Sexually Abused As A Child. Why I Never Told & Should I Ever Tell?

Dear Adriana,

When I was a a teenager, a close family member molested me. They did it in a hotel room with other family members around us asleep. That person thought I was asleep and of course, I wasn’t. I was petrified. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t say anything. And when the morning came, I tried pretending like it never happened because there was a huge family event happening that day. This person and I were close our entire lives and is beloved by our entire family.

Not only that but this person has a family themselves and had one at that time…

I put it in the back of my mind and tried to forget that it happened. But as I get older I find myself thinking about it and getting angrier at myself for never saying anything. It’s been 9 years, I have only told one person, a month ago, and that is my spouse. It was liberating to tell someone…But still I felt shame.

Why I never said anything

I have many reason why I have never said anything. Embarrassment. Guilt. Fear of my family hating me. Fear of being blamed. Fear of ruining that persons life. Fear of inviting that drama into my life when everything is going so well. Fear of not being believed. Fear of my parents wanting to physically harm this person. Fear that if I say anything at all it won’t matter because it happened 9 years ago. But most of all, most recently, fear that it would happen to someone else because I chose to stay silent.

My question

Basically, I want to know if you think it would be wrong of me to possibly keep this secret forever and never tell anyone. I don’t know if this person will do it to someone else, or has…But. I don’t know if I even know what I want the outcome to be if I ever did say anything…

I just don’t know where to go with this information or how to feel better about the idea of not saying anything ever. Which is what I am likely to do based on where I am in life.

Dear Anonymous,

I am so sorry this happen to you…But from the bottom of my heart, thank you for sharing your story with us. You sharing just the reasons why you haven’t told anyone about this sexual abuse in 9 YEARS is just proof to those that question people when they do come out 10, 20, 30 years later and questions their legitimacy because they “never said anything sooner”.

There are SO many valid reasons why someone would withhold that information and I don’t think it’s up to anyone else to decide when or why you should tell anyone what happened to you.

So don’t put on yourself that it’s your “responsibility”.

It’s sad that it seems like those closest to you, those that you really trust can be the ones that take complete advantage of you. I would imagine just being a child alone made it extremely difficult to want to say anything. That is why children are vulnerable to abuse; they can be manipulated and confused by people they love. You are not to blame for not telling.

A time will come.

Just know that each year we all grow so much. And our main growth is in our confidence and belief in ourselves as who we are and what we stand for. Which shows in your strength to tell your spouse and us today…

Maybe one day. You will find that strength to share what happen to you in whatever way YOU see fit.

Maybe it will be you confronting that person and saying, “ I know and remember what you did to me”.

Maybe you will only share it with your immediate family.

Maybe you will tell that persons spouse about the sexual abuse and warn them without making a huge scene.

OR, maybe you will decided to blast this person everywhere and to everyone that knows them…Point is, it’s your right, to do this however you see fit.

Can you heal in silence?

One question to ask yourself is if you can heal if you never confront this person? Maybe you can? Maybe you can feel better by speaking to a therapist and that will be enough for you.

But, I hope you find the courage to one day let it be known that this person, that everyone loves so much…isn’t who they think they are. At all.

Even if they never get “jail time”. At least people will know who they really are…

If you can offer anonymous any advice leave it in the comments. I know that sadly, there are a lot more people than not that have gone through something similar…

 

  • 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18. (1in 7 are girls 1 in 25 are boys)
  • 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser
  • About 60% of children who are sexually abused are abused by people the family trusts.

You can find more statistics here on child abuse…

More info on the advice column here .

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