Friday, March 10, 2006

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Disclosing That You Are A Victim Of Sexual Abuse

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Disclosing, Confronting or Going Public

Reprinted by Permission © 1992, Shauna Green

Survivors of various forms of abuse often want to disclose their experiences, confront their perpetrators, and/or speak-out about their abuse, in an attempt to try to help educate the public. Often the urge to share personal information about one self occurs during various stages of healing. From personal experience and talking to other Adult Survivors of childhood abuse, it is suggested that you consider the many questions listed in this article. You may also want to refer to "The Courage to Heal" ( by Laura Davis and Ellen Bass) and "The Courage to Heal Workbook" (by Laura Davis).

Unfortunately, the reality is that our society is NOT very accepting and/or understanding to the various issues of Adult Survivors of abuse, especially of Spritual Abuse and or Sadistic Ritual Abuse (SRA). The majority of the survivors I have spoken to, who have confronted individuals, and/or have gone public -- shared that they had negative experiences after they have shared their abuse histories with others. These survivors have all been met with disbelief and have been considered to be crazy, hysterical and/or delusional. Too often when individuals state that they are Adult Survivor's (of incest, cults and/or other forms of ritual abuse), they find that they automatically lose credibility.

We, as survivors can not be responsible for the reactions of others. What we can do is take control of our actions and be prepared for the outcome if we as an individual decide to share out histories with others. It is also important to be aware and accept, that the a vast number of adult survivors of sadistic abuse will not find it to be beneficial to confront, disclose and/or go public. It is vital for each individual to decide for themself, and be sure that they are not being pressured to make any decisions. This is a reminder that once you share information about yourself, you can NOT take it back.

If you thinking about going public, it is important to consider how you are going to do it.

Are you going to use your real name or a pseudonym?

Will you wear a disguise of some sort?

Will you be paid? How much?

If you are going on television will the producer of the show agree in writing to use a computer and distort both your voice and face (this is strongly suggested for the beginner)?

Will you have to sign a contract or an agreement? What will it say? It is strongly suggested you read the agreement BEFORE the day you are supposed to speak-out!

Will your attempt to educate the public cause harm to your credibility? Are you allowing yourself to be exploited?

Will it hurt you in your present or future career, social life, family life (including your spouse and children)?

The Following are some questions you can ask yourself to help you make up your mind if disclosing, confronting and/or going public is right for you.

Directions: Answer the following questions on a separate piece of paper. Think about the following questions and your answers. Share your responses with at least one trusted support person. Ask for Feedback! BEFORE you disclose and/or confront someone.

Whom do I want to tell? Why?

Is someone or something internally/externally pressuring me to disclose my abuse history or confront my perpetrator(s)? Who and/or What is pressuring me?

If my plans includes going public, what are my motives? (It's suggested you consider all of the following questions before speaking in any public forum).

What do I hope to gain from this disclosure and/or confrontation? What could I loose by this disclosure and/or confrontation? Are my expectations realistic?

Have I thought about safety issues? What are they for me?

What are my motives for confronting my perpetrators? Do I have to be concerned about my safety?

Am I confronting my perpetrator(s) to gain information? Can anyone else supply me with the information I desire?

Would I be risking something I still want from my family (i.e. financial and/or emotional support, inheritance, employment in family business, other)?

Could I live with the possibility of being excluded from family gatherings (i.e. Holidays, Weddings, Deaths in my family. . .)? What would that mean to me? How would I deal with the loss?

Am I willing to take the risk of losing contact with other family members with whom I want to stay connected? What would that mean? Would I deal with the loss?

Am I grounded and stable enough to risk being called crazy?

Could I maintain my own reality in the face of denial?

Can I withstand the anger that I am likely to face from others?

Could I handle my own anger and/or other feelings? How would I do that?

Could I handle no reaction at all?

Do I have a solid enough support system to back me up before, during and after the confrontation?

Which support people agreed to be available before, during, and after?

Can I realistically imagine both the worst and best outcomes that might result? Could I live with either one?

How have I prepared myself for the Confrontation and/or disclosure?

Other issues I've considered regarding confronting or disclosing my abuse to others.

Remember: It is important that you focus on yourself and your own personal needs before deciding to go disclose, confront and/or go public. This is also true before, during and after any confrontation. Try to remember what you want or need to say (for your own personal needs and not anyone else's), how you want to handle the situation, rather than on any response you may hope to get. Plan to process the confrontation and/or disclosure with your therapist and/or trusted support person(s). Remember, this can be an ongoing task (and that's ok).