Margaret hoelzer is a champion... she's an olympic medalist and former world record-holder in competitive swimming.
Margaret hoelzer :06:21:19 i went pro right after college.
My first olympics was in 2004 in athens greece.
My second one, was in beijing in 2008 and i was 25.
After the 2008 olympic games, hoelzer says she was ready to go public with a painful secret she had been keeping for years... she was sexually abused as a child.
The abuse began when she was five years old.
Margaret hoelzer: 00:26:08:03- most child abuse unfortunately, is perpetrated by someone the child knows and trusts.
This one was no different.
This was a good friend of my family.
A friend of mine, their father.
This was a house i was going to on a regular basis for play dates.
This child was coming over to my house.
This was their dad.
At age 11 hoelzer told her parents what happened and they called police.
While officers opened an investigation... they recommend she get help here...at the national children's advocacy center in huntsville.
Chris newlin is the executive director of the facility.
20:57:03:15 it's really two buckets of services we provide in the intervention side.
One is investigation.
Doing forensic interviews and medical examines.
Where the forensic interviewer tries to find out what happened with the child and what did not happen.
The medical examiner is looking for evidence and also doing a general check to see if they have any other medical issues.
At that point, the child has made their statement and the investigation can peruse.
Newlin told us that every year in madison county, the center conducts about 650 forensic interviews from children regarding allegations of abuse.
At anyone time at the n-c-a-c there are more than 100 children in therapy receiving mental health services.
In hoelzer's case, the offender was never convicted.
00:34:11:15 my case was thrown out of court, so i never did have to testify and that would be where you would have to tell your story again.
Unfortunately, a lot of cases are thrown out of court.
And legal repercussions don't happen.
Me knowing my parents did everything they could do, they tried.
That was enough.
Hoelzer says the program helped her but healing is an ongoing process.
00:52:38:13 so, i've learned that it's never something you get over.
It's an on going process.
It's a journey, not a destination.
Now she travels the country sharing her story...to help others.