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To Sam

Sexual Abuse or Rape

When I was 9, my cousin who is older than me got me to do things with me, I didn't know what was going on and he did things to me which at the time I thought was the right thing to do as I trusted him as he was older than me and knew more than me. This continuously happened until I was about 12, i'm now 16 and about 2 years ago I realised and understood what happened to me and I was depressed. After a while I managed to tell my mum about it and she blames herself for what happened to me as she forgot I told her when I was younger what my cousin did to me. I'm not depressed anymore, but sometimes I still get upset about it, I don't understand if what he did was sexual abuse or rape,  how can I deal with this? I don't want to bring it back up again with my mum, I just want to know how I can personally deal with this.
Thank you.
Ask Sam

Sam

Hello,

Thank you for sending your letter to me, I can hear you would like a better understanding of what happened in the past (and how you might deal with everything in the future). 

I want to let you know that what your cousin did to you was wrong and you did nothing wrong: nobody has the right to abuse anyone else. I appreciate it will have taken a lot of courage to talk to your mum about this the first time round and you have done a really positive thing by talking to ChildLine about it. For some people it can feel that talking to someone about something like this is really difficult and frightening. Many young people have told me that talking to someone about how they feel, or what has happened in the past, can be really helpful and is an important first step in getting help to deal with what has happened. It is important to remember that what happened is never the fault of the person who has been abused.

You mentioned about wanting to know whether what happened was sexual abuse or rape; I want to let you know that rape is a form of sexual abuse and there is some more information about rape and sexual assault on the ChildLine explore page.

When something like this happens to us, it can be hard to understand, especially when we know the abuser or they are a family member. If you feel like talking to mum about this again would be too difficult at the moment then I would encourage you to come and talk to one of the counsellors at ChildLine. You can do this by giving us a ring on 0800 1111, requesting a 1-2-1 chat through the website or sending ChildLine an e-mail. The counsellors will also be able to help you think about ways for you to deal with everything that has happened.

Take care,

Sam

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