is nothing wrong with the process. Jesus healed in more than one way. Many times is was miraculous, but there were many times that healing manifested through a process. We want a Genie God and sometimes that may not happen. We have to know how to identify that healing from sexual abuse is necessary. We have to identify what healing is, and how to develop faith to see the manifestation. I appreciate your comment. I am just sharing for others to see on this page as well. I will write a post to the Christian Community about this soon. Thank you again. Peace, Ressurrection

  5. elaine green says:

    I love u BFF! From a distanct it has been, of all people u’re truely an inspiration in my life. Thank you for sharin,g your story. Blessing to you and the family.

  6. Marko says:

    Thank you all for your words of encouragement, I want you to share this website with all of your friends, Ressurrection is dedicated to bringing awareness to sexual abuse. She spends countless hours on her site and even goes to speak to children in schools, she does this to educate others and she also has written a memoir of her life! She to is an overcommer of abuse! Help her bring awareness to child abuse, because many people deal with this form of trauma! Someone you know has been sexually abused in some form! Please share so we can put a stop to this and we can protect our children!

  7. Sharon says:

    This was an inspiring story. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month! This story should inspire all of us to play a part in preventing child abuse (physical, sexual and emotional). Our children are traumatized very young and it stays with them unless they have caring people and the love God to help them overcome it. Let’s promote emotional well-being of our children.

    • Thank you so much for your comment. All this month I am featuring stories of people who have overcome abuse. They are all dynamic and powerful and should be shared with the world. I truly believe that we will make a difference.

  8. Cherry says:

    To God be the glory for the great things he has done and will continue to do…I am truly thankful and grateful to God for allowing my husband to overcome being physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. You sharing your testimony will bring healing to others who do not have the voice to speak! Continue to let God use you, I love you Marko Hamlin!

    Your Wife,
    Cherry Hamlin

    • Awww and we must thank you for loving Marko. It truly is the love that manifests what it necessary for us all to believe; to succeed in anything that we put our energy to. Thank you for supporting him so that he can be who God has called him to be.

    • Marko Hamlin says:

      Thank you wifey, you have been there through the thick and thin and I thank God for placing you in my life back in 2003! You’re my rib girl lol (insider) and I’m sorry for 2004 lol!

  9. Diana Harrison says:

    Praise be to GOD that he brought you through this, to be able to help other that have indured this, to give other strenght to talk about this, to beable to live through this. Marko my brother, son, friend thank you so much….know that GOD was with you through all this and he has never left you nor forsaken you.

  10. Sheryl White-Riley says:

    Marko! I am proud of you Man of God! Whew! What a story…what a testimony…what a life saving/healing message your life is! You truly are more than a conqueror, and SOMEBODY…SOMEBODY…needed to hear this story! I thank God for your obedience, and the men who will read this and acknowledge any burried hurt, pain or shame. May they realize what the devil intends to scar with God makes whole and Beautiful! Love you Man of God!! This is just powerful and i’m rejoicing for you, because someone out there was waiting on this…waiting on YOU!!! Glorrrryyyy!!!!! ~ Sheryl White-Riley ~

  11. Natalia Spinner says:

    Marko Hamlin a childhood friend and close neighbor for years and I would never have guessed in a million years that you were a victim of such a heinous crime as such. My heart goes out to you for the pain you endured during what had to be the most horrific chapter of your life. So thankful that inspite of the trials you didn’t give up on God…..He shows up and he shows out. Not glorifying that you experienced this but God knew you would be a blessing to someone else going through who is not brave enough to speak out. I’m in tears literally because how could something so close to home a person you played with everyday who I assumed had a normal proper safe upbringing just like my own was ok just because it seemed so. If I could turn back the hands of time I would have asked my mom to take you in no doubt you were like a brother anyway.. I’m so sorry but your story has blessed me in a way that I can’t describe. Keep striving Marky Mark and bless your wife and child……you all ill forever be in my prayers…God Bless.

    • This is exactly why I have run this campaign. I’m sure that my next door neighbors did not know either. We have to speak out to prevent abuse with our children. It takes more than the perceived notion of being careful. Just as we have CPR training, I have created ways that we can safeguard our children from sexual abuse with conscious efforts. This is a very important topic. Thank you for commenting. Blessings, Res

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  13. Shanika says:

    Marko’s story has shown that it is definitely true that you never know what’s going on behind closed doors. Marko, God is using you and your story to give hope and encouragement to those who have been or currently are in an abusive situation. I am thankful that you found the Lord and know that by His stripes you are healed. I am proud of your strength and boldness to speak out and let God use you. Continue to do God’s Will and walk in the path that He has set for you and your family.

    • Marko Hamlin says:

      Thank you for being there for me at one of my lowest points, I remember having many counseling sessions in your office! I am forever grateful to you for being there for me in my time of need!

  14. serlith says:

    Along with the church. The black community must start openly talking about these abuses and mental illness. These topics are just scant whispers within the home and whispered rumors among others. But it needs to be exposed in order to start healing those afflicted by it. Many don’t receive neccessary treatment because no one wants to admit, accept and fix it. Congrats on your healing, I am still enduring those scars in my life.

    • I have written several blogs about this. Thank you for openly stating that churches need to acknowledge that healing must take place. Sometimes Jesus doesn’t want to be a Genie, or at least treated like one, and our faith may be tested in various areas. There are people in church bible toting with mental illness reports from the doctor and it will not go away with a pulpit benediction alone. Healing can often be a process.

      • Marko says:

        This is so true, people have the misconception that you get saved, you worship God and you are healed instantly! I’ve been to many churches, and left broken went home and felt empty! I even had people ask me how could I be depressed and saved! It is rough, and the church as a whole needs to support those suffering from mental illness! Thank you for commenting, and please know that you are not in this alone. I heal everyday and although I am following Christ I still battle with depression! I’m not afraid to admit it either, we have to address these issues, and Ressurrection really helped me come forward to bring awareness to the seriousness of sexual abuse! Healing doesn’t happen over night, it is a process!

  15. Raynette Jackson says:

    What a testimony! Praise God for his Grace and Mercy. I had the lovely pleasure of texting,facebooking and phone conversation with Mr. Marko Hamlin and I must say what a remarkable human being. Marko is always willing and ready to Pray and send an encouraging word to feed your spirit wheb in need. I Thank God our paths has crossed and he will forever be my brother from another mother is how I always address hin.

  16. Qamaria says:

    I’m so very proud of you for being strong enough to make it ! I congratulate you for you courage to share your story !

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  18. Jessica says:

    Hello Ressurrection and Marko,

    I’d first like to thank you both for sharing such an inspirational story. I cannot imagine the strength and courage it took to share, but I’m so thankful you did. Marko’s message is incredibly inspirational and healing.
    Which is why I’d like to ask permission from you both to take your story and use it for a school project I am working on. See, I am doing a project where I am collecting stories of inspirational individuals overcoming their inner battles and traumatizing pasts and becoming the inspirational individuals they are now. I am putting them together into a scrapbook which I will hand into my teacher in a few weeks. Searching through many stories, this touched my heart the most. I’d greatly appreciate if you’d let me take your story, and recreate it into my project. Of course, I will cite all the information as needed. Thank you for your consideration.
    – Jessica

    • First, I am so thankful that you chose to use Marko’s story. I feel empowered to keep writing and I know that he will feel empowered to keep sharing. As for me, I would ask that you print out the story from the website to make sure that you have a copy of the original with your presentation for your teacher’s review. You’re more than welcome to quote anything under fifty words and cite the story. I’d love for you to email me more details, it sounds like an awesome project. Before I say “YES”, I want Marko’s input. Blessings to you! Ressurrection

      • Marko says:

        I’m glad that you were inspired Jessica, I don’t mind you using my story as long as you give credit to the Author of this remarkable piece Ressurrection Graves! God bless you!

      • Jessica says:

        Thank you both so kindly. I have printed out the story and will include in with my project, just as you have requested. I will also gladly email you details of my project. Thank you both once again, firstly for sharing it, and secondly for allowing me to share it.

  19. James Simms says:

    Wow! MARKO! This is definitely a story that needs to be told!! It does take major courage to speak on such an important and serious issue! I will spread the word! God bless you brother! You will inspire and help give a voice to those who are affraid to speak! Thank you again!

  20. Daniel Mann says:

    Thanks for the wonderful testimony. May He continue that wonderful work He has begun in you (Phil. 1:6)

  21. Marko, This is a powerful story. I Love You My Friend & You Continue To Prosper!!! 🙂

  22. Thank you for sharing this. I think we are often sensitive to the fact this type of thing happens to women, but we forget that men also suffer from abuse. I am grateful that I ran across this article. Thank you to both Marko and Ressurrection for giving God the glory. God restores!

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  29. Sandy says:

    Wow-thank you sir!! I’m im awe of the man you’ve become today. God uses the things that hurt us, to help others…IF we allow Him. Thank you for doing just that. I’m honored to know you.

  30. Marko thank you so much for sharing your story. It takes a strong man like you to make a difference for the better. People are afraid to speak out, but it’s best especially for the healing process. It hurt more holding it in. Stress kills and it’s important to get help and let the truth out. Thanks again I’m proud of you please keep up the good work #TDHHC 📚

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