There can be nothing in the world more terrifying than being in a situation that you cannot escape from, and while in that situation being physically or sexually abused. As a child or young teen you have no other place to go than home. If you attempt to run away then the police are likely to take you back to that home. If you tell the wrong person then they may tell the person abusing you and that could make it worse. If you tell somebody and they do not believe you or do not help then you realize you are stuck and have no choices left. That is where many of them that come to SF, a support forum, are at. They feel like the only possible escape from the daily pain and terror is suicide.
Like so many other situations of people feeling suicidal, the feeling of “there is no hope and nobody cares” is one thing, but the reality is quite different. In the case of abused children and teens in most countries around the world the reality is very different. While they have been abused and misled by terror and pain, as well as being conflicted by societal beliefs that “families should stick together” and that it is wrong to “say anything that could get a family member in trouble” the reality is society is well aware of the need to protect those that cannot protect themselves and set up many avenues of help.
The solution to getting out of an abusive environment is simply to not be silent. Not only do you need to tell somebody, but you need to tell somebody that can actually help. Another teen or child is unlikely able to help much at all. Telling an anonymous stranger on the internet in a chat group or forum will not solve the problem of abuse. Talking about it on social media will not make the problem go away.
If you have told a parent or other adult about someone abusing you and they do not immediately act then you cannot depend on them to ever act. It is not for them to “work out” or “try to talk to the person”. If they do anything but make clear you are safe by taking you to a safe place and involving the authorities then you have not told the right person. If they appear angry with you do not trust that they are going to help you and do not stay in a dangerous situation while they “try to figure it out”.
Who to Tell
In the US there are many people you can go to. The easiest are teachers, guidance counselors, and/or school principals where you likely can talk without worrying about the parent or family member over hearing since you are there daily. Do not let them brush it aside and tell the absolute truth. If you exaggerate in any way you run the risk of an investigation showing parts being a lie so then the assumption is all may be a lie.
Do not lie about it, and do not hide parts. You do not need to tell the precise details or relive the abuse in anyway with the school faculty, but you have to say physically abused with hands/ belt/ whatever actually happens, or sexually abused by touching or forcing sex/ sexual contact. Tell them what happened and that you want them to get you help and they will. Do not try to use innuendo or hints and expect them to guess. Like pulling off a band aid- just do it and get it said directly to make it easier. If any reason you feel like they are not getting you help or not believing, immediately ask to see the guidance counselor or principal- get another member of the staff involved and repeat what happens or has happened and that you want them to get you help.
In addition to teachers, school staff, you can go into any hospital or medical facility and tell the nurses or doctors there. Most often on a regular doctor visit they ask a question about do you feel safe in your home. If you do not say no and tell them why and that you want help. You can call 911 in the US and tell them and they will send help immediately and stay on the phone with you until help gets there. You can call 211 and get immediate help as well from social service agencies as well as police if needed. Since you are using a computer to read this you can go to www.211.org to get help. Be cautious with using your computer – if you need help then get help. Simply looking for help and not getting it while using a computer that could show you are looking for help could endanger you in a sexually or physically abusive situation. Actually get the help so that you do not risk the abuser seeing you are thinking about it but you have not yet got it.
There are also specific child help lines in US –
Every state has its own helplines as well. Search for “Child helpline <state> “
Other countries al have their own mandated reporters to help, in most of Western Europe they are similar to the US ones, but dialing the emergency services number will work as will talking to the school and asking them to help you get help and contact the correct place to get safe.
UK – https://www.childline.org.uk/ Call 0800 1111
In other countries simply search for “child helpline (country)” to find the resources you use.
If you are a child and are being abused, you have the power to stop it. Simply tell the people that can help you and ask for that help.