I was sexually abused as a child. Am I wrong to feel so guilty because I never told anyone?

Dear Stop It Now!,
I feel guilty I never told anyone I was abused by my grandparents. I thought it was my fault, and that my family and others would blame me if it came out. It’s hard for me to trust many people. I should’ve told someone. 

Dear Survivor,
The guilt is not yours, you coped the very best you could. Your experience is sadly familiar and shared by others. There are extreme pressures placed on children who are being sexually abused to keep them silent, and powerful reasons why children don’t disclose. That is why children are vulnerable to abuse; they can be manipulated and confused by people they love. You are not to blame for not telling. You should never have been put in the position of protecting your parents from your pain of being abused. I’m sorry you were not protected from abuse. You may want to read our FAQ, Why don't children tell if they have been abused? for more information.

The good news – there is help and support for you so that you don’t feel alone in having these feelings. For many, the effects of childhood sexual abuse can last well into adulthood.  Healing from child sexual abuse is a process that goes through several phases, and can change and unfold in different ways over time. 

Please know that it is never too late to heal.  I encourage you to seek out support - counselors, therapists, support groups, friends you can confide in – that can help you along the path of healing and recovery.  To learn more about where to find support for healing, I hope that you’ll take a look at our resources and referrals for adult survivors of child sexual abuse from our website.

Your journey is difficult but not impossible. Many people have shared similar experiences and have been able to find peace and healing. 

Take care,
Stop It Now!

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Last edited on: June 6th, 2012