Feel Sorry for Chris Brown Now?

The singer's startling confession about losing his virginity at age 8 deserves sympathy.

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For the record, there are plenty of men and women who come from difficult backgrounds who go on to become law-abiding citizens who ultimately leave the world better than they found it. Oprah Winfrey, Mo'Nique and others have triumphed over childhood sexual abuse to become successful people who also happen to be decent human beings. Chris Brown's past is no excuse for his often-lousy behavior in the present. But it does explain a lot, mainly why he needs so much help.

As I have previously written on The Root, black men are those least likely to seek out mental-health resources. But Brown's story is a powerful reminder that it is often our men who are hurting the most. Here's hoping that Brown's startling confession helps change the way we as a society talk about male survivors of sexual abuse. Here's also hoping that the discussion Brown's confession has sparked inspires him to seek the help he so desperately needs. For the first time in a long time, I can honestly say I'm rooting for him.

Keli Goff is The Root's special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.

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