My adult daughter disclosed that her dad sexually abused her.


Dear Stop It Now!,

I recently discovered that my 21 year old daughter was molested by her father when she was a child. We are divorced and he had to see her every other week when she was younger. She always was quiet and kept to herself until recently she broke down and crying, disclosed that her father had molested her. We need help for her and to stop him from hurting another.

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Dear Concerned Parent,

I’m so sorry your daughter was sexually abused by her father. I’m glad that she finally was able to tell you what happened, and I want to assure you that help is available. You and your daughter are not alone in having to face these problems. Most survivors have been deeply impacted by the child sexual abuse and with support, they have been able to heal and recover.

Healing and Recovery
The healing and recovery process begins with your daughter getting the support and understanding she needs and deserves. If she is not already working with a professional therapist experienced in working with adults who survived sexual abuse as children, I hope she will consider doing so. With the confidential support of a professional, she can talk through her feelings, as well as what steps she wants to take now to address her abuse in the past. For help in finding appropriate resources, please share with your daughter our resource guide list Adult Survivors. And for yourself, you may benefit from this organization called Mothers of Sexually Abused Children which you may find helpful in sorting out your concerns for your daughter and other feelings that may have arisen as a result of her disclosure. Sometimes parents of adult children who reveal childhood abuse feel overwhelmed, and many find it helpful to seek their own counseling/therapy as well.

Seeking Justice
I understand that you are concerned about stopping your ex before he harms another child. For many adults, seeking justice is an important part of the healing process. I do want to caution you that your daughter’s healing and recovery is primary, and any legal actions should include her wishes. Again, professional therapeutic guidance can help both her and you prepare for the next steps you may want to take.If you do purse legal action, you may also want to consult with an attorney experienced in these types of cases. Please visit our Legal advocacy resources for attorney referral information. It may also be helpful to learn about your state’s statutes of limitations, regarding the time lapse allowed for adult survivors to press charges against their abuser. For more information, go to the Child Welfare Information Gateway and Search the Statutes.

If you know about a particular situation in which her father poses risk to a certain child or children, you can file a report about the risk to these specific children that includes information about the abuse your daughter experienced from her father. 

Some people do call the police or child protective services even when the statutes have passed. If a current report on this person exists, the additional information that you have to offer may add weight to the other report. If you do have any knowledge or suspicion based on his proximity to children that your ex-husband is abusing other children, please contact the local police or your local Child Protection Service (CPS). For information on your state’s reporting hotline please click on: Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Numbers by State.

Thank you for contacting us. You are demonstrating your support for your daughter by helping her courageously take steps to take control of her life. Help and understanding is available. Every adult who has experienced childhood sexual abuse has the right to support, healing and recovery. It is never too late for healing. I hope this information is helpful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us again if you have further questions.

Take care,
Stop It Now!


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Last edited on: November 9th, 2018