"I did it!" He yelled into the phone. "I did it! I got help!"
I met him nearly twenty years ago when I lived in Louisville, Kentucky. I had talked to him about abuse—which I had just begun to deal with. He didn't say anything then, but something about the way he responded made me think he had probably been victimized.
After I moved back to Atlanta, he called me three or four times a year. He admitted he had been abused but insisted it was too hard to ask for help. "I feel weak and ashamed. Men aren't supposed to feel that way."
"Maybe not," I said, "but we do. And we'll stay weak and confused until we get help." He never wanted to talk much but he'd always say, "You're a friend. You give me hope."
He is in therapy and will soon join a group of other survivors of sexual assault.
"Why did I wait so long?" he asked.
The only answer I could give him—and I think it's true—was this: You weren't ready to be healed.