Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
The topic is taboo, surrounded by stigma and shame. People don't often talk about childhood sexual abuse, a silent and devastating epidemic, but a staggering number of men live with the lasting effects every day.
According to reports, one in every six men was molested as a child. For the first time in television history, 200 male sexual abuse survivors stand together to lift the veil of shame. Each man holds a childhood photo of himself at the age when he says the abuse first began.
Actor, writer, director and producer Tyler Perry knows exactly what these men have gone through. Tyler says he was sexually abused by multiple perpetrators when he was a child. The abuse began when he was just 5 years old.
Tyler says it feels like a weight has been lifted since he first spoke out about his painful past on The Oprah Show. "I'm hoping that in talking about it, that it's helping a lot of other men to be free, because there are so many of us who don't say anything," Tyler says. "The pressure lifts every time you talk, every time you are able to help someone else."
Oprah shares the same hope for survivors who suffer in silence. "We prayed before coming out here that those of you who are watching who have never told anybody, that you will be able to at least speak the words," she says. "Because in speaking the words, you release the shame."