Advantages of Coming Forward if You Have Abused Someone

“I was in a lot of pain... My big concern was that nobody knew what I did. I didn't want anybody to know I was a pedophile. I thought, "That's the bottom of the totem pole," not realizing that the only way I was NOT going to be a pedophile for life was to get help and to learn to change myself. “ – Neil’s Story, Stop It Now! Helpline User

No more secrets. No more lies.

Many people who have sexually abused children want desperately to stop, but don’t know how to or where to turn for help. If you're in this situation, you may think that you're unable to control your abusing behaviors, you may feel guilty or ashamed by knowing how much harm you are inflicting on a child.

The advantages of coming forward:

Coming forward, on one’s own – to the police, Child Protective Services, or to a therapist- can put an end to the abuse of a child and to an existence of lies and secrets.

By coming forward, you can…

  • Stop the abuse.
  • Give the child who has been abused the chance to live a better life and to begin the process of recovery.
  • Get therapy to end abusing behaviors from therapists who specialize in working with adults who have abused.
  • Give up the burden of living a life filled with unending secrets and lies.
  • Get the chance to learn how to live a life free of abusing behaviors.
  • Let the cycle of broken promises to yourself that “it will never happen again” finally end.
  • Get support to rebuild a safer life.
  • If the court is involved, demonstrate to legal authorities that you are determined to stop the abuse and take responsibility for your actions. It’s possible that courts may view the act of coming forward out of a genuine determination to stop the abuse, in a favorable way.

Read a true story of finding help and hope

What are the immediate benefits of coming forward for the offending or at-risk adult?

  • The burden of keeping the secret of this disturbing problem can be lifted.
  • The cycle of broken promises to oneself that “it will never happen again” can finally end.
  • The abusive behavior can stop, and support is available to rebuild a safer life.
  • There can be support from peers in the treatment group to help the offending or at-risk adult stay safe.
  • The child can be protected and/or begin the process of recovery.