Freeman, 42, said her cousin cornered her every chance he got, groped her, touched her and forced her to touch him.
"Earlier on, I didn't know it wasn't my fault," she said. "I definitely felt responsible. Most kids do because they don't know any better.
Freeman, wife of a pastor and mother of three, said she never told anyone of her ordeal except her mom when she was 28 only after her counselor "made me." She told her twin sister years later and informed the rest her family within the last year only because she started NLI.
She paid a hefty price for her silence.
"I was an angry child. I was very mean and didn't want anyone to touch me," she explained. "I felt I didn't have any control of my body. I attributed it to the pressure and stress of being a victim."
"When I was 28, it was literally eating me alive. I didn't say anything as a child because my dad would have killed him," said Freeman. "My cousin has a great sense of humor and people like him. Abusers are savvy at wearing masks themselves and casting themselves as a caring, reliable person who has the child's best interests at heart. It's sad. So many people have been through it."
Statistics indicate that about 80,000 sexual abuse cases involving children are reported each year in the U.S., but an untold number go unreported because children are afraid to tell anyone.
"Child victims hardly ever tell," Freeman said. "One in four girls are survivors and one in six boys are abuse survivors too. That's high. The numbers are astronomical. As we go about our business and people are living their lives, children are being molested. It is so secretive and so sensitive that no one talks about it."
When Freeman finally shared what had happened to her with a counselor and with other members of her family, and extracted an apology from her cousin, the relief, she said, was palpable.
"It definitely felt like a load was lifted. It was a weight I'd carried around for so long," she said. "When I finally released my secret, I didn't know there was so much power in a secret. I felt like a new creature once I confided in someone."
As she healed, Freeman said she pondered ways to help make sure that no other child goes through the nightmare she endured. Thus, No Longer Invisible was born.
"No Longer Invisible was born in 2010," she said. "NLI started when (Bishop) Eddie Long was in the news. My husband and I had a conversation and I said I think the reason pastors don't preach about this is because it's invisible. Victims need to become no longer invisible and put it in people's faces."
"I got up and designed a logo and T-shirts."
Despite repeated and strident public denials Long, pastor of Atlanta megachurch, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, paid $15 million to four young men. The settlement in May of this year, ended a lawsuit they filed in which they accused him of sexually and physically abusing them.
As sex abuse scandals have exploded at Penn State University and within the Boston Red Sox organization, Freeman said the pain inflicted on the victims is leavened by the widespread publicity each case has generated. In recent weeks, Penn State and its football team have been roiled after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was indicted by a grand jury, arrested and charged earlier this month with 40 counts of raping or abusing as many as eight young boys.
According to a grand jury, he used a foundation he created, Second Mile, as a pool from which to select his victims and may have been engaged in these activities for at least 15 years.
Legendary Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanier were fired and University Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tom Curley, accused of failure to report suspected child abuse and perjury, were encouraged to vacate their positions. Assistant coach Mike McQueary told the grand jury that he saw Sandusky raping a boy in the Penn State football locker room showers in 2002.
McQueary testified before the grand jury that he reported the alleged incident to Paterno, Schultz and Curley. However, none of them launched an investigation.
The Red Sox story just became public in the last couple of weeks. It has come to light that Red Sox Clubhouse Manager Donald Fitzpatrick systematically raped and sexually abused young black boys for more than 20 years.
Fitzpatrick, now deceased, benefited from a powerful and storied institution which turned a blind eye to his criminal behavior. Although the owners, other officials and possibly some players were aware of what he was doing, he was never confronted and not fired. Fitzpatrick seduced the boys and bribed them with bats, balls, and gloves and used different methods to manipulate the boys into silence. A criminal investigation in Polk County, Fla., led to Fitzpatrick being charged with four counts of attempted sexual battery. He accepted a plea deal in 2002 and was sentenced to a 10-year suspended sentence and 15 years probation. He never served a day in jail.
If Sandusky is found guilty, the circumstances under which he operated would be very similar to what played out in the sordid Red Sox story.
"Penn State has elevated the consciousness of people to this situation," Freeman said. "We can no longer sleepwalk through this problem."
Freeman envisions an organization that educates and informs the public about the facts of child sexual abuse, offers ways to prevent it from occurring and provides the means to heal the broken minds, bodies and spirits of survivors. Although she is based in Miami, Freeman said NLI will be organization with national reach. She said she plans to use every platform available, including churches, schools and other non-profit organizations.
"I plan to coordinate healing retreats in Jamaica, the Virgin Islands and Key West because water has a healing quality. I would also incorporate different exercises and workshops to foster healing. There would be sessions on forgiveness, sessions on healing and I would be bringing in professionals for healing and wholeness," said Freeman. "I want to encompass all the ills in society in this healing modality such as domestic violence which is secretive too and a source of shame and I want to target bullying, as well."
Freeman said she revels in the freedom she has found.
"I am no longer invisible. I believe that God is using my experience as a survivor," said the Miami native. "My mission is to spark dialogue in the public arena. They (abusers) need to know that children are off-limits. No one is saying this to developing, hormone-raging teens. They rob their victims of their innocence."
"This is my life's calling. I have to do this. This is what I do. I am nurturing and building my own organization. I feel so free. I am walking in my mission, walking in my purpose and calling. This haunted me for a long time and this (the foundation) will allow many people to benefit."