SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The silence nearly killed Tom Jones.
As a child, Jones was raped, abused and sold to men for sex. The brutality ended when he was 15. But, like many male victims, Jones didn’t seek help, didn’t tell anyone about the trauma he had suffered.
Instead, he buried his pain and shame deep inside, carrying the burden alone and in silence for another 15 years.
Silence did not equal acceptance. “I’m lucky, because I shouldn’t be here,” Jones says. “I put a lot of focus and energy into taking my own life.”
Two suicide attempts failed. And Jones says he was preparing for a third attempt when he decided finally to reach out for help.
Even then, years after the exploitation ended, it was difficult for Jones to acknowledge what he had suffered. “I was very ashamed to talk to a therapist who I knew cared about me,” he says.