Laveranues Coles on the burden of being abused

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Laveranues says the shame he carried from his abuse affected every aspect of his life. From the time it began, Laveranues says he became withdrawn, distrustful, and isolated. "If I had a problem, I dealt with it internally," he says. "I was in my own little world for a long time."

Laveranues believes his inability to trust others affected his relationships with women especially. "It makes it very hard for me to trust women," he says. "I think it has a lot to do with why I'm probably not married today because the way I felt about myself…not knowing how a woman would take having a man that this has happened to."

Although he was afraid to go public with his secret, Laveranues felt compelled to share his story so he could help other children suffering in silence. "Here I am, a professional athlete, with the opportunity to say something and maybe reach one child that this is happening to, and give him the courage and the strength to come out and say 'this is happening to me and this is wrong.'"