Should You Tell You Were Sexually Abused? What Happens When You Tell?

child-sexual-abuse “I was sexually abused, should I tell?”; “Should I tell my mother I was sexually abused?”; “Should you tell your spouse you were sexually abused?”; “What should you do if you were sexually abused and you can’t your mom?”; “How do I know if I’ve been sexually abused?”; “What happens if you tell you were sexually abused?”

These are some of the questions I’ve received from child sexual abuse victims over the last few weeks, from sexually abused children as young as 10 to older victims in their teens, and others that are married and have children of their own. They all wanted to know what they should do, who they can or should tell, if they should tell anyone about being sexually abused, and how to tell a parent they were sexually abused.

Yes, if someone is sexually abusing you or has sexually abused you in the past, you should tell a trustworthy adult about the abuse and as soon as possible. Why should you tell? Because keeping the abuse a secret is what your abuser wants, and you need help from adults to stop the abuse and stop the abuser from molesting or raping anyone else.

Sexual abuse statistics show that child molesters don’t molest just one person and then suddenly stop. No, pedophiles and child molesters continue to sexually abuse victims until they are caught and arrested, and the authorities are able to bring charges against your abuser so he or she can no longer harm anyone else.

As I’ve said before, most sexually abused children don’t tell because they are afraid to tell, were threatened by their abuser or because victims feel guilty, embarrassed and ashamed. It’s important for sexually abused children, teens and even adult victims to know and understand that what has happened to you is not your fault, and the person who has sexually abused you must be stopped from repeating the abuse against you or anyone else.

Unfortunately, some parents don’t react to being told their child has been sexually abused in the right way, which only creates more problems and stress for the victim. Some mothers and fathers choose not to believe their own child’s disclosure of being sexually abused. Some parents have been known to blame the victim for the abuse, going so far as to claim their child “seduced” their abuser, and/or do nothing to stop the continued abuse of their own child.

sexually-abused-children1 If you are being sexually abused or have been abused in the past, ask yourself who you know that will help you. Choose an adult you trust that will help you and then tell that person what has happened to you. That person may be your mother or father, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, the school counselor, teacher, school nurse or even a police officer.

What happens when you tell? The adult you tell is required by law to tell the police or a social worker, because children of all ages have a right to be protected from sexual abuse, and the person who has abused you needs to be stopped. The social worker or police officer will need to ask you some questions about what happened to you, and if you were sexually abused in your own home, the authorities will want to talk to you somewhere else.

Read this excellent, printable, 13-page sexual abuse packet that victims of all ages and parents need to read, save to your computer and/or print off to read. The packet explains who to tell, how to tell, and what will happen when you tell in easy-to-read and easy-to-understand language even kids can understand. Kids, just click on these words —> Sexual Abuse Information Packet so you can read more on how to tell someone you were sexually abused and get the help you need.

Most children who have told about being sexually abused say it’s worth it because “telling freed them of the guilty secret”, and adults who are getting counseling after being sexually abused when they were children say “I only wish I could have told someone when I was a child.”

Should you tell a spouse you were sexually abused? Yes, you should. When you chose your husband or wife, you married him or her with life experiences that shapes who you are today, and the effects of having been sexually abused can take a long time to recover from, if ever.

Trusting your spouse to be there for you through “better or worse” includes those times when sharing painful memories of past experiences and abuse not only brings you closer together, but helps take away some of the negative self-esteem feelings many victims hold onto for many years and a loving, supportive spouse can make all the difference in the world.

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61 Responses to “Should You Tell You Were Sexually Abused? What Happens When You Tell?”

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  1. ANONYMOUS says:

    im 13 i had only one person to tell about what happened to me and it was my couzin because it happened to her too. it started when my father cheated on my mother and we moved away to live beside my uncles house and i was little 6 or so anyway i give my uncle massages because he worked so hard and he pay me then he started to touch and kiss me and i thought it was my fault. and i still kinda feel it is i dont know and im afraid to know if i wanted for it to happen or not i dont want to remember any of it.i feel dirty bad but im getting better at least i think.i didnt tell anyone because he said everybody would be mad at me so does that mean i was sexually abused.he also showed me and my couz some porn videos could i have stopped it?im worried about me and her we see my uncle everyday he acts as it never happened.i cant tell my family because i wont tear it apart no one will ever believe me or be on my side except my couz and my mom .i was so scared that my mom would hate me because it was her brother(my uncle) and she new him since she was little. BUT and thats a big one this website gave me the courage to speak up and she believed me she told me you will never stop knowing how a person truly is even if you grew up with him.now i feel better than i did but not completely you see its my couzin stepfather and she cant tell her mom because i know for a fact that that she will not understand and i think shes scared to be alone im worried that my couzin will suffer but i promised her i will always believe her.my family means so much to me i will not break it unless my couzin agrees to tell the truth with me and my mom understands and loves me so much that she agreed to do what i said but it was hard for her too. i just wish i could do something without harming my family because they mean a lot to me.and they always will.

  2. Niki says:

    I was abused when I had barely started going to school. Thatwhy the memory is bleak, but I know 1 thing for sure. I had been sexually abused though the realisation was very late. It happened thrice or so because after that I started distancing myself from that person or making sure that whenever we met we were not alone.
    I haven’t told anyone about this, not even my parents. I don’t know how to broach this topic with them. It was so long ago that I don’t even remember the name or face. What do I tell my mum, that I had been abused but I don’t remember who did it. What good would do it now ?
    But it’s bad affects still continue. I find it difficult to trust new people & that coupled with the fact that we never stay in the place for more than three years hasn’t got me close friend or confidantes. I’ve become reticient. My parents often scold me for being a sissy, coward or a social oddity for being like this. I get extremely nervous when talking to people, end up stuttering, end up embarassing myself. So, I keep conversations as minimal as possible & avoid socialising.
    I find myself losing out on many things because of this.
    Should I still tell after all these years ?

  3. Nikki says:

    Okay! I’m 14! I feel so depressed! don’t know what to
    do! I feel like there is nobody there… I’m hurting so
    bad…:( my dad hates me and verbally and mentally
    abuses me! Sometimes physical! He’s a lunatic! my
    mom’s there but she doesent really care! Like she
    will ignore or pretends like she doesent care! I told someone i trust alot! (i girl cuz imma girl and its
    easier for me to confide in someone thats a girl
    also).. I have 2 other ladies i trust.. But anyway (the
    other 2 ladies don’t know my whole story)… And i
    have siblings but i feel like i cant confind anything in
    them! idk what to do i feel so stuck! I love this lady alot but i tell her alot and she doesent seem to mind
    but i tell her alot do u think it annoys her? I HATE MY DAD! its hard for me to describe how much i do! i
    despise him so much! I Never wanna talk to him!..
    But like i told this lady almost everything… one thing i
    didnt and im not sure if i should! lemme explain… Okay so one of the time when we were talking she
    asked if i had ever gotten sexually abused by my
    dad.. (never have by my dad)… But i have been
    assulted and NOBODY knows about this! Should i tell her? and how should i tell her? when we talked
    about it i tried to wipe it away as fast i could… please help me should i tell her that i was assulted or no? im so scared to tell! what will happen???? My dad was not the one that assulted me… But in so scared to tell! how do i tell? I tried to tell her not to long ago and i freaked out and said I’ll tell you some other time! so scared i don’t want her to do anything! please! And NOBODY at all knows! please give me advice in how i should start the converstaion? and some tips on what i should say… please help! its scary… Thanks!

  4. Concerned wife says:

    My husband was abused sexually as a child but refuses to talk to anyone about it. All I know is that happened — I don’t know how old he was, how many times it has happened, who did it, anything.
    We’ve been having a lot of trust & intimacy issues in our relationship. Although he doesn’t say it relates to his abuse, I suspect it.
    I’ve been trying to convince him to talk to me about what happened or at least talk to a professional. He gets very angry & detached when i ask. I was also raped as a teen & I’ve told him all the details. I find it helps me to talk about it. I wish he would talk to me. I feel like he doesn’t trust me. Am I wrong to insist? We have been married for 13 years & am afraid we won’t be married much longer if our intimacy doesn’t improve.

  5. Lisa says:

    I was molested at the age of 5 ( I am 15 now) by an older male cousin, who was 12 or 13 at the time. I can’t remember how many times it happened, but it was more than once. I don’t know who to tell… I see him at family functions still, and I just avoid him. I’m afraid my parents won’t believe me if I tell them. If I tell a teacher, do they have to contact the police? Any advice would help.

    • M.M.S. says:

      Lisa,
      Comming from experience, Yes you should sit down and talk with your parents. It took me years to finally have that talk with my parents. It was always a cloud hanging over every relationship or every step as I grew up. I am 36 now and just told my parents 2 years ago. I am not sure what your relationship is with your parents, but when I told mine the main thing they kept saying is that one they were so sorry that it happened to me under their roof, two they felt like they did not protect me, and three why did I wait so long to tell them. I told them I held it inside and tried for years to move on, but finally had enough of it holding me back and cleared the air right before I got married to a wonderful woman who I also told my story to. You will be so surprised to see the support as well as the comfort you get internally when you let the demon out and you are not holding it all in all alone. As for if you tell a teacher, yes they have a duty to report it, but I would much rather see you talk to your parents about it since you will need their support to in the long haul to rise above what has happened to you and not allow it to control the future you truly have.

      Good lock and my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  6. Michael says:

    I was abused as a young child by a respected doctor who was well known to my parents. I didn’t tell anyone until many years later and have had years of therapy.

    It hasn’t gone particularly well. Even though my wife knew of the abuse, it has gotten harder for me as I’ve been going through therapy. She doesn’t understand and feels that I should “just get over it.”

    I’ve told only four other people other than therapists. They have been very supportive.

    I do believe that you must deal with the issue, but so far for me, it’s been harder than when no one knew. I’m still hoping to see significant improvement but working through things is much more painful than locking things away.

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