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Will Fine case prompt other victims to come forward?

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Albany/HV: Will Fine case prompt other victims to come forward?
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With three men coming forward accusing Bernie Fine of sexual abuse, victim advocates say it may prompt others not associated with the case to come forward with their own stories of abuse. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with the people who take those calls about the challenge of reporting abuse.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Overcoming the fear of admitting you've been abused is hard for most people, but can be even harder for male victims.

"Because they have the socialization that they're supposed to be strong, supposed to be tough, supposed to be hard. It becomes a challenge for them whenever they're victimized," said Vera House Men’s Outreach Coordinator Chauncey Brown.

In the past 10 days, three men have come forward accusing the now former SU associate basketball coach Bernie Fine of sexual abuse. The Vera House Executive Director says these developments could prompt others, even those outside of this case, to come forward.

Vera House Executive Director Randi Bregman said, "The more people hear these stories and realize the truth behind them, the more comfortable they are sharing their story. But when they hear either publicly or privately that people don't believe them, blame them, doubt them, of course that keeps people from coming forward."

Bregman says since this broke, Vera House has had some calls, but not an influx. Things could change she says based on how this story continues to unfold.

In order for others to feel like they can come forward there needs to be a "safe" environment, Bregman says that environment begins at home and parents should have a conversation, albeit difficult, about abuse.

"Everybody's comfortable teaching kids, if a stranger approaches you, here's all the things you should know and do. Stranger danger,” Bregman said. “But we have to get comfortable having conversations about the people that children know and trust sometimes aren't trustworthy."

Brown says more men, who he calls bystanders, need to come forward and report any abuse they observe.

"A lot of times you'll think well, 'someone else is handling it, someone else is seeing it,' but if everybody thinks that way nothing ever gets done," said Brown.

The Vera House says one in three girls and one in six boys are abused. They have a 24 hour crisis and abuse line if anyone has questions or concerns that number is (315) 468-3260.

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