Parents: Should I tell my parents I was sexually abused?

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techn0teen
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30 Mar 2013, 10:02 pm

I was three years old at the time, so I kept it to myself because I wasn't aware of what had happened and, by the time I was old enough to understand, I was afraid it was simply a false memory. But, as I've grown older and explored my body a little bit more, there is no mistake. It happened, and I still feel the effects to this day.

Worse, the guy targeted me because I was moderately autistic at the time and also nonverbal. Basically, he knew I wouldn't be able to remember his face or even be able to communicate to . So he helped himself. While I don't remember him, I remember the act.

I always kept it to myself, but I was thinking of possibly telling my parents one day. I'm afraid they'd feel guilty and blame themselves or even really would prefer not to know. I really don't know how a parent would react or feel about the situation. I feel that if I explained to them what happened, they'd understand me a lot more and some of my life choices. On the other hand...

So, as parents, would you want your high functioning autistic adult-child telling you? Or, so long as the abuse wasn't holding them back, would you honestly rather not know?



BenderRodriguez
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30 Mar 2013, 10:17 pm

I don' know your parents or your relationship with them etc so it's not easy to form an opinion on how they would react or handle it. People can develop very unhealthy behaviours out of shame and guilt.

As for me, I would want to know. I would feel crushed and angry at first but I try to be a real part of my children's lives, including their struggles, dark thoughts or bad moments.

And I'm really sorry this happened to you, could you talk about it with someone more qualified to help you get closure? And possibly mediate between you and your parents and guide them after the initial shock?



Tsunami
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30 Mar 2013, 10:20 pm

The foremost reason to tell someone is that the person who did it might still be doing it to someone else, though that might not be a factor in your case.



Sieanna
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30 Mar 2013, 10:32 pm

You should always tell some one. If trust is difficult for you, find a person that is educated in counselling and will keep confidentilality.

From my experience the people you tell carry on so much, that you feel alot worse from the reaction of others than any abuse that may have occured itself.

If you were a child at the time, you may not want to confide in a counsellor because they are obligated to tell authorities.

It's seems that when you become an adult only is it safe to say anything. If you yell out in your sleep about a possible abuse experience and a neighbour who has a guilt conscience hears it -

Until the day you die, people will try and bully you about rumours a neighbour made up themselves, with no previous information from from the rumour bullied person at all, only the defense of the guilt consciense neighbour and anything you say may be used against you.

In regards to disclosing abuse, is so ridulous, that I am speechless.

In my experience. It is best not to tell anyone who works in a Goverment Department.

Make sure that a counsellor in from a non Goverment organistaion.



Last edited by Sieanna on 31 Mar 2013, 3:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

DW_a_mom
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31 Mar 2013, 1:35 am

Awful. I am so sorry that happened to you.

Me, as a parent, I would want to know. Sure I'd question myself and my decisions, and if I could have done something, but that would be MY issue, not my child's, and it isn't my child's job to protect me and my emotions. Sweet of you to consider it, but it isn't your role.

It would break my heart to think that my kids might not tell me something so crucial. I am supposed to know what goes on with them, good bad or ugly. That is my role: to know, and to help in anyway possible.

Not every parent is the same, but that is how I view it.


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kabouter
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31 Mar 2013, 2:46 am

From what you have said, I think its more about you.

The event, and the memories of the event obviously still affect you to this day. You seem to feel some guilt over this, even when though you were the totally innocent party and had no say in it. I expect it would be good to talk it over with a counselor so that you can resolve it.

Whether you tell your parents has to be up to you. You can't remember who the person was and it was a long time ago so there is nowhere to take it. Its more will your parents believe you, and will it help them to understand you better.

If it was my child, of course I would want to know, but I am not your parent.

It not easy, but I think talking it over with a counselor could help you resolve the issue. Then worry about your parents.



jat
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31 Mar 2013, 7:51 am

Since we don't know your parents, we can't really assess how they would respond to your disclosure. As a parent, I would want to know - I would, of course, feel many emotions - guilt, sadness, helplessness, etc. But, as DW said, those are my issues, not my child's, and they should not interfere with whether or not I would be told.

I think it is important to share the information both so your parents can understand some of the choices that you are making, and so they can understand, in retrospect, some of what happened in the past. As you said, what happened to you has, no doubt, affected a great deal of your life, some in unexpected ways. If you are unsure about how you can handle the disclosure with your parents, you may want to incorporate the assistance of a therapist in the process. If not, you could have a close friend or family member with you, who could be a support to both you and your parents, as needed, both as you disclose, and in the aftermath.

As you are struggling with what happened to you (which is normal - I don't mean to suggest otherwise), you may want to look into whether there are any support groups for survivors of sexual assault, or child sexual assault, in your area. These are often offered through local rape crisis centers, and the groups are not necessarily just for people who have experienced recent assaults. Some centers also offer individual counseling sessions.

What happened to you was awful. I am so sorry. You are, unfortunately, not alone, in that so many young children are assaulted every year. Some disclose, many don't. There will always be some repercussions from what happened to you. With help, and time, you can lessen those repercussions, and take more control over your life.



momsparky
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31 Mar 2013, 9:46 am

I had a similar experience and a very bad experience talking about it: however, I had abusive parents - and mine was a false memory, in that I had misinterpreted feelings I now know were legitimate and accurate, but were about a different issue. Not quite the same, but struggling with that disclosure and the ramifications of what actually happened has made my relationship with my parents even more difficult.

If you have a therapist, I'd go to them with this issue first.

I agree that it depends on the relationship you have with your parents. If you have a good relationship with them, I'd explain that you have this feeling something happened, and you have such-and-such evidence that indicates your feeling is right, and you wonder if they knew about it. Do be prepared that other people, even those close to you, may also assume it is a false memory: not because it didn't happen, but because people have preconceived notions about abuse and abusers that they may not be able to bend to fit your situation. (For instance, the reaction I got was that abusers are "monsters," and the person I accused was a "good person," therefore I couldn't have been abused. I was - just not the specific way I'd thought.)

OTOH, if it were my son, I'd want to know. I would feel awful, but I'd want him to know that I am there to support him and be there for him.



ASDMommyASDKid
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31 Mar 2013, 10:00 am

I concur with those who suggest bringing it to a therapist first. A (good) therapist can better ask you background about your family and the event to figure out if telling your parents would help you or hurt you. Even "good" parents can react to this type of thing in unhelpful ways, or may say things out of shock that may not help you.

I don't think your parents are entitled to remain blissfully unaware. If you need their support and they are capable of giving it, then you are entitled to that.

(I have no direct experience with this issue. This is based only on things I know second or third hand from other people--so weigh my advice accordingly)



Tyri0n
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31 Mar 2013, 12:48 pm

I was 4-5 years old. I tried telling them, and they wouldn't believe me until the person I accused went to jail for sexually abusing someone else 20 years later.

Unfortunately, parents are not apt to believe this sort of thing, so it's important to make sure you story makes sense and that you have evidence.



whirlingmind
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31 Mar 2013, 1:31 pm

techn0teen wrote:
I was three years old at the time, so I kept it to myself because I wasn't aware of what had happened and, by the time I was old enough to understand, I was afraid it was simply a false memory. But, as I've grown older and explored my body a little bit more, there is no mistake. It happened, and I still feel the effects to this day.

Worse, the guy targeted me because I was moderately autistic at the time and also nonverbal. Basically, he knew I wouldn't be able to remember his face or even be able to communicate to . So he helped himself. While I don't remember him, I remember the act.

I always kept it to myself, but I was thinking of possibly telling my parents one day. I'm afraid they'd feel guilty and blame themselves or even really would prefer not to know. I really don't know how a parent would react or feel about the situation. I feel that if I explained to them what happened, they'd understand me a lot more and some of my life choices. On the other hand...

So, as parents, would you want your high functioning autistic adult-child telling you? Or, so long as the abuse wasn't holding them back, would you honestly rather not know?


As a parent I would want to know. Also, as Tsunami says, the abuser could still be doing it to others and they need protecting, even if he is not, he could still have done it in the past and if they can't speak up and you don't he will get away with it. Abuse can be prosecuted years later, and should be.

You and your parents have a right to justice against this disgusting person. This would probably help you with coming to terms with it as well, which you may also need therapy for. Feeling someone has got away with something is an awful feeling.


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Judit
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31 Mar 2013, 2:04 pm

I am so sorry this happened to you. As a parent, I would definitely want to know. I do think a therapist might be a good idea, also in the aftermath of sharing the memory with your parents and in helping all of you cope with it.
Also, your parents, if told of what happened, may remember details that could shed light on who this person is, and help to get him put away.

Remember, you are a very strong person for having carried this alone all these years. When you feel down, trust that strength to carry you through.

Judit
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aann
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01 Apr 2013, 8:07 am

I'm am so sorry.... this should never happen to anyone!

I agree with everyone that as a parent it would be helpful for me to know, but your parents may be different. If you do decide to tell them, you could work with someone to write it. Then give it in such a way that you don't see your parents' initial reaction. I would preface the writing by mentioning that you are severely hesitant due to fear of their reaction. That may help them think through how they do respond to you.