CLEVELAND - Counselors at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center said many sexual abuse victims feel too ashamed to come forward even decades later. But two northeast Ohio men are sharing their stories of surviving sexual abuse, hoping talking publicly will help others who are suffering in private.
Kevin Sweeney first shared his story with ONN's Cristin Severance in September 2010. He was sexually abused by a scout leader between the ages of 8 and 13. The Cleveland man didn't tell anyone until he was in his late 40s.
"When I think of those years between 14 and 47, there was a lot of pain and agony and depression in those years," said Sweeney during the September interview.
After individual therapy and group therapy, he was ready to share who he is, not just what he went through.
"I have a good sense of healthy now. I have a good sense what safe and secure looks and feels like."
Sweeney and another survivor have come forward to encourage others to do the same. They're hoping sexual abuse survivors, and their family members, will come to a free screening of the documentary "Boys and Men Healing."
The movie, sponsored by the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, profiles three survivors and how they overcame childhood sexual abuse.
"That's what they showcase in their movie. This happens and people can recover if they come forward and seek help," said Kirsti Mouncey with the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.
Sweeney will be part of a panel discussion after the film with one other survivor, two counselors and the movie's producer. While Sweeney is nervous, he said just reaching one person will be worth it.
"They are going to find life gets significantly better. It's a difficult journey but one that's really beneficial," said Sweeney.
The documentary will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Cedar Lee Theater in Cleveland Heights. The panel discussion immediately follows the film.
The event is free.