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'Stigma' Gabriel Byrne says shame prevented him speaking about sexual abuse ordeal

The Usual Suspects actor was sexually abused by priests from the age of eight; and has said that he was made to feel like it was his own fault.

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Actor Gabriel Byrne. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Actor Gabriel Byrne. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Actor Gabriel Byrne. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Gabriel Byrne has spoken out about the shame that male victims of sexual assault experience, that he believes, prevents them from speaking up. 

The Usual Suspects actor was sexually abused by priests from the age of eight; and has said that he was made to feel like it was his own fault.

The Dubliner believes that there still exists a stigma surrounding sexual abuse which forces many victims to suffer in silence.

“There is a sense that if you were abused, it was your own fault,” he told the Guardian Newspaper.

"Men are not supposed to talk about their feelings. Men have to be strong and men don't cry.

"For many years, I really thought I was the only one. The freedom it gave me to be able to say: 'Me, too. I was assaulted, too.

"Yet so little action has been taken.

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Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne

"There’s a kind of an unspoken acceptance of the idea that sex against girls is kind of the real assault.

"The violation of women is what you should pay attention to.

"There’s a shame about men speaking out.”

Byrne was speaking about the revelations he made in his new autobiography Walking With Ghosts.

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The candid memoir details his difficult upbringing in Walkinstown, his abuse at the hands of the church and his battle with alcohol.

It also covers his broken marriage to Ellen Barkin and his meteoric rise to the status of Hollywood A Lister.

It also details his love/hate relationship with the west coast of America and when it comes to the recent US Presidential Election, Byrne does not sit on the fence.

“At least it’s the end of that guy but, personally, I can’t stand Biden,” he said.

“ An exceptionalist roaring about America as the moral leader of the world, all this crap.

“You can’t appeal to people in Maine or Wisconsin or Michigan by saying this is a battle for the soul of America. It’s just political garbage.

“Nothing much will change under Biden because his thing is: let’s return America to what it was. Well, what America was caused Trump.”

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