BETTENDORF, Iowa – William Kellibrew is bringing a new voice to a serious problem. After his own sexual assault experience when he was six years-old, he was asked to be the first male keynote speaker at the annual Rise Up Against Sexual Assault Luncheon.
Kellibrew was sexually abused by his mom’s friend and a neighbor.
“At ten and at six when I was sexually assaulted, I didn’t understand what coping was about. I didn’t understand what happened after you were assaulted,” says Kellibrew. “When I was victimized I didn’t understand where I was to go from there.”
And he didn’t know how to build himself back up. He would eventually confide in his grandmother, who helped him get therapy.
“Males are going through a high prevalence of sexual abuse, and what’s challenging is we don’t always have the space to be talking about that,” Kellibrew comments.
But that’s what he’s doing now - opening and encouraging others to do the same.
“Winning means healing every single day. And the healing hasn’t ended for me, sometimes those feelings come back,” says Kellibrew.
He’s not the only victim, but he’s giving a voice to those who’ve felt silenced.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18.