Why Do Many Survivors Delay Talking About Child Abuse?
It is estimated that the vast majority of male and female
child abuse victims do not report abuse. Some
survivors delay disclosure because they fear they will be
threatened by their abuser, are worried they will not be
believed or that they will be blamed and possibly punished, feel
guilty and ashamed, or want to protect their families and
sometimes the perpetrator. Other concerns include a
feeling of responsibility for the abuse, a sense of confusion
and betrayal because they were physically aroused by the abuse,
difficulty in finding the right time to talk about the past, and
an inability to recognize child abuse as abusive, perhaps
because they were led to believe that it was normal.
Survivors should be encouraged not to confuse the abnormality of
the abuse with their own identity: the abuse was abnormal, but
they are perfectly normal.
Caregivers must make themselves more aware of symptoms
exhibited by both male and female survivors. This knowledge will
help families, doctors, teachers and protective service workers
to identify and report alleged abuse to the proper authorities.