From drugs and gang violence to becoming the country's leading male sexual abuse survivor advocate.
Christchurch man Ken Clearwater has been involved in Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse New Zealand for more than two decades.
It was after he sought help to deal with his terrifying secret - that he had been raped at the age of 12.
He said men take between 23 and 30 years to speak about childhood sexual abuse.
"I was 38 before I disclosed and that happened when I ended up at psych emergency after threatening to kill a person over a game of pool."
He said those who are abused as children are more likely to commit family violence later on in life.
"Turned to violence, gangs, alcohol, drugs and realised that I was trying to be tough and staunch instead of dealing with what happened to me."
Clearwater has organised a Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Conference, beginning next week in Christchurch.
Former FBI profiler and writer for the hit show Criminal Minds Jim Clemente will be speaking at the conference.
He said kids are at less risk of sexual abuse today than they were 50 years ago and increased dialogue is helping to stop the behaviour.
"The more dialogue we have the more it is part of our everyday conversation I think the risk is going to be reduced and the more people are going to call out bad behaviour."
He said if children know the risk they can help keep themselves safe.
"We try to keep our children naive and innocent and what that does is it makes them better victims."
He said the vast majority of kids are molested by someone they know, love and trust, and has this advice for victims.
"One you're not alone, two it is a serious situation that you can end, that you can actually stop if you tell the right people."
Clemente was a child victim of sexual abuse and worked with the FBI to catch his abuser.
How to get help
If you're in danger now:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay.
Where to go for help or more information:
• NZ Police
• The Harbour, for those affected by harmful sexual behaviour
• Help Auckland 24/7 helpline 09 623 1700
• Rape Prevention Education
• Wellington Help 24/7 crisisline 04 801 6655, push 0
• Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz