5 Ways You Can Break the Silence of Your Abuse

There may come a time that you, as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, want to tell your story. You want to break the silence that you’ve held, possibly for many years. Telling your story takes courage, and we admire your bravery. When you feel that you’re ready to do it, here are five ways that you can break the silence. These are listed in order from the most private way to the least private way.

As you make the decision to talk about what happened to you, make sure that you do it in a healthy, safe way. There can be a risk of re-traumatization if you’re not careful. Above all, take care of yourself, stay in tune with your emotions, and if it gets to be too much, take a step back and regroup.

1. Write about it.

Although writing may not seem like a real way to break your silence, it can be the first step. Pull out a journal or a piece of paper, or write on the back of an envelope. Just write it down. If you’re not ready to share what you write, go ahead and keep it secret or destroy it. Write as often as you need to until you feel like you’re ready to be more vocal or public about it.

2. Get artistic about it.

Maybe words aren’t your favorite way to communicate. Perhaps you’re better at sharing your emotions through another medium. Sharing your abuse through art, song, or some other way may give you the strength you need to vocalize what happened.

3. Talk about it.

Sit down with someone you trust—a parent, a friend, a therapist. Prepare them a little bit by letting them know that you’re telling them something that they may not know and that is difficult for you to talk about.

4. Share with others about it.

Join a support group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse led by a licensed clinician. It will give you the chance to share with others as well as hear their stories. You’ll know that you’re not alone and you’ll be able to see what therapies and techniques have worked for others.

5. Post about it.

If writing your story is the most private way to break the silence, posting about your experiences on social media would be the most public. It can also be the riskiest in terms of the responses that you’ll receive. If you post on your own page, you’ll be able to delete negative comments. If you post on another board or in the comment thread of another board, you will be at the mercy of the monitors of that board.

Talking about your sexual abuse can be freeing, but make sure that you are ready to reveal it in a way that is safe for you. There’s no pressure for you to share everything at once or to talk about it before you’re ready. Do what’s best for you and, above all, take care of yourself.