THE IDEA THAT SOMETHING LIKE THIS COULD HAPPEN TO MY CHILD IS COMPLETELY OVERWHELMING. WHAT CAN I DO TO COPE WITH MY OWN FEELINGS?

If you suspect that your child has been abused, try to get support by talking to someone else before talking to your child about the sexual abuse. If your child has already disclosed the abuse, hearing the details may be profoundly upsetting to you, particularly if the abuser is someone you know and thought you could trust.

Your feelings may range from denial, anger, and sadness, to frustration and helplessness. If you yourself are a survivor of child sexual abuse, the discovery that your child has been abused may also bring up your own painful and unresolved feelings and memories. Getting help for yourself is an important part of being able to get help and support for your child. You can contact the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) at 1-800-656-HOPE or www.rainn.org for help finding support in your area. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/) has resources and a web forum to communicate with others on topics such as child abuse, victim’s rights, court preparation, and more.

Appears in: What to do if your child discloses sexual abuse