Dealing with sexual abuse


#1

So I kinda have a problem I hope some of you can help me with.I am a 16 year old girl and when I was anywhere from 5-8 (don’t remember the exact age) my cousin who is 10 years older than me molested me. I think my mind kinda made me forget about it because for years I never did think about it. I also never told anyone. I started to think about it more and more since this last summer because my cousins from out of state came and I have an 8 year old cousin who I found out might have been molested by the same cousin. This really started to tear me up inside.

I started to hate my cousin and when realizing I was doing this I decided to go to confession and told my priest everything. Since then I’ve only talked about it to him once in confession.

So there is this teacher at school who I have gotten to know really well. I’m one of his favorite students. He noticed that I had been really down about 4 weeks ago and asked me what was wrong and had me come in and talk to him. I told him everything and he was so mad that this had happened and has been telling me to tell my parents ever since. He’s the same age as my cousin (10 years older than me) and has been the only person I have felt comfortable talking to about this considering I have some trust issues. I’ve told my 3 best friends,father(in confession so he can’t bring it up anywhere else) and this teacher and thats it. The thing is that I’m pretty sure I told my mom when I was about 13, but while believing me did nothing about it so I figured I just had to forget about it. I know I need to bring it up again, but I just don’t like talking about it with them and for some reason I can only talk to certain people.

My questions are…
Is it inappropriate for me to be talking to this teacher about it?(there have been some issues about him being “too close” with the kids, but in reality he’s the only teacher that actually cares about this kids.)
Should I be over this and what should I do to get over it?
Thanks to anyone who has a reply


#2

the priest whom you talked to did not give you any advice? Tell your parents, again! And let them know you suspect another cousin may have been violated too. I suggest you address this through your family rather then a teacher. If your parents are non responsive is there an aunt or uncle or grandparent who can “take the bull by the horns”? you need some professional advice and action.


#3

Tell your parents everything. Try to understand that as much as this is painful it is also a crime. Now you suspect he has repeated this (insane) act. If you bring the truth into the light it may prevent this guy from hurting other people.

Do you feel it would be wrong for him to answer for what he has done? Be proud to expose him and make sure you prevent this evil from happening to others. None of this is your fault at all. I hope and pray you will heal from this and bring it into the light.

-D


#4

Do not be afraid to talk about this. This is NOT your shame!! This happened to you, and it was not your fault, and there is nothing for you to be ashamed of.

Please tell you parents again. This creep need to be prevented from hurting anyone else.

Arlene


#5

I know you told the priest in the context of confession, but if you are comfortable with this priest, you could ask him to serve as advocate to speak with your parents with you.

There are also often local agencies who could help you sort through this and speak to your parents. See if there is a Catholic Charities agency in your area, they could help you. If not, a local rape crises (even if the molestation did not involve actual rape) they can help in all areas of sexual abuse. But I would approach preist or Catholic charities first.

Once you have found an adult advocate,(parents, priest, counselor, etc) let your teacher know. Thank him for his help, but I would not discuss this further with him. Male teachers especially, (and it sounds like he is young) are under close scrutiny these days, and you would not want to do anything to jeapordize the job or career of one who has been so kind. By all means maintain a good relationship with him, but the less you discuss such very personal and intimate subjects with this young male teacher the better.

It can be very difficult for teachers to walk the fine line that is required of them, to be loving and caring, but not “too” loving and caring. And when a beloved pupil is in distress, natural, genuine caring can blur the line even further. I would not want either you or him to suffer shame, ridicule or hurt because you had no one else to turn to.

blessings on you, I will keep you in my prayers.

cheddar


#6

I agree with the advice cheddarsox gave you about looking for advocates other than the teacher, for his protection.

Different people work through things in different ways. However, you are just now getting to the age where people ususally start to actively deal with molestation issues. Previously you’ve dealt with it as a child would, blocking out what you couldn’t understand then. Now you are seeing what happened as an adult, knowing with an adult body the significance of what your cousin did. YOu also now have a greater awareness of how that same abuser might have hurt others in your family and are wanting to protect them as well.

You probably need to see a real professional mental health counselor for a while to work through this. Now, when picking a counselor, find a Christian who brings thier faith into their practice, a referral through your Diocese or Catholic Charities would be a good start. There are resources on the web about what to look for in picking a good counselor, speaking from my experience in the therapists my wife has used in dealing with her own childhood issues, a bad therapist can do more harm than not seeking help at all. While in counseling, you should be kept aware and be workign with your counselor on setting particular goals you are working towards and be given “homework” to try to acheive those goals, with your treatment plan being revisited every 6-8 weeks if you are not making clear progress. If you’ve gone to a counselor for 6 months or more and can’t see that you’ve made some clear progress on working through your trust issues and the anxiety relating to what your cousin did, it is time to pick a new counselor that will be more aggressive in helping you put all this behind you. A good counselor will also help you work out how to take action to stop this cosin from continuing to abuse young girls in your family.

Things will be better. Keep reaching out, keep seeking help, and keep working at not letting the past keep you from participating in life today.


#7

**I can tell you that you “should not” be over it. That’s not to say that you will never be over it, but as of now, you have only just started to process it. What will it take to get over it? I would suggest prayer—ask God to help you deal with this and He WILL show you the best way for you. Trust me on this one. You also need to forgive yourself and forgive him, but again, that will take time and prayer. This was NOT your fault. And I believe that you have been given a great opportunity to help you heal—you have the chance to put this guy away, esp. if he’s doing it to someone else. Sexual predators DON’T stop what they are doing. They have often been abused themselves and this is “normal” to them. **


#8

[quote=Catholicgolfer]My questions are…
Is it inappropriate for me to be talking to this teacher about it?(there have been some issues about him being “too close” with the kids, but in reality he’s the only teacher that actually cares about this kids.)
Should I be over this and what should I do to get over it?
Thanks to anyone who has a reply
[/quote]

There are quite a few things I want to tackle in this message, but I’m going to start by saying how brave you are for even telling anyone! I know that took huge amounts of courage and you should be proud of yourself for taking that step!! :thumbsup:

I was molested when I was between the ages of 6 and 8, so let me share with you some things that I have learned over the years:

1.) It is nothing that YOU need to feel ashamed about. What your cousin did to you was not, is not, will never be, your fault. A big part of my own healing was when I could calmly say to someone that I had been abused, without shame, without embarassment and without fear. Clearly, it takes a while to be able to do this, but have faith! You will get there someday! :slight_smile:

2.) It is healthy to discuss this issue with people you trust, whether it be a teacher, your priest, your parents. However, in light of what you said about your teacher being known to get “too close” to his students, I would just caution you to talk to him only in public places. Not only for your own safety, but for his. If he truly cares about his students, he will understand that it is not prudent to talk with young women in private.

3.) I really urge you to talk to your parents about this again. Ask them to help you find a place where you can get some support: books, support groups, a counselor. I was about your age when I first started dealing with my abuse, and without the support of a counselor and my friends in support group, I would have been so lost. There is no one who understands the emotional wreckage of abuse quite like a fellow survivor.

4.) I don’t mean to say this next thing to you to make you despair, but you will never really “get over this”, nor should you feel like you have to! In time, the hurt and fear and shame will subside to the point where it won’t consume your every thought. In time, you will learn to wear the term “sexual abuse survivor” as a battle scar and be a stronger person because of it! But in the mean time, take some time to take care of YOU. Listen to your heart, cry if you need to, feel anger if you need to!

Oh, there are so many things that I wish to say to help you, but I think this is a starting point. I really, REALLY encourage you to get some professional counseling, either in a group or personal setting. You don’t have to do this alone!!

Keep us posted sweetie, and stay strong! You are beautiful!
SBH


#9

I, too, was molested as a child. I was very small, 3 years old. It was at a day care at a woman’s house. She perpetrators were her kids, boy and girl, probably about 14 years old. I only went there for a few weeks - my mom took me out when I started having nightmares and screaming in my sleep. She got to talking to other parents when they were picking up their kids and sharing similiar stories. This was in like 1962, long before you heard of this happening a lot and people being arrested and sued. I was terrified to say anything as the kids said they’d hurt my family. I have psychological scars that will probably never go away. Please pray and get help. You may not realize for years exactly how you have been affected (I didn’t). :mad:


#10

[quote=koda]I have psychological scars that will probably never go away. Please pray and get help. You may not realize for years exactly how you have been affected (I didn’t). :mad:
[/quote]

Koda, my niece went through this at about 3 or 4 years of age. She subconsciously blamed my sister for not knowing it was happening and not protecting her from this adult neighbour predator.

My niece had many psychological scars including anorexia and low self-worth.

I have dealt with many young women (post abortion counselling) who had been sexually abused in childhood and in their very early teens. They felt guilty, as if they might have wanted what happened or led the perpetrator on somehow.

[quote=Mom of One]Sexual predators DON’T stop what they are doing. They have often been abused themselves and this is “normal” to them.
[/quote]

This is so true. This cousin needs to be stopped NOW. If not, every other young child he comes into contact with in the future is a potential vicxtim, including his own children.


#11

Thanks for all of your responses!

I guess I am afraid to bring this up again because my two older brothers were also molested by my cousin (I’ll call him Jeff to take away the confusion on who I’m talking about). My parents found out and made him stay away from them and I guess thats when it started with me. I learned this a few years ago from my mother and since they never did anything about my brothers then I don’t see how they would do anything about it now. They also already know about my other cousin possibly being molested by him, also.

Sorry I left some of this out I was kinda tired last night.

I have a hard time talking about it with family because “Jeff” lives in the same town and I have grown up around this family. His mother is like another mother to me and has always been there so I just have a hard time dealing with this.

I think I’m going to go stay with my brother sometime and talk to him about this first because I need to get some things worked out and ask some questions.

Oh, and the priest did give me some advice. He also told me to tell my parents and that he would go with me if I needed him to, but I think I may need to do this on my own. I just need a few pushes sometimes.

Saved by him-- Your post made me cry! lol. It is nice to hear from someone who has already gone through something similar. Thanks for the advice.


#12

[quote=Eileen T]I have dealt with many young women (post abortion counselling) who had been sexually abused in childhood and in their very early teens. They felt guilty, as if they might have wanted what happened or led the perpetrator on somehow. /QUOTE]

It definitely scars you - I ended up becoming sexually active way too early and ended up with abusers - it’s like you have this deep subconscious belief that you will always be a victim or something, or that you deserve it. Thank God I was able to free myself from this, but it is hard and can take time. And I’ve wondered about the kids who did it to me, it they were abused as well. This is really a terrible thing to do to someone.
[/quote]


#13

hey golfer
how are you doing today? regarding your recent post:

i know this is so hard to deal with, but you really can’t give up. if your parents won’t help you deal with this, find someone who can. the only way that sexual abuse is able to continue is by keeping it silent! remember that!

maybe you can be the one to stop this cycle and make a difference. it’s a heavy burden to carry, but it could be a real source of healing for you. you maybe weren’t able to stop him from hurting you when you were so little, but you can stop him now! you are much stronger now than when you were little. don’t let him beat you down any longer!

there, how was that for a pep talk? :slight_smile:

seriously, i would still look into counseling for yourself. maybe through that you will find the courage to confront your abuser. being that it was a family member adds a few difficulties to it, but these professionals have seen everything. they would be able to help you with whatever you decide to do.

i don’t know what state you live in, but each county in my state has a sex abuse crisis center where you could call and get info and support. and some of these services are even free. look in the yellow pages under “Sexual Abuse Counseling”, and it will cross-reference a bunch of different areas to look.

again, please don’t let your parents’ lack of action prevent you from taking the actions you need to take in order to heal – in whatever way that may be. you couldn’t take care of yourself back then, but you can do it NOW! you are strong!

i’m praying that God fills you up with the Holy Spirit and gives you the courage and strength to handle these days ahead.

sending smiles and safe hugs,
SBH


#14

Thank you to everyone’s advice. I am dealing with this slowly, but getting there. Reading everyone else’s experiences help. God Bless you all.


#15

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