In His Own Words - Male Survivors Speak Out
Age when first abused: 10
"I want the men to know—and even women—that sexual abuse is nothing to be ashamed of. There's no shame in it. The shame is on society that it continues to go on.
"I want men to know, or people in general to know, that you can heal from this. It is possible to get your life back. It is possible to get your soul back. You know, it's possible. There are a lot of guys that are doing well. When I first went to therapy, I thought I was the only one that was ever sexually abused. I couldn't believe when my therapist told me, 'No, Rich, this has happened to other boys and men are struggling with this.' I couldn't believe it—I thought I was the only one. I said, 'How could this happen to another human being?'
"Knowing that there are others out there; it's bittersweet. It helps a little bit. But there's more of a network, and I think this country is going to be able to one day resolve this matter with speaking out and breaking the silence.
"I'm here today to break the silence. I was thinking: 'What can I say? What can I do?' One of the reasons why I think I'm actually here is because I didn't turn that guy in. He was there another 16 years doing it. I wasn't strong enough to stop him.
"But now, I'm going be strong enough to try and end this. That's my role here today: to try and stop childhood sexual abuse. To end it and not worry about those babies who are going to be born two days from now that that's going to happen to them. Or when I'm 70 years old and I'm bouncing my grandchild on my leg that we don't have to watch a program like this. That's what I'm doing now."