BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Tom Travers was 9 years-old when he was raped by a priest. It would lead to a life long struggle.
"The trauma affected my ability to think, it affected my ability to process emotions, it affected my ability to interact with society in a healthy way" Travers said.
That inability to interact socially is something that many victims of childhood sexual assault deal with. According to clinical social worker Cassandra Merrill, there is actually a chance in the brain that occurs in children who deal with sexual assault.
"In a brain that doesn't have trauma it can recognize what real danger is and what annoying stress is. When you have trauma things can seem all dangerous" Merrill said.
For Travers, it has been over 40 years since he was assaulted. He now uses his experience to help others realize they can overcome being a victim, and retake their life.
"Pick up the phone. Find a way to talk to someone who experienced the same thing and begin the process of bringing balance to yourself."
Travers runs an organization called Williams Place, which is one of many places sexual assault victims can go to in order to seek a helping hand.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted here are some places to contact: