What happened next when you told someone about your sexual abuse?

There has been a secret you’ve been concealing, that’s most likely eating you up inside, however, you now have mustered enough courage to tell someone you trust.   It’s rough, you’re just a kid.

Protection and trust have already been shattered by your abuser; you just couldn’t take it anymore, now it’s time to receive compassion, tenderness and told you were so courageous for coming forward and that person will be punished.

It may perhaps have been very positive for you, you were believed, acknowledged, obtained love, affection, sorrow and apologies for this ever happening; possibly counselling.  You went on to recover with perhaps some difficulty, but you received support.


Instead, it was the most regretful day of my life.

A brief detail of my abuse.  Our neighbour (Fred), whom I adored, trusted, showered me with gifts and termed me his “princess”, began sexually abusing me at around five or six years old for about 2 years.  He had free rein while babysitting my (baby) brother and me a few days per week, as well as, taking turns at his house while his wife was upstairs.

The nights of sexual terror became more recurrent and I could cling on to this “secret” no longer; ultimately breaking down and “telling”.  My parents confronted him, which of course he denied any wrong doing.  Confusion and my head muddled, I was ordered to apologize to this person for causing trouble.

So, on a sweltering, hot afternoon, I walked next door.  Standing there unaccompanied frightened, bewildered, yet furious, I behaved like the noble little girl – rapped lightly on the back door.  When he appeared, I respectfully stated “I’m sorry for the trouble that I caused”, with him responding, “that’s ok we all make mistakes”.  Those words make make me well up with tears to this day.

This is the way I surmise my parents reacted to my “telling”:

  •  I can’t believe this, Fred, of all people, he adores her and would never hurt her
  • Sexually abusing her, doesn’t seem right, there is no way, she must be making this up
  • I think she is getting him back for something, she’s spoiled rotton
  • She always has this wild imagination, always in her room dreaming up stories, a loner
  • He’s always buying her gifts and showering her with love and now she does this to him
  • Well, I don’t believe for one minute this happened, do you?
  • I don’t know, possibly he touched her and she interpreted it wrong
  • We better confront him, although I feel bad, almost embarrassed, but we want to get his side
  • I’m her dad, I should be the one to go over
  • Well, I am so angry and embarrassed.  He said there is NO way he would ever touch her.
  • I totally believe him.  He said he cares for her too much to ever do that
  • She is an embarrassment to this whole family now, accusing him of this horrible thing
  • This is the worst thing a kid could ever do to an adult
  • That’s it, no more contact between him and her, and no more babysitting for sure
  • I’m so mad, I’m spitting nails, what happens if the other neighbors find out, we are going to be shamed.  She is grounded for at least a month.
  • The only thing to do to smooth things over is for her to apologize to Fred.  Get her to go over NOW
  • And, we should invite them over on Sunday for dinner, I’ll make my special potatoes.  What did I do to deserve a kid like this?

I felt I was doing the right thing by telling my parents, but when they didn’t believe me I was dumbfounded.  The day I apologized was the day my soul was broken, taking years to trust anyone again.


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I am a Mental Health Advocate for mental illness Stigma. In 2007, I created the "Living in Stigma" blog, with the purpose and anticipation of educating people about mental illness. Depression is part of this illness, which intertwines with those struggling with PTSD, chronic pain, and other invisible illnesses. I am a chronic migraine sufferer myself, and a sexual and emotional abuse survivor. My passions are writing, poetry, and art. All abuse Survivors are also Warriors.

4 thoughts on “What happened next when you told someone about your sexual abuse?”

  1. Deb… you are not alone. Even as adults, “listeners” deny at best, and act as if they have been defiled by listening. Makes one feel awfully dirty… But the ones swimming in the muddy waters of denial are the ones who need to clean up — not us. Great big hug. 🙂


  2. Deb, I’m so so sorry this happened. My cousins had abused me when I was seven, and my brain completely blocked out that memory. I recently realized that that had happened, and confronted my parents, who didn’t believe me and basically told me I was imagining things. I feel your pain. I hope that you will find peace some day.


    1. I think it’s better in a way that you didn’t have to remember all of the abuse as you grew up, yet blocking it and then discovering what took place is shocking to say the least. Your parents must have just swept it under the rug if they knew what happened, or when they found out from you now, didn’t want to be bothered or a part of any of this open wound. No support is what hurts the most.

      Thanks for your kind words. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

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