For a long time I was afraid to be vulnerable—I didn't want others to see my weaknesses. If they saw me for who I truly was, they'd surely despise me.
But one day, a group of church leaders held an open discussion on sexual abuse. A recently retired professor from a seminary talked about sexual abuse and defined it exclusively as males penetrating females. Penetration was his primary word, which he used several times. When someone asked him about males being molested, he refused to admit that possibility.
Finally, one man stood and said, "Sir, maybe men can't be molested, but boys can. And they are molested! And your ignorance and closed-mindedness only perpetuates the myth."
Spontaneous clapping broke out before the man added, "I was six years old when I was molested—by my aunt—so don't tell me males can't be abused, and I refuse to submit to your macho BS."
More applause broke out. The old professor stared stonily ahead and didn't say another word.
That courageous man who spoke up did so much for me. I had only been dealing with my abuse a short time before that meeting. It must have taken great courage for him to speak up, especially to refute an authority figure.
He isn't weak, I thought. He's strong. It takes deep, inner strength to do what he did.
Over the next few days, I pondered that event and realized something: It takes the greatest amount of bravery to be transparent. It took a man of immeasurable strength to stand defenseless in front of others and expose himself.
From that time on, I wanted to be like that strong man.