I just want to add some things that may be helpful for those who are just starting to want help due to being abused as a child. But BEFORE I start that I need to say this first:
IF you are, or believe you are, in immediate DANGER for your life then please call the police, if you're in the UK please call 999. Many children and indeed later people as adults suffer abuse that is simply AGAINST THE LAW. If we understood that or were able to call the police at that time, it may have helped obviously. But child abuse is unlike most crimes being committed, as many of the victims of it, are just so vulnerable they can't at the time get help or even, they don't YET understand what is actually going on. In fact a child may not believe a crime is being committed, sadly they may even believe that what is happening to them is love, they may believe it's their fault, and that it's not child abuse / neglect / rape and so on. They may also be in fear of telling someone, fear of what will happen to them by the abuser or fear of the shame they may feel, these are just a few of the many factors that mean someone hasn't yet told anyone about the abuse. Therefore abuse can go on for many many years, in fact so many years, that you may be an adult before you ask for help. OK so now...
Have you been abused and you're now wondering what to do now?
Don't worry, you're not alone in that feeling. What next depends on so many things, but first up... WELL DONE for acknowledging that you have been abused, that in itself is no easy thing for most of us and as always I am sorry, that like me, this has happened to you at all. Although each situation is different, and so can be complicated, there are a few things that are the same or similar.
So the simplest answer to the main question is to TELL or at least TALK to someone.
So let's talk about a few ways how you might be able to do this. PLEASE BE AWARE there are many other ways, I just want to at least have you consider a few options available to you. Your age is a factor here so:
CHILDREN: please consider the NSPCC childline HELPLINE 0800 1111 or website to find out more here www.childline.org.uk or try the Samaritans HELPLINE 116 123 or look at their website here www.samaritans.org
ADULTS: please consider the NAPAC HELPLINE, although not a 24 hour helpline, so its best to check the website here www.napac.org.uk or you can also try the Samaritans HELPLINE 116 123 (which is a 24 hour helpline) or look at their website here www.samaritans.org
Whatever you do, you're in a better position to move forward now that you know you have been abused, and move to get help in time.
With a lot of issues we face in life, we can often rely on the usual types of people to help BUT with child abuse, we may not be able to rely on friends & family, if they have abused us for instance, or it just might understandably be too painful and difficult to face them. That isn't unusual, most of us find talking to parents and even friends on some subjects to hard. If we have been abused by someone in a position like a teacher, a priest or others, we then may not be able to approach that organisation about it too. But please know, that even in these cases, in time, we can find others outside of that, to tell, talk to and then one day get the help you deserve.
Child abuse is so damaging in so many ways. It's damage can be far reaching, last for years and for some a lifetime. But that doesn't mean we can't find ways of improving our own situation. Above I mentioned helplines for both children and adults. IF you don't find these helpful, try another time, but most importantly of all, keep trying. There are more of theses organisations around than there ever were before. Helplines like Samaritans I like because, it can relieve some pressure on you, even if it might not give you practical help like your Doctor or others can give. And you can talk anonymously, which is so helpful to start you off on the journey.
Who you tell, and when you tell are unique to you and your situation, that is true. I found that there were times when I believed I could talk to someone, but found their reaction bad. But there were times I didn't think someone would help, but they did. Helplines like childline and samaritans are a great way, because again: you can be anonymous, and so protect yourself, until you find the right person to tell.
It is true that I (John Harrison) was treated badly when my mental health deteriorated and I began to have my past affect me and I became more aware of it (as I have a mental block with flashbacks etc). But I would still recommend several of the types of people and organisations that did this despite that because they normally would be helpful, and may well be so in your case. If you tried and used the helplines, then maybe the next step can be a Doctor. When you tell the next person, try and make it someone who is a professional who has to treat your words with confidentiality. Take a step at a time, it's about surviving each day, and eventually moving forward with your life.
With this page I just want to guide those who need it to the help that is out there and also be aware of the risks. When we talk to someone who reacts in the right way, it builds up our strength and much more. But I have found in my own situation due to my mental health, that one bad persons bad reaction is very painful. No one ever deserves to be abused. A crime has been committed against you. You deserve help. They deserve to be punished. BUT remember that the most important person in all of this is you, and I am much more interested in seeing someone that after being abused, is finally having a better life, than I am interested in what happens to the abuser afterwards.
B safe 1st always... that IS the message.
DO have a look on the HELPLINE page that I created through my own experience.
In the right hand side bar you can see a video of 'So Sad WAS I' that I wrote about calling a HELPLINE when I was vulnerable. In this case Samaritans BUT it could be any other useful helpline you call. So please call or reach out to that someone... TODAY. These are not just words, they're from my heart.