Posted 10:24 PM 6/13/2012 : Abuse survivor shares story
TUCSON - With former Penn State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky's trial making national headlines, local child advocacy groups stress the importance of reporting suspected abuse.
A Tucson man, sexually abused as a child shared his story with News4 Tucson's Rebecca Taylor.
Greg D'Anna says he identifies with Sandusky's alleged victims. His abuser was an adult who groomed him for sexual contact.
"Physically, emotionally and sexually abused. It started from my earliest years," says D'Anna who kept it secret for years, "And so I was in my thirties by the time I was able to speak about it."
D'Anna says he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress. "It felt like I was having a mental break down at the time I was finally able to admit that it, to another person. It's something that happened and I never forgot," he said.
"Because that touch felt good to me, is there something wrong with me," describes Kathy Rau with the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center.
Rau says sexual abuse can be conflicting to kids. She says statistically boys report abuse far less than girls.
"And that could be for a lot of reasons, the stigma attached to having the relationships with another male. Some people in society will think what is my family going to think about that," said Rau.
When child sex cases are investigated in Tucson, kids are examined at the center.
Interview rooms are equipped with microphones and cameras. In the event of a high profile case, the County Attorney's office downtown can watch the interview in progress.
D'Anna says a safe environment for kids and adults to disclose abuse is key to begin the healing process.
"Fortunately I found a very talented counselor who helped me," said D'Anna who's now married with two kids.
He joined the center's board of directors.
"You'll never get over it, you'll never get over it. It's something where you're scared for life. But there are ways of coping and it doesn't mean you need to engage in self destructive behaviors," says D'Anna.
Due to an increase in the number of children being removed from their homes, the center is in need of snacks, new clothing, socks, and underwear for kids newborn through 14 years old.
If you'd like to donate, would like more information, or need counceling go to their website.
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