Why Sexual Abuse Victims Wait to Disclose

In the United States, every nine minutes, a child is sexually assaulted. Yet not every survivor tells someone, be it a friend, family member, teacher, or police officer, about their abuse. Often, if they do disclose, it is not until months, years, or even decades after the abuse occurred. There are various reasons why someone waits to disclose their abuse.



Even though sexual assault is never the fault of the victim, many times, those who experience it feel like something is wrong with them or that they did something they shouldn’t have. If you feel shame about something, then you are less likely to want to talk about it with someone else.



Children, in particular, may feel fear about what will happen if they disclose their abuse. Perhaps the abuser has threatened them with harm if they tell. There can also be different types of fear. Fear of not being believed. Fear of how others will react and treat you. Fear of being judged. All of these fears can contribute to someone staying silent about their abuse.



People, especially children, who have experienced sexual abuse may not know they have rights. They are, therefore, less likely to know what will happen if they do disclose. They may not know that they are not required to report it to the police if they don’t want to. Children may even be confused about whether they’ve actually experienced sexual abuse. Some people don’t recognize sexual abuse until someone points it out to them.



Sometimes when people experience sexual abuse, they go over the incident repeatedly in their heads and wonder if they could have done anything differently. They try to make sense of what happened and may blame themselves. Like with shame, if someone feels guilty about something, they are less likely to want to talk about it.



It is not uncommon for victims of sexual abuse to want to forget it ever happened and move on. They can do this by not thinking about or talking about what happened. Talking about a traumatic experience is painful, and some people may avoid it all costs.


The Child Victims Act Can Help

If you were sexually abused as a child and are ready to disclose, you may also want to consider the possibility of getting justice against your abuser and the institutions that may have enabled them. Even if it has been decades since your abuse, you may still pursue justice thanks to the Child Victims Act. The Child Victims Act extends the statute of limitations for sexual abuse. Survivors now have until they are 55 years old to file a claim against their abuser. If this time has already passed, there is a lookback period that allows you to still file a claim before August of 2021.


We Can Help.

If you were the victims of childhood sexual abuse, you might want to consider meeting with the compassionate and trusted attorneys at Bonina & Bonina, P.C. We have been at the forefront of Child Victims Act litigation and have been helping many survivors get the justice they deserve. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.