How to Talk to Your Parents about Sexual Assault
Talking to your parents regarding sexual assault, your own sexual assault, is a sensitive subject to say the least. Many times the parents will either do 1 or 2 things. Both of which are not very healthy.
- They will blame themselves for not being able to protect you.
- They will blame you for being in the wrong place, doing the wrong things.
Again, neither of these reactions are healthy. I find that parents come across as being blameful when they really are not meaning to be. This is a raw emotion and telling your parent that you have been raped exposes a nerve and fills them with great pain. In my opinion, it may not always be in your best interest to share this with a parent. Ask yourself these questions:
- Will telling my parents change the fact that I was raped?
- Will telling my parents provide any comfort for me?
- Will telling my parents possibly build a barrier between us?
Let me change directions now. If you were raped, filed a police report, went to the ER and had a rape kit done and plan on pressing charges, then you need to tell your parents. Less than 1% of all rapes are ever reported. If you are that 1% I applaud you and I would say that it is crucial that you tell your folks. You will need the support of your family, friends and victim advocates. So here is how I would address it.
Call your local rape crisis center and speak with a victim advocate. This advocate will help you in every way possible; even helping you share this with your parents. Your advocate will probably go through a role playing scenario where the advocate is the parent and you can practice how you will disclose your story. Your advocate can even be with you when you decide to have this conversation.
Your parents are going to feel a little helpless. Let them know that they can best help you by supporting you, listening to you and letting you deal with this in your way. The advocate will even have resources for your parents because they too will need to heal. Tell your parents that you are sharing this with them because you love them and you need their strength right now.
Be patient with yourself and with your parents. This is a horrible crime that has been committed on you. The wounds are big and they remain open for a while. Remember though, you can be a survivor, you just have to be willing to ask for help.
You will definitely need to seek some type of counseling or support group. Utilize this when you are ready. Keep the lines of commuication open with your folks and use your victim advocate. They are trained and have a passion for helping victims.