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The Root contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas writes at Essence that Vanessa Williams' delay in coming forward with her sexual-abuse story doesn't make it any less important.

While many applauded Williams for coming forward, others were critical, wondering why she waited so long, whether she was telling the truth, or, even more curiously, whether her story was worth telling. “I don’t see why telling what happened is even necessary,” a commenter wrote on one site I visited. “If the abuse never stopped you from being successful then it’s not worth rehashing."

Oh, yes it is. Sexual abuse is a gargantuan issue for African-Americans, one that too often we sweep under the rug. Studies say that one in four women and one in six men have been abused as children in our communities. Over the years, we’ve heard numerous celebrities — from Mary J. Blige to Mo’Nique to Tyler Perry — confess they've been victims of childhood abuse. And though each confession is met with a similar mixture of sympathy and skepticism, there’s also an outpouring of people who found the courage to finally tell their own stories if only because someone they identified with was courageous enough to do the same.

Read Demetria L. Lucas' entire piece at Essence.