Who Should I Tell About My Sexual Abuse and in What Order?
Talking about sexual abuse, especially talking about it for the first time, is a daunting task. Every survivor has a different journey for disclosing their experience of abuse to family, friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, there is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach for disclosing sexual abuse. The order of who you tell will vary from one survivor to the next. For many survivors, speaking with a therapist or mental health professional can be a good place to start. A therapist may be able to provide input on how to approach disclosing to others.
Do I Have to Tell Anyone Besides My Lawyer?
You do not have to tell anyone about your lawsuit if you do not want to. Who you confide in and when is a very personal decision. It is important to note that if you contact us, any information you share will be kept completely confidential. One of our top priorities is always respecting and maintaining the privacy and anonymity of survivors.
We do strongly suggest, however, that you work with a therapist during the process and talk to that therapist openly and honestly about any challenges you are facing. This is ultimately your choice.
To minimize risks and maximize the best possible outcomes, there are many things to consider in navigating with whom survivors communicate about their abuse. Working with an attorney experienced in representing adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse is so important.
Contact us to learn more. It’s commitment-free and 100% confidential.
If I Tell a Lawyer or a Therapist, are They Required to Report My Abuse to Law Enforcement?
Your attorney is bound by attorney-client privilege, although a qualified attorney will encourage you to report to law enforcement confidentially if it is appropriate for your particular situation.
The attorney will also be with you throughout the reporting process.
Your therapist is your partner in healing. Therapists are mandatory reporters if they feel that you are in danger or in danger of harming yourself and/or others. They will also make a report if you are still a minor and you disclose your abuse. But in the majority of cases of adult survivors, they will not be required to report.
You can, however, ask them to file a report on your behalf. They can do this while protecting your confidentiality.
My Church Has a Line for Reporting Sexual Abuse. Should I Call Them?
If your church or parish has a reporting line, your attorney or therapist can give you guidance on if they recommend calling that line and how to protect yourself during the process. If church officials ask you to come in and meet with them, we strongly suggest you do so with your attorney present.