Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV shared his struggles with sexual abuse through Instagram this past week.
In addition to the bravery he showcased in talking about a very sensitive topic, he got rid of the one thing he had actually been able to control since the fifth grade: his hair.
“The real truth as to why I started doing this early 5th grade, it was a cloaking device for me," Walker wrote in the caption. "During the summer of my 5th-grade year, I was around more family. Some [whose] names will be left alone; I was around more. I was sexually harassed, raped [and] abused. I even got accustomed to it, because being at that age you do not know what is what. I was a gullible, curious kid that did not know what the real world was. I had a mindset that my hair was something that I can control. My hair was what I can make and create and be mine. And it gave [me] confidence."
Walker has been recognized around the league for his unusual hairdo, but nobody knew there was such a significant meaning behind his hair. Walker wanted to show people dealing with struggles of their own that they are not alone, whether it is sexual abuse or something else.
Walker’s mental health took a toll on him during the COVID-19 lockdown when unwanted thoughts came racing back to his mind. He admitted that he forgave everyone that hurt him, even those who did not deserve it, and he is now happier and at peace because of it.
“Me cutting my hair was more than a cut,” he said. “My hair was a mask of me hiding the
insecurities that I felt the world was not ready for. But now better than ever. Out with old. In with the new. I have shed my skin mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.”
Walker sharing his story lifts a weight off his shoulders and hopefully sheds a light on the
important issue of sexual assault. More specifically, males being sexually assaulted is not talked about enough, but it certainly does happen. It does not make them less of a man to be vulnerable about their struggles.