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.
4 responses to “Louise’s Voice”
Louise, as one sex abuse survivor (school and a youth worker with a voluntary charitable organisation) to another. Well done, very brave and the right thing to do. Love and hugs x
Good on you Louise – I wish all of us could go back and protect that little 7 year girl.
I originally wrote that as a comment on another post in response to someone expressing frustration at the time taken for people to come forward to report abuse. I know it’s hard for people to imagine why it can take so long. I’m glad for the people who ‘don’t get it’ because that means they haven’t experienced it, and I’m glad that people are talking about it and questioning things.
If I can help someone understand then that would be good. I don’t want any sympathy though, I’m a survivor not a victim and I’m more than ok, I’m bloody great actually ;-)
And what a lovely warm wish – to go back and protect that little 7 year old. We can and will do our best to protect all the current 7 year olds! and 6 year olds, and 5 year olds,…and all the children and vulnerable adults.
Right! let’s go and make the world a nicer place!
I was writing recently to friends and family saying if we could help protect even one child that was a big deal and even if only one child was abused that was too much. Too many friends, family and loved ones have been in your position.
Most important thing? That we get the chance to regrow that kid inside us that was hurt, to try to have a sense of wonder and joy about things again. Wishing you every blessing in the rest of your journey.