Mo'Nique, Gabriel Byrne Shine Light on Sex Abuse

Celebrities are shining the spotlight on childhood sexual abuse.

When Mo'Nique gave her Golden Globe acceptance speech on Sunday, she dedicated her award to victims of abuse: "I celebrate this award with all the Preciouses, with all the Marys -- I celebrate this award with every person that's ever been touched. It's now time to tell. And it's OK."

The same night, actor Gabriel Byrne told an Irish television show that he was molested at seminary school at the age of 11.

"I didn't feel I suffered at the time. I just felt it was the way of the world," Byrne said on "The Meaning of Life" on Sunday. "It took many years to come to terms with it and to forgive those incidents that I felt had deeply hurt me."

Video: Actress shines light on sexual abuse at Golden Globes.
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Any story of a child being sexually abused is shocking. With celebrities, there's the additional element of surprise -- along with the question of how were they able to overcome it?

"You see a celebrity, and a lot of them seem to have it all together," writer Antwone Fisher told ABCNews.com. "They look healthy, wealthy and wise, like they've had a charmed life. But most of them have traveled bumpy roads."

The road to the Golden Globe Awards was indeed a bumpy one for Mo'Nique, who claimed in 2008 that she was sexually abused by an older brother when she was just 7 years old.

The comedian told Essence magazine that while growing up in Baltimore, her brother molested her four times over four years, once using candy to lure her into a bathroom.

"Even when I confronted him and told my parents, he said I was lying, and nothing was really done," she said. "My father was very upset, but it never got mentioned again. I'll never forget my mother saying, 'If it's true, it will surface again,' and I remember thinking, 'Why would I lie? Why is there even an "if" in this?' I was angry with them for so long because I felt as if they should have seen what was happening."

When Celebrities Speak Out

Ultimately, she said, she didn't hold her parents responsible, "because me and my brother were both their children, and I just don't know the kind of position they felt they were in."

Mo'Nique has said she was able to use her childhood experience when she accepted the role of a lifetime, playing the abusive mother Mary in the film "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire."

"My brother was a monster to me," she told Essence. "I became my brother" when director Lee Daniels would say, "action."

Her performance earned her kudos, along with the Golden Globe award for best supporting actress.

According to Mo'Nique, her brother went on to serve 15 years in prison for sexually abusing another girl. She said he never made amends to her for the alleged abuse.

Despite her apprehension about going public, Mo'Nique told Essence, "It's my obligation to let people know, and to tell women to watch their children."

When celebrities speak out about their own claims of abuse, they have the power to get people to listen -- and act. Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Teri Hatcher and Cincinnati Bengals' Laveraneus Coles all have shared claims of abuse.

When "One Day at a Time" actress Mackenzie Phillips alleged a decade-long sexual relationship with her father, singer John Phillips, on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) reported a 26 percent jump in its hotline calls and an 83 percent increase in traffic on its Web site.

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