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Childhood Sexual Abuse: From a family member? How would you handle it?

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Your child comes to you with a look of fear, sadness, and guilt on their face asking to talk to you.

First of all, listen to what the child has to say, believe them and validate their feelings. Believing that child and showing empathy and care is the greatest feeling in the world to them.

Immediately call the police.  I can’t stress this enough.

The abuser has to be confronted, no dancing around the issue and no excuses should be made. Did he do it, yes, a child doesn’t abuse himself/herself, therefore, there are no excuses.  We fear strangers harming our children, but more often than not, it’s someone close to the family that we have trusted.

To other family members, relatives etc., explain in a firm manner that this will not be a “sweep under the rug” issue and the police are involved already.  If the abuser is charged, well so be it, this is an unforgivable crime. 

Even though it’s within the family, your child is more important than ‘keeping peace’. Who cares what the rest of the family thinks, this person is a predator, and who knows, maybe he did it to some other child inside or outside of the family. It has to be stopped, by YOU.

Take your child to a therapist, an experienced child abuse therapist so they know that this was not their fault, they did not cause any of this to happen, and what happened was completely wrong.

Give your child as much love as possible. NEVER BLAME THE CHILD!

**If my parents had have done this for me when I was 8 years old, I wouldn’t have needed 20+ years of psychotherapy to treat PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Written by: Deb McCarthy

Resources for help:

Here to Help 

The Children’s Assessment Center

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Written by livinginstigma

Mental Health Advocate anti stigma, struggle w/depression, PTSD, chronic migraines, narcissist survivor. Blog chronic pain & invisible illnesses. Writer, poet.

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