Am I being oversensitive?

Discussion in 'Rape and Abuse' started by Jabez, Oct 9, 2015.

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  1. Jabez

    Jabez Well-Known Member

    A colleague (the team's counsellor) told me recently that a client of ours was sexually abused, but that the rest of the team should not be told - that if they asked what was behind behaviours related to the abuse and why she's going to court I should tell them that her father hit her, because that "is more acceptable".
    WTF? I feel like I've been told all over again that being a victim / survivor of sexual abuse is unacceptable, shameful, has to be hidden. I feel dirty and ashamed twice over - for my own experience of abuse and for being enlisted to cover and lie about my client's. Surely if even professionals providing care to a child have to be given an "acceptable" cover story that is perpetuating the culture of shame and secrecy that allows abuse to occur and continue and prevents victims seeking help in the first place? Or am I just being oversensitive?
  2. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Hi, Jabez. Survivors of sexual assault/abuse have nothing to be ashamed of. I'm sorry you have had those experiences yourself. I think it's good you are in place where you have learned there is nothing to be ashamed of!

    The confusing point for me is your colleague's use of "more acceptable". That doesn't really explain...why would any assault be acceptable at all, and why would "hitting" be okay to talk about and sexual abuse/assault not? It's not clear to me exactly what your colleague meant. I can see why it triggered your feelings.
  3. Terry

    Terry Antiquities Friend Staff Alumni

    She may have asked that it not be shared with anyone else.
    I agree that it smacks of "lets not go there", my own abuse, though known about by my family, is very much a 'buried under the carpet' subject,
    I'd be tempted to take this further with your colleague, and ask why you are being asked to give a cover story.
    See what they say and take it from there.
  4. True-Lee

    True-Lee Well-Known Member

    NO! Jabez you are not being overly sensitive. I do not believe that either is acceptable, Your Colleague is wrong. why would some one in your field suggest doing such a thing, you and that child are being abused again as well as anyone else that has ever been abused that way!
    That type of attitude is what keeps people that abuse safe! That is denial, in it's worst form, why would this person enlist your help in perpetuating a lie, because that is what it is!
    Do you have any choice in this, are you able to refuse? what will happen if you do not do as asked?
    I feel that you are being abused to be told to say it, then again by being asked to repeat it to others! so Yes I agree with you
    Jabez be safe, take care of yourself,don't forget that there are others here,
  5. Cicada 3301

    Cicada 3301 Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    I don't understand the "cover story" provided, it's completely unacceptable to say that they should not be told the true nature of the abuse, but if asked, told that she was hit by her father. Either it should remain private and between the counsellor, client and you, or the full truth should be told - not some made up story.

    I don't think you are being over sensitive. I don't know what to say to "it is more acceptable", it's really bad to even go down this line of trying to compare the abuse or pain someone has received. People need to realise that it is not the victims fault, nor does it have to be hidden in our society. Victims shouldn't feel afraid or alone in their fight for justice, they should have support and help from the beginning.

    I don't think it is in any way right to go with that cover story. If nobody else should be told, then it should remain that way, regardless of if they ask or not. I think the client deserves that amount of privacy if it has been requested. Maybe the client just does not want others to know, but the cover story that your colleague asked you to provide is just insensitive and thoughtless. I'm sorry this has upset you so much, I hope you feel better soon (hugs).
  6. Jabez

    Jabez Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much everyone for your thoughts and support. It helps a lot to know that others see it the same way as me.
    I totally support confidentiality and the individuals right to choose who they tell their story to (beyond ensuring that they get the help they need and the perpetrator is stopped) - and that is probably what underlies the request my colleague made but if that's the case I shouldn't have been told either!, but not being asked to lie about it. And I agree that NO form of abuse is acceptable or more/less damaging than another.
    True-Lee you have hit it exactly - I actually do feel abused in this situation. I've been anxious and triggered and chaotic ever since the conversation where this request was made.
    Thanks again everyone for your support.
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