Sometimes an offender will threaten you to stop you from telling.
They might say things like:
- “If you tell it will split the family apart.”
- “You’ll get into trouble if you tell.”
- “People won’t believe you and they‘ll think you’re crazy.”
- “If you tell I’ll hurt you/your mum/the dog.”
- “I’ll go to jail and the family won’t have anywhere to live if you tell anyone.”
- “If you tell you won’t be allowed to live at home anymore.”
- “If you tell I will kill you.”
The offender wants you to believe their threats so that you keep quiet. They know that what they are doing is against the law. They probably won’t try and get back at you for telling, because they know they are already in trouble and don’t want to make it worse for themselves.
Usually when someone talks about being sexually abused, it’s a big relief because it takes a lot of energy to keep such a heavy secret.
Things will change after you tell. Some changes will be good, some might be really hard. You can get support to help with the hard stuff.
If you don’t tell, you can’t keep safe. When people live feeling scared all the time, it affects their mental health. This can mean that it’s harder to concentrate on school and other normal growing up stuff.