Comments for Child Abuse story from Catherine

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May 10, 2008
There can be NO secrets...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Catherine, you can't MAKE your friend talk to you about the abuse; nor should you. Please go to my Intervention page for how to handle things if and when your friend discloses to you again.

But more importantly, you CANNOT keep your friend's secret, Catherine. You MUST tell someone in order to get her the help she needs. There can be NO SECRETS when it comes to child abuse, even when your friend makes you promise that you will keep the disclosure secret. While your friend may be angry at you at first for telling, at least she'll be safe. And as she comes to realize that your motives were pure and that you told to keep her safe, she will get over being angry at you. Indeed, deep down inside, it is highly probable that she WANTS you to tell someone. She just doesn't know how to go about it, and she's very afraid. But the point here is that if you don't report what you know to a trustworthy adult, (perhaps a school teacher or counsellor, or your own parents, so that they can report to the proper authorities) she will continue being abused. I don't think you want to live with that knowledge, Catherine; not when you know that there is something you can do to stop it.

You've written to me through my website about this, so that tells me you really care about your friend and what she is dealing with. I commend you for being such a good and caring friend. You just have to go one step further to do what good and caring friends do: whatever is necessary to keep that other person safe. Do the right thing and report this, Catherine.

And don't forget to get yourself some help. It is a very distressing thing to learn that a friend is dealing with such a horrible situation. Talk to your own parents for support, or perhaps a counsellor. Be a true friend to her, but just as importantly, be a good friend to yourself.

I sincerely wish you both all the best.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

May 12, 2008
Supporting your friend
by: Hayley

Hi Carherine, how are you and your friend. I agree with Darlene, you have been great to get your friend out of her situation and to support her when she is scared. It is ultimately up to your school friend how much she says and when. It's hardly like talking about an annoying teacher, discussing being abused.

As for your friend, could you let her have this message please?:

Hang on in there pal, you've done really well to even disclose what you have done. While the nightmares are harrowing, hard as it may be to believe this, they do get bearable. With the support you have from Catherine, it may be soon, it may take a while. I sufered abuse from the ages of 9 to 14/15, and it is only now that I have started to suffer the nightmarese. However with a good friend the same quality that you have found they are easier to deal with. Being able to look at this site is another factor for me being able to cope. You will find a way eventually, you've been strong up to now after all. Don't let your uncle and his friend get away with what they are doing. I'm not saying to go to the cops now because you obviously don't feel you can. As soon as that time comes, put in the report and get the justice that you deserve and are worth. Not so long ago, I felt wretched, worthless and useless. I talked it over with friends that I trust, and gained counselling. I am now working in a fantastic job, with fantastic colleagues and lovely patients. I wouldn't have managed that without two friends in particular. You have been lucky to have Catherine as a friend like my two friends. She's a good mate, and you are both very special young people. Hang on in there kid you can get through this and show your true colours as a fantastic young woman

Hayley has a "room" on OpenSpace at Hayley's (Screwloose) Room.

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