On Tuesday, former "America's Next Top Model" judge and photographer Nigel Barker bravely revealed that he was sexually assaulted as a child on his SiriusXM show, "Gentleman's Code."
In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Barker opened up about his own sexual assault to increase visibility surrounding an issue affecting hundreds of thousands of people annually and to address how it impacts men in particular.
When he was just 8 years old, a 40-something man approached a young Barker about directions and forced him into a building to attack him.
"I went up to the door and read the names on the buzzers … I went to push it, and he pushed me from behind, jolted me through the doors and I fell to my feet inside the door," Barker recounted. "The door closed and I'm now trapped between a stairwell inside and a shut door. I have a man who is much bigger than me, push me to the ground, grab me, pull my trousers and my pants down. I'm now exposed, and I'm screaming and thrashing."
Luckily, Barker managed to escape the predator's advances, running away to safety. But he didn't tell anybody about the incident until three years later, when his sister opened up about a similar assault, because he felt deeply ashamed.
“I didn't tell my parents. I didn't tell my brothers. I told no one,” he said. “I was scared. I was worried. I thought I had done the wrong thing. I thought I had done the bad thing. It was something that stuck with me for a very long time."
"There's so much stigma and so much discrimination when it comes to sexual assault, he added. "Get out there. Talk about it. And don't be afraid,” he continued. “Empower our children and our kids to do just that.”