" .. Margaret Hoelzer .. the swimmer who won three medals at the Beijing Olympics is ready to share her story and work to make sure what she says happened to her doesn't happen to other kids .. "Some days I feel great about it, and I'm completely at peace with it, completely calm and ready to do this. Then, there are other days where I'm like, 'Oh my God, do I really want to do this?’ ..
Hoelzer, in counseling for more than a year after telling her parents of being abused, decided it was time to return to therapy. During the process, Hoelzer dredged up all sorts of uncomfortable feelings and memories. But she also began to gain a better understanding of herself. "I was looking for a sense of peace within myself, and I was looking for a sense of confidence," Hoelzer said. "Since I've been back in counseling, the biggest thing I've learned is that what (sexual abuse) does. It undermines people's value. It undermines their self-confidence ..
Chris Witty, a Winter Olympic gold medalist in speedskating, .. too, was a victim of childhood abuse, violated by a trusted neighbor from the age of 4 to 11. She, too, hid her secret for years. Finally, after extensive therapy and a triumphant performance at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, Witty turned to the media to get her story out. Once she went public, Witty was overwhelmed by the reaction. She was bombarded with letters and e-mails, all of them praising her for taking such a bold step. Total strangers came up to reveal their own cases of abuse. Most poignantly, a friend, emboldened by Witty's courage, came forward to reveal being molested. "As soon as I heard that, I knew it was mission accomplished," said Witty, who now lives in the Netherlands. "I don't think I would have had closure about my abuse issue unless I could tell people about it .. “
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