"Have you told anyone?" I asked the twenty-year-old man.
He shook his head. "Only you." He went on to say, "They wouldn't understand." He referred to his family.
"How do you know?"
He shrugged. "It wouldn't do any good. They won't believe me."
Our conversation went on for a full minute before he admitted he was afraid to tell his family. I pleaded with him to speak up—but only when he was ready. "We have a term called 'the conspiracy of silence,' which means that no one in the family talks about it. No one admits the horrible, shameful acts. The suffering continues."
"It was no big deal for you, but to me—"
"It took me seven years to speak up," I said.
"That's right. And the longer we wait to tell anyone, the easier it is to pretend it didn't happen. Or to convince ourselves that it's not important."
My response surprised him because I talk openly and easily about the issue of male sexual abuse. I keep talking about it to help others—and to help Cec—get to the other side, which is freedom. Deliverance. Total victory.
I'm still on the road to healing. "Even so," I told him, "shattering the conspiracy of silence was one of the biggest, most positive steps I ever took."