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Child Abuse

Confronting an Abuser

10/11/2000

Question:

I am a 16 year old girl. I just remembered something that happened when I was very little--my older cousin sexually abused me. She didn`t hurt me and she was very young too--13 I think--but now I feel weird around her. I don`t really want to say anything because she is married now and a nice, normal person. It might ruin her life and I am not really affected by it at all. What should I do--just forget about it or confront her? I don`t see how confronting her would do any good though.

Answer:

You offer little information regarding the nature and extent of the sexual abuse so it is difficult to assess the situation. It is clear however that indeed the situation has had an impact on you as you suddenly remember it and and are concerned regarding the course you should take. I feel strongly that you need to talk with a professional therapist who can help you sort out the issues and determine what would be the best course of action. In most jurisdictions the time lapse between the disclosure and the incident would not effect the reporting however I underline the importance of seeking a good therapist to assist you. Good luck.

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Response by:

Patricia A Myers, LISW
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati