Why did I suddenly open up about my sexual assault at age 51? (And I've since learned that many men don't deal with their rapes until they're in their late 30s to early 50s.) I fit that pattern.
Perhaps it's because we reach a level of maturity that we no longer have to be afraid; maybe we're tired of being tortured with flashbacks and recurring dreams.
Early in my healing journey, I heard others speak about feeling safe. That's probably the best answer for me: I felt safe enough to open up to my wife and my best friend. Because they were safe—and expressed their loving support—that gave me the courage to speak out to others.
No matter when we open up and no matter how painful, it seems to be because of one of two reasons: We feel safe or we can't take the pain any longer. Or perhaps it's a combination.
And those of us who have taken the step of telling others are the ones who truly find acceptance, understanding, and love.