By: Amanda Guarragi
Everyone leads a different life and can overcome many obstacles. Even though something can be a shared experience, the majority of the time it’s how the individual processes the situation. In regards to sexual abuse, everyone has their own story, but it takes one person to form a unity between others who have faced the same thing. In A Peloton of One, Dave Ohlmuller began his journey as a peloton of one. A “peloton” is a cycling term that means a group of riders. The title is very strong considering the subject matter; like many sexual abuse victims, he believed he was alone in his despair.
We see in this documentary that Ohlmuller was dedicated to helping the millions of Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse in this country and across the globe. He wanted to raise awareness for survivors and to shed light on the statute of limitations. He went on a solo bicycle ride from Chicago to New York to inspire other Survivors to come forward and tell their own stories. Along the way, more and more survivors join him in telling their stories. The one 700-mile ride shows the perseverance of survivors and how they have all fought for others in their own way. Ohlmuller connects his journey to so many others who have been abused within the Catholic Church over the years.
It is a fairly generic documentary, but the stories from each individual, even the members of the clergy, open up many different perspectives. It’s heartbreaking to hear all of these stories and the aftermath of each journey. One individual had taken his own life, which in turn left an empty hole in the heart of his parents, and they have kept fighting for their son. The statute of limitations has a very limited range in years varying from state-to-state making it almost impossible for children of sexual abuse to not get any justice whatsoever for their trauma. Even though the direction doesn’t do anything new in the documentary format, the subject is important enough for everyone to watch.
A Peloton of One is a heartbreaking look at the way children who have been sexually abused become individuals plagued with memories of their difficult past. In a way, this journey is meant to heal Ohlmuller, but also to assist others in expressing their truth and educate viewers on the American judicial system. There have been many stories about the Catholic Church and the stigma around sexual abuse, especially in Boston. Children do not know or understand how to process anything until later on in life, and it does affect their relationships in the future. There needs to be a way to help these young children though whatever situations they might face without leaving any form of trauma.