We Did/Didn’t Report the Abuse


These stories are based on victims of sexual abuse.

I am an incest survivor. When I was 5, I caught my mom having sex with my dad’s best friend. When I told my dad what happened he took me to a motel room where he and a woman made me do all the things I saw them do. The secretary called the police and they kicked in the door to stop them. Most of my family still tries to say it didn’t happen. I have gotten a lot of grief from that day, but I would not change the fact that my abuse is out and I am not the one who feels the shame.
S. Johnson Kill Devil Hills N.C.

From the age of 7 to the age of 13, I was molested by my Step Dad, Finally my older sister confronted me about my teenage rebellion and I blurted out the truth to her, she reported what was happening, at times I wondered what her motive was due to how she handled it (emotional blackmail of my parents) there was a lot that happened, the biggest is that the sexual abuse stopped! It took many years for our family to heal with help, and a lot of secrets, self blame, self recklessness, but we did! Today I wouldn’t trade them in for anything, but it took time, and I am grateful that it came out, and for all the help along the way.
S. White, Galena, Illinois

As a child I reported my abuse the best I could. Because it never went further than family and school officials who turned a blind eye in the 60’s&70’s what was happening continued scarring my soul. As an adult an assault so similar to the childhood abuse sent me out of this world mentally for 4 yrs and I tried to skin myself. If someone else had reported what was happening to me as a child such as one of those school officials I may not be the mess I am today. There are residual effects for not reporting. I believe this not to be just a child abuse issue but an issue for all sexual abuse. Victims are kept victims when it is not reported. I, a victim as a child and an adult say this in truth as victims are not in their right minds, Report it!!!
C. Lewis, Syracuse, New York

My oldest son molested my stepson and my daughter. He was 12 at the time. I didn’t know what to do but I knew that I had to tell someone. I had to get him help. We had to go to DHR and report it. It was the hardest phone call of my life. I am glad that we reported it. We couldn’t have gotten the help we needed for all our children on our own. The only regret I have is that it takes DHR so long to do anything. It has been a year and although my daughter and so have been re-united my stepson has yet to see his brother. The incident really damaged my family but it has also made us stronger. There was no past abuse for my oldest son. It was just experimental and peer pressure that caused him to act out. I would love to talk to others and help them to deal with a similar situation.
M. Thompson, Calera, AL

I was sexually abused as a child. Did I report it? Yes, I told my mother at age 6. Was anything done? No, she just sent me to a different sitter. Then at age 10, my older brother abused me. Did I tell anyone? No, not until I was older. I told my Mother and family. Did they believe me? My Mother did not, the rest I don’t know.
Yes I wished it had been reported. There were no programs back then to help any abused Children. I feel if people had reported the cases, then maybe more would have been done to fight against it. And, to help the Children and Family cope with things that were going on in their lives, due to the abuse they had went through.
P. Stewart, Columbus Ohio

I have had the experience of it all. Me and my parents decided to report and action was taken. The offender got off on legal technicalities. The second time (Different offender) we reported and he got probation. The third time was my father… I reported but I was threatened by my mother for reporting. I never reported any incidents again. I felt the system had let me down. I now wish that I would have reported it all, every time. It was hard to go through the process at the time, but now I know that with the first ones, I at least tried to get help. Even if the system failed me, I at least spoke up and asked for help!
C. Myers, Lafayette, LA

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After my daughter disclosed what had happened, I knew I had to put an end to my relationship with him. I never questioned the fact that it was over. I thought in my mind, I just need to get away from him. I believed I could handle everything and if I got him out of our lives, we’d be ok. I knew how wrong it was that he had done those things, and I thought I might need to report him, but I was afraid doing so would have more negative effects on my baby. I didn’t know what to expect. I called a lawyer and talked to close family and friends. Not one person told me they thought reporting him was a good idea. Everyone said the same thing….and made me think there was a possibility she could be taken away from me during any investigations. About a week or 2 later, I learned that someone else reported the incidents. To this day, I do not know who that person was, but I believe it was THE BEST thing that could’ve happened. I’m not sure if all agencies treat the children as well as in my town, but they were very careful to not make her feel like she was reliving the incidents. She was only questioned by one person, who took the time to get to know her first and made sure she was comfortable first. Everyone was great and if I was faced with that decision again, I wouldn’t hesitate to report it immediately. The people who spend their lives trying to help the kids get through this and who fight for justice do not want to do further harm to children or their families. I truly feel that not reporting it will lead to further victims. I couldn’t live with myself knowing my negligence contributed to another child being abused. Thanks for all that you do Petra. Blessings,
K. Wooten, Birmingham, AL