Sharing – I wrote a memoir about abuse. That doesn’t mean you’re entitled to every detail

I’m going to go ahead and agree with what Gemma says here, though I know that might not surprise you.

“I wrote a memoir about child sexual abuse, so I asked for this. Or did I?

Some of these questions have been prompted by readers, but mostly they have been prompted by the media. In particular, an interview at a radio station which asked for intimate details about the abuse that I found uninformed and uncomfortable, and who gave my mobile number to at least one listener who called in after it aired. The station has since apologised, but my mobile kept me awake through the night as it vibrated with messages from people who had heard the broadcast, reinvoking the anxiety that comes with feeling violated.”

Yeah, no. Look, I maintain a website about being a survivor of child abuse, but I’ve never written a memoir about my abuse. There’s a reason for that, and that is because I don’t want to share my story that way.

And guess what? That is entirely my choice. It is entirely my choice to give out as much, or as little, detail about my abuse on this website too.

Every survivor has the freedom to choose how, when, and in what detail, they want to share their story. You can ask for more, but you also have to respect the survivor’s choice to not answer. They don’t owe you that. The only time it’s really even appropriate to press for details if you’re a criminal prosecutor trying to help the survivor bring the abuser to justice.

Outside of that very specific situation? No, we don’t owe you anything. You can support a survivor without knowing all the details. In fact, respecting their boundaries around what they decide to share, is one great way to support them in their healing. They’ve already had too many people not respect their boundaries.

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One Comment

  1. What we share is our choice and nobody has the right to pressurise us for more , if we want to talk we will if we don’t we won’t, respect us for that. xx???

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