Comments for Child Abuse Story From Rachael

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Apr 09, 2009
Part 1: Tennessee statute of limitations...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Rachael, you did NOTHING wrong. None of what happened to you was your fault. None of it. Blames lies exclusively with your abuser. Even though you may realize this on a logical level, on an emotional level you may have more difficulty coming to terms. You mentioned that therapy "saved your life". Lean on that therapy and on what you learned in your sessions to get you through those moments where you may still blame yourself. It wasn't your fault, Rachael, it wasn't your fault.

You said, "But because nothing happened after my eighth birthday, nothing can be done." I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know if what I'm about to write applies to you specifically, but you may want to look into it further. In the state of Tennessee, the law concerning the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse says that a person has one year from the date s/he turns 18 to make a report. An attorney would be in the best position to give you details about this and how it applies to your situation.

If you do decide to go this route, you should go into it with your eyes wide open. Abuse victims generally go through the court system expecting to get justice for the crimes committed against them. But that doesn't always happen. First, a prosecutor will only go to court if s/he believes there is a high probability of a conviction. Second, historical child sexual abuse is very difficult to prove without the physical evidence. Third, based on the evidence provided, it is up to the court to decide whether or not there was enough evidence to hand down a guilty verdict. When such cases result in a not guilty verdict, the abuse victim feels re-victimized, in effect being told (probably not for the first time) that s/he is not believed. You must be prepared for such a possibility, Rachael. You must have some type of support system in place in order to help you through the stage of gathering evidence, the court case itself, and the possible outcomes. If you do go through with this and you do go to court, regardless of the verdict, you KNOW what happened to you. You know what this man did to you. You know that you were wronged.

See Part 2: Today... below.

A Video Reading by Darlene Barriere
Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Apr 09, 2009
Part 2: Today...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

There is nothing you can do to change what this uncle did to you, Rachael. There was nothing you could do when you were a child. Try not to apply more adult values to the choices you did and did not make as a child. You did what you believed you needed to do to stay as safe as possible. And your uncle took advantage of that. He knew he didn't have to come right out and tell you not to tell; he knew his vile actions against you were threat enough to keep you quiet. In fact, he counted on it. He was the adult; and as the adult, he held all the power.

But you now have the power to effect change in your life. You hold all the cards for you future. What you do and how you handle yourself today is critical to your ability to move forward. No matter the choice you make, I have faith that you will continue to move forward.

Thank you for sharing your story with my visitors and me.

A Video Reading by Darlene Barriere
Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Apr 09, 2009
thank you
by: Rachael

Thank you, Darlene, for providing a safe place to tell. I don't have evidence, so I'm not going to attempt to go to court. But because of what happened, I know that I want to help childeren when I grow up. I'm still vague as to how, but as long as one kid gets help it will be worth it.

From Darlene: Rachael, whether you work directly with children, are an advocate for children (abused or not), or simply work at making the world a better place for children by standing up and sharing what happened to you, I have no doubt it will be powerful. You are an amazingly strong young woman; at seventeen, you've already decided to turn pain into power. I commend you for that. What I will also say that I didn't say earlier is that the fact there is a report on record for the abuse your uncle inflicted upon you all those years ago could well eventually prevent another young girl from being molested if anyone else ever comes forward. Sex offenders don't change their ways. It is VERY likely your uncle has, and continues to, molest. More than one sexual offense report could mean he will have to answer for what he did, and thus prevent someone else from suffering the same fate. So if the report is not on record, Rachael, I would file a disclosure with the authorities.


A Video Reading by Darlene Barriere
Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir


Apr 09, 2009
I Can Relate to Your Story!
by: Linda

Rachael, your story saddened me so much. My "Favorite Uncle" sexually molested me when I was eight years old and my trust in men was completely shattered. I can understand your feelings of feeling like you did something wrong. But you didn't, your uncle did something terribly wrong to you. You were just a little girl who trusted. Your uncle needs to be locked up for the rest of his perverted life. If I sound bitter it is because I am! I'm fifty-two years old and it is a struggle every day to try and move on from my past abuse. You are still young and you have alot of help out there. I didn't have anyone to turn to, because back in the sixties no one talked about abuse or believed you when you did tell. If I had told my mother she would have called me a liar and whipped me with a belt. Back then people would say ; Oh! that is uncle so-n-so's way. Or, you can't pay attention to grandpa, he is just a touchy, feely, person. They don't mean anything by it. It makes me sick. I'm glad you got some counseling and it helped you out. This website is a big help for me. I'm better for being able to just tell my abuse story without repercussions. Keep up your spirits and follow your heart about what you decide to do about your uncle.....

Apr 10, 2009
Bad...Bad..Uncles
by: Maurice

Oh Rachael, At seventen almost, Darlene is always in the better place to support, love, and suggest waht is your best way forward to telling your story. Her comments to you are real and deep. Hvaing gone through telling her own story she sure does know it is best for you to tell. You have inner strength to do something about that awful Uncle. I want to use stronger words to discribe him but You know he used and abused you because of your beautiful innocence as a child. he drained that from your thinking and being. Bad...Bad Man. He deserves to be named and shamed. in the hope he does or will not doi it again to another innocent child. Rachael please take the brave steps Darlene advises. It will take time but shaming your uncle will release the guilty feeling you may have about what he did. YOU DID NOTHING WRONG RACHAEL.

Apr 11, 2009
hi. We're proud of you :)
by: Cassie1

You are a STRONG and COURAGEOUS young seventeen year old that is standing up for yourself and deciding to help others. You are someone to look up to, and someone that I know many children will look up to including myself. What you went through, EVERYTHING you went through is NEVER going to be your fault. If you ever think that it is, keep saying I didn't do anything wrong. Maybe it will go through your head at some point. I'm so very glad that you are with a therapist, and that it has "saved your life". Maybe you would like to go into being a therapist, or school councelor? I don't honestly know what to say about going to the court. I say to go with what you think is the right thing to do. Everything will turn out right in the end. Just keep standing up strong, and keep living your days a day at a time. Live your days to the best it can be, and try to keep the past away from your future. You'll have your good and bad days, but it is good to try and make your bad day somehow good. There's always a good thing out of a bad thing. I'm sure this is a lot to read, so I will stop now. Just remember! You are never to blame for this, and you are a strong, courageous hero to many.
With much love,
Cassie1

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