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To Sam

Repressing secrets...

Hi. Where shall I begin? Well, when I was around 8 years old, I was molested by two of my cousins, both on seperate occasions. Now, I told my family and it seemed that only my mum believed me. My father hated what I said and I'm sure he hates me still. There's a secret I kept, though. My uncle has also molested me and I have tried for the past 8 years to pretend it hasn't happened. Nobody knows this. Not even my mother. My childhood was stolen and I have had to grow up extremely quickly. As a 15 year old, I am finding it hard to keep this secret. When males such as teachers or fellow peers talk to me I feel scared and rather intimidated. I seem to be fearful of every male until they gain my trust. I feel sad and stressed. Like I said, nobody knows this and I'm writing to you in the way I would write a letter. I'm unburdening myself.

Hope you reply.

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Sam

Hi there,

Thanks so much for getting in touch with me. It was really brave to tell me about the abuse you've had to deal with. It was also really brave of you to tell me about the abuse by your cousins and it sounds like your dad’s reaction has been tough to deal with. 

I understand how difficult and scary it can be to tell someone your secrets so I do really appreciate what you have told me. I can understand why you might have kept your uncle’s abuse a secret. The problem with keeping secrets is that sometimes they take on a bit of a life of their own and keeping the secret starts to cause problems. For example, secrets may have lead to you feeling sad or stressed out. Keeping it all inside could be why you have anxiety around men. 

I’ve found that the only way to really deal with the secrets is to get them out, to tell someone about them. Sometimes they lose their power once they are out and it might mean you can start getting some help to deal with the trauma of the abuse. It can also be a relief to feel that you have no secrets anymore.

Telling someone is easier said than done sometimes. It can be really scary and it's important that you find the right person to tell. As you’ve learned, people’s reactions to your secrets can have a big impact too. Think about which adults in your life you can trust with this. Remember that certain people like teachers/youth workers etc wouldn’t be able to keep it confidential and would have to pass on what you tell them. 

You can always talk to one of our counsellors here any time. They would be able to keep it confidential unless you told us someone’s life was in danger.

Talking about abuse can sometimes be a long process and you’ve made a massive step in writing to me. I really want you to know that I believe you and I know that what happened to you wasn’t your fault. You’ve done the right thing telling me and I think you have shown true courage. I hope you can keep in touch with us.

Take care,
Sam

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