I found this section of the article below to be especially important for survivors to know.
“The secret of child sexual abuse is especially shaming. It can make you feel like there is something seriously wrong with you; that you are inferior or worthless. You want to hide for fear of your secret being exposed. You don’t want to look other people in the eye for fear that they will discover who you really are and what you have done. You don’t want people to get too close for fear of them finding out your dark secret. And to make matters worse, carrying around this secret isolates you from other people. It makes you feel different from others. It makes you feel alone.
There is already a tremendous amount of darkness connected to child sexual abuse: the clandestine, sinister way it is accomplished; the manipulation and dishonesty surrounding it; the lies and deception used to keep it a secret; the darkness and pain surrounding the violation of a child’s most intimate parts of his or her body; and the violation of the child’s integrity. Keeping the abuse a secret adds darkness to an already dark and sinister act.
When you don’t share the secret of child sexual abuse you don’t have the opportunity to receive the support, understanding and healing you so need and deserve. You continue to feel alone and to blame yourself. You continue to be overwhelmed with fear and shame.”
The rest of the article though, is very important not only to survivors, but to anyone out there who lacks understanding when it comes to what a big deal telling someone is. When I talk about the fact that you almost assuredly know at least one survivor, this is why. There is so much involved in keeping this secret that many survivors never tell anyone, or tell only one or two people in their entire lives. The shame that they feel about being an abuse survivor prevents them from opening up about it, and sadly, society still has a ways to go before survivors can truly feel “safe”.
We may have gotten slightly better as a society with talking about abuse, but we still struggle with the proper reaction to have to victims of child abuse, sexual violence, domestic violence, etc. Until we can eliminate that we should never question why someone would not disclose for years, if ever. We don’t exactly make it safe for them.
And that assumes that the survivor has a clear memory of what happened. I know I don’t. I couldn’t give you a clear timeline of events for my childhood that could be investigated. I dissociated for much of it. I have snippets of memories. They may not even be in order. They happened, but a lot of the details of when, where, what, are lost to me, for good reason. My still-developing psyche couldn’t handle them. If I went public now, would that inability to remember details make me a liar in your judgement? It shouldn’t. There’s nothing abnormal about that.
So educate yourselves.