Okay, so this is a really personal topic, but I was raped as a child by my uncle on my dad’s side of the family. I stayed quiet about it for about 10 years, then I told my mom because it was too stressful to keep to myself. She took me to the Child Advocacy Center, and they said it was my choice whether I wanted to take it to court or not. I’m leaning towards the “not” side, because I really don’t want to have to relive what happened, especially with my uncle in the same room as me. But at the same time, I think his family deserves to know what he did and he needs to be punished for it. I’m stuck, because he’s successful, and his family thinks he’s their prodigy child who’s graduated art school and going into the military soon. Any advice on what to do?
- You are dealing with such a painful family tragedy. Thank you for trusting the Teen Central community for support. You are very brave for speaking up about what happened to you, and we are very glad to have a chance to say we support you and you are not alone!
- Remembering a painful trauma like rape can bring on a whole spectrum of feelings. If you ever feel like you are overwhelmed or struggling to stay safe, there are many people available 24/7 that are ready to talk. Put these numbers in your phone or someplace safe that you can easily find them – 1-800-273-8255 (24/7 support), or text HELLO to 741741. You can also call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) for help about sexual assault.
- We’re so glad you decided to talk to your mom about what happened to you and that she connected you with the Child Advocacy Center. Please take advantage of the many supports that are out there for people that have been sexually assaulted. The CAC can put you in touch with groups of people that have similar experiences and can relate to what you are experiencing.
- No one, including Teen Central, should tell you what you should do about your uncle. This is your decision and is in your control. You weren’t able to choose what happened to you as a child, but this decision is yours. It is your story to tell or not tell.
- Hard decisions are usually not black and white – and you clearly see grey when considering this choice about going to court and holding your uncle accountable. You can see the potential positive and negative effects of moving forward. Consider using the MAKING HARD DECISIONS tool in the TOOLS section to help you. You deserve a lot of credit for your good character that you are considering the potential impact on your uncle’s family. Not everyone would do that.
- Consider asking the CAC to connect you with other people that have been through dealing with a sexual assault. Listen to their experiences and maybe it will help you make the best decision for yourself. There is no right or wrong choice here, just the best choice in a very sad situation. The most important thing is that you are taking care of yourself. Do things that help you feel calm and peaceful. Music, journaling, art, dance, nature, meditation, yoga – there are many ways to care for yourself through this time (CHECK OUT TOOLS AND LEARN FOR INFORMATION).
- You are very strong for speaking up for yourself. Whatever you decide is best for you, we support you!