How and why it can take decades to speak up about sexual abuse.

11/12/2017 09:33 pm ET

The news has been flooded lately with survivors of sexual abuse or assault speaking up. Some survivors have been silent for 50 years or more. Many people question their story because the survivors have been quiet for so long.

I am here to share how it took me 46 years to get the courage and strength to speak up.

It seemed to the outside world that my life was great and I had nothing to complain about. I have a loving family. I run a successful business. I sit on different non-profit and for-profit boards of directors.

For decades, I hid the secret about being sexually abused by a male babysitter when I was between the ages of 9 and 10 years old. In previous posts on, I share the entire story and journey of healing.

In 1992, I told my wife Karla what happened to me. Shortly after that, I started having horrible panic attacks. Eventually I had a complete nervous breakdown. After much counseling, I discovered I suffer with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Even with all that going on starting in 1992, no one knew why or how psychologically and physically damaged I was. Only a few people knew the truth.

I was too ashamed, embarrassed and broken to say these words: “I was sexually abused by a male babysitter.”

As a heterosexual male, I couldn’t figure out how could I ever speak up. I thought people would run from me; that they would stop doing business with me, because they would think I was crazy. I believed all of the other misconceptions people have about sexual abuse survivors. So I continued to stay quiet and in public act like it never happened.

Finally in 2012, after much prayer and discussions with my wife and others, I began to believe that I could I do something to help others heal, and stop some of the silent suffering of other survivors. I also wanted other survivors to know that with proper counseling healing was possible.

God blessed me with the courage, strength and a way to speak up. I started I began speaking at child advocacy centers. Finally, I wrote a book called “FIGHTING THROUGH THE FEAR-My Journey of Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse.”

One of my motivations for speaking up was the guilt I felt by never saying anything. I questioned whether my silence allowed a predator to hurt other kids. For decades, I thought I was weak because I didn’t fight the predator off. Remaining silent for so long caused me much anxiety.

I will always will live with the mental pain that comes with being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, but I decided the predator who changed my life forever would not control me forever or steal my joy.

It CAN take decades to finally speak up. Many survivors will NEVER speak up. That is OK, too. For some survivors, it is just too hard; we should all understand that. Even if they never speak up, they should all know that they are not alone. We survivors are strong and healing is possible.

The next time someone questions how could a survivor take decades to speak up, remember my story. I am a survivor who took 46 long years to say the words publicly. It would have been much easier for me to heal and never have spoken up, but God had another plan for me.

God’s plan is for me to help other survivors suffering in silence, to show that healing is possible and we can do some incredible things with our lives, despite our pasts.

Remember to FIGHT THROUGH THE FEAR. I use this saying daily: “Life wasn’t promised to be easy, but sure is fun when you don’t give up”

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