I’ve reported my historic abuse to the police recently. The police have been brilliant actually…although the process is very slow and giving a statement is hard work (mentally and emotionally exhausting).
I did disclose my abuse at age 7, but there was cover-up by my parents and it was never mentioned again and I did not receive the help I needed and this caused a lot of trauma (psychologically, developmentally) and stress.
Despite the obvious (to me now in hindsight and as a parent) signs of a distressed child neither my schools, doctors, or anyone else intervened or questioned the situation.
I did ask a counsellor once about going to the police about 20 years ago and she said that as I’d already disclosed it wasn’t my responsibility. I regret following this advice now as I think it was wrong.
Another factor in people not being able to disclose, especially after a cover up, is the shame and guilt and sense of dirtiness that you develop once you realise that what happened to you was bad and wrong.
I would urge survivors to seriously consider reporting their abuse to the police. There may not be much of a ‘da-dah!’ moment when your abuser is dragged through the town (metaphorically of course) but you will be treated with respect and your allegation taken seriously.
Personally, a huge benefit of reporting has been the acknowledgement that something bad happened to me and being believed. The shame and guilt is gone from me now and is firmly being placed at the feet of those who covered up, and eventually at the feet of the abuser.
It’s great to be able to talk about this nowadays. I sincerely hope things have changed, permanently.