Expert: 'It Takes Courage' To Speak Out About Sexual Abuse

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Sen. Scott Brown is revealing for the first time that he was sexually abused as a child. Brown tells Lesley Stahl, of CBS show "60 Minutes," that he never reported the abuse and that for the past four decades he's kept it secret, even from those closest to him.

"He said, 'if you tell anybody, you know, I'll kill you.' You know? 'I will make sure that no one believes you' — and that's the biggest thing," Brown said.

"My mom will read about it for the first time. My wife, has read about it...No, no one. I haven't told anybody," Brown said. "That's what happens when you're a victim. You're embarrassed, you're hurt."

Brown also said he was repeatedly beaten by a stepfather. The Republican senator talks about these childhood experiences in his new biography, called "Against All Odds."

Psychotherapist Sherry Johnson has treated victims of sexual abuse for more than 40 years. She joined Morning Edition Thursday to give some insight into the toll of child abuse and what prompts someone to speak out.


This program aired on February 17, 2011.

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Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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