disclosing abuse

7 Vital Things to Consider Before Speaking Out About Abuse

speaking out about abuse

I started writing publicly about my childhood sexual abuse over six years ago. I jumped in with a lot of passion but without much knowledge of what I was jumping into. I only thought about how freeing it was to speak the truth and how much I wanted to validate other survivors.

Writing about my healing process has been a wonderful journey. Through it, my voice has been strengthened and so has my resolve to continue to heal. I don’t regret any of this, but I wish I had been better prepared to face the challenges that have come with this.

Here are a few things to consider before speaking out about abuse:

How I Took Control of My Life by Reporting My Sexual Abuse

Sending My Molester to Jail

I never expected that I’d be reporting my sexual abuse. When I was nineteen, I finally shared the secret I’d kept all my life—my dad had sexually abused me for most of my childhood. My parents had recently divorced so the fear that my disclosure would end their marriage no longer applied.

My mom knew of another girl my dad had molested before my mom met him so she offered to go with me to report him. I told my mom that I didn’t want to take action out of vengeance. Looking back, the truth was much more complicated.

My dad had controlled so much of my life up to that point, even more than I realized. I was groomed for so long to protect him, even at my expense. Telling my mom about the abuse was one thing, but telling the police was another.

I Blamed Myself For My Abuse Since I Didn’t Tell

shame for not telling about my sexual abuseby Christina Enevoldsen

When my daughter was nineteen and her father and I were in the middle of a divorce, she shared the horrible truth about what her dad had been doing to her for most of her life. As I tried to wrap my head around the fact that I had been completely blind all those years, a few words slipped from my mouth, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

I know now how painful those words can be. They communicate that all would have been well if only she would have come to me. That question might have also meant, “If that’s really true, then why are you only telling me now?” But I never doubted the truth and I didn’t blame her. My reaction came from feeling like a fool for being deceived by my husband all those years.