Sexual abuse survivor talks about why accusers wait sometimes years to make allegations public

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Hollywood elite and politicians have prompted more women to speak out. Some are sharing stories that are decades old. When that happens, some people are moved to ask why now?

"For me, speaking out about it has been a huge part of my process," Ashley Bayley, a sex abuse survivor said.

Ashley Bayley, now in her 30s, says she was sexually abused by her father when she was a baby. She says it lasted until her teenage years. She also experienced it as an adult.

"I've also been in an abusive relationship with a man. He was physically, sexually, mentally in every way abusive and then also have experienced like a one-time assault situation," Bayley said.

It wasn't until she was in college when she first came forward about the abuse.

She says the fear of not being believed is just one of the reasons some victims don't come forward. She says it can also take years for them to come to grips with what happened to them.

"People fear the shame being turned on them. Unfortunately, that is the way it goes a lot of the time. The victim comes forward and then is picked apart not believed. Made to feel shame. And they've already been traumatized obviously by what happened," Bayley said.

Bayley feels the sexual assault allegations against Hollywood elite and in Alabama with sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore are allowing those with similar stories to speak up.

"Once someone is brave enough to step out there and share their story, it spurs them on and they think ok well maybe I'm safe to do the same thing. You shouldn't feel any pressure to do that if you are not ready. But it's also a powerful thing to see the truth coming out of the darkness and into the light," Bayley added.

Bayley is in the process of writing a book about what she experienced. She hopes her story will help others who are dealing with similar issues.

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