INDIO, Calif. - Experts say one in four men will be sexually abused before they're 18 -- and most men will never come forward to talk about that abuse. On Friday, the 10th annual "It Happens to Boys" Conference was hosted at the ABC Recovery Center, offering resources and hope to male victims.
"As women have been able to stand up...more men need to stand up now and have that same courage and strength. And as more do so...we break that silence. We break the isolation. We break the shame," said Jerry Moe, the national director of children's programs for Betty Ford Center.
Several male survivors bravely shared their own stories at the conference, starting the dialogue about abuse.
"I held those secrets and the abuse that my dad had done and those pieces that affected me through my sexual abuse...I held those pieces for a long time. I didn't tell anyone," said Daniel Marquez," a survivor and speaker at the conference.
Like so many survivors of abuse, Marquez kept those secrets for 35 years. At one point, falling into addiction, until he started his recovery in 1999. He now speaks out about his experience in an effort to encourage other men to address any abuse in their pasts.
"I think most men, we don't tell our secrets. You have to 'man up'...you don't share those pieces. You can't be 'emotionally available,'" he said.
Family therapist Carol Teitelbaum is trying to breakdown that stigma. This is her 10th year hosting the "It Happens to Boys" Conference. She also has a free counseling group for male survivors the first and third Tuesdays of every month.
"Every time a new man comes he says the same thing: 'I thought I was the only one that's been going through this," said Teitelbaum.
For more information call her office number at (760) 332-8987.
Noticias en español: Telemundo 15