Bo Rinehart, founding member of NeedtoBreathe, shares story of childhood sexual abuse, encourages counseling

Posted at 9:19 AM, Sep 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-17 10:19:11-04

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — A band scored multiple No. 1 albums on the Christian charts, won Dove Awards, and toured with huge names like Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw. Then, one of the founding members took an entire two years away from writing music. He's marking his return by addressing a very serious subject and sharing his own story.

"At a really early age, I just wanted to create," said musician Bo Rinehart, sharing an art studio full of sketches, drawings, and paintings. "The floor is just a complete mess. I just kinda hash out ideas in here."

Rinehart tells stories through pencils, paints, and guitars. He was a founding member of Grammy-nominated rock band NeedToBreathe. Rinehart left the band in 2020.

"Just wanted to focus on my story and what I wanted to say," he said.

The man who tells stories in so many ways had one story that was hard to tell, one that goes back to his childhood.

"It's a very taboo thing to talk about," Rinehart said. "I'm a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and it started when I was six. Some elements of my story are for me to know. When I was 6-years-old, I went into protection mode. I had developed an ability to black things out and try to escape it however I could. Medicating through alcohol or other addictions was the result of childhood sexual abuse."

"What we know is that one in 10 children are going to be sexually abused by the time they're 18-years-old," said Brent Hutchinson, executive director of Davis House Child Advocacy Center. "We know most of the abusers of those kids are people they know. Around 90% of people who abuse children are trusted by that child. We offer counseling services that are trauma focused for children who experience significant trauma. We do that every day."

As an adult, Rinehart has gone through counseling with the Onsite Foundation. He says it was life-changing.

"The sooner people do that, the better the trajectory of their life's gonna go," Rinehart said.

The Button Ball is the year's biggest fundraiser for Davis House. Rinehart prepared Saturday night in the green room to perform at the event, his first performance of his first song as a solo artist.

"The song is about my 6-year-old self talking to me, having a conversation with me as an adult now," he said. "We're going to have to face this thing no matter what. This is my story."

The single, "I'm Right Here," is being released under the artist name CoyRoy. He's also doing work as a spokesperson for Davis House.

Written on the wall of Rinehart's art studio is this: Our darkness doesn't define us, but we cannot be defined without it.

"This thing that happened that I can't change doesn't have to be the end of the story," Rinehart said. "There's hope, and there's a better future. Hopefully, we can bring attention to it so it happens a lot less and we can make a difference."