photograph by Aviva Rowley. ©
"I felt so afraid to take the first step and tell someone. But when I did I felt so much lighter, it was if this invisible 100 pound boulder was lifted off my back." ...............Written by a 19 year old survivor
Many girls are simply too terrified to tell anyone if they are in an abusive relationship. They feel trapped and deeply ashamed and they fear for what could happen if they do tell someone about their abuse. Most incest survivors have figured out that telling someone about incest could break up their home. If a mother does not support her daughter, the daughter could be placed in foster care or placed with a biological family member whom the court appoints for her. You have to decide if you are ready for these consequences before you speak out about your abuse.
One way to begin to get help is to tell a close friend about that you are going through, but it will be difficult for your friend to keep this a secret. Your friend may feel overwhelmed and frightened for you, so you should expect that she will go to a trusted adult for advice.
Sometimes the first step a girl needs to take is to call someone on the phone, to talk to a counselor whom they will never have to face in person. In this case a survivor could call a hot-line like the one provided by R.A.I.N.N. This is a wonderful hot-line started through Tori Amos in 1994 and it is now the largest national hot-line for survivors. Go to R.A.I.N.N. for all the information on their service.
Calling a hot-line and speaking to a professional counselor is one way to get help. Another first step to getting help is visiting a trusted counselor at school and telling her about your so-called "friend" from outside your school, and how worried you are about your so-called "friend". This way the school counselor is not obligated by law to report the abuse and she can help you sort out some of your feelings. You will receive sympathy and guidance for your so-called "friend" and you will begin to stop feeling responsible for the abuse that is happening to you.
It may be difficult to believe, but some girls have had success just telling their molesters "NO!". Some girls have been able to do this and they stopped the abuse. If you ever feel brave enough, you could try this. It may not work however because molesters are usually bullies, and they can put their victims under their spell. Sometimes by saying no you can break the spell and the molester may become so frightened that you are about to tell someonethat he will stop the abuse.
But many times your life is threatened. Often times, as in most incest cases, a girl will not get any family support and are themselves blamed for the abuse. More times than not it is impossible to say no to an abuser. You will need to get help.
Girls find extraordinary ways to get beyond sexual abuse. They join the soccer team, the debate team, they write in journals, some girls paint, sculpt, draw or act. The point to remember is that girls find tunnels to go through to a place where they feel safe and they experience light at the other side of their unhappiness. Unfortunately, some girls who can not detach from their abuse may turn their sadness inward and cut themselves or turn to drugs and alcohol. All girls surviving abuse deserve to have someone listen to them, and to help them heal.
Try talking to a friend, counselor, teacher, doctor, hot-line. Sexual abuse needs to be talked about. In the mean time, avoid your molester in any way possible. Some day you too will get help and you will come to learn ...
It is the survivor's fault!!!!
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