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Dear Amy,

Yesterday, my daughter (now 20) told me that she had been raped 5 years ago when visiting another state on vacation. Her father and I were divorced and he had been trusted with her supervision and safety on the vacation - instead- leaving her (in lieu of his own preoccupation with women) and her girlfriend to fend for themselves. In their innocense- they accepted an invitation to go swimming at a private home, where both of the girls were raped. Presently, my daughter feels numb about the experience and wishes to keep this a secrect out of self-blame and shame. She declines going to counseling and just wants the subject dropped. Can you suggest what I might do to be the most supportive in her healing process? How can she heal if the truth is concealed?

Thank you for your help!



The fact that your daughter has even told you after five years, I think, is a sign of progress and just telling one person perhaps helped her to feel "better" about it. Just breaking that silence is usually the best start for healing.

Her response is also totally consistent with most others who have been raped -- by far the majority don't want to press charges -- which isn't altogether bad, since justice rarely prevails in that way. However, for the future, it is always better to have some of this documented. As for helping her, I think it's best to just ler her know that you are there to talk and that there are resources out there -- she will find way to talk about it and move on. It sounds like she is already doing that.

Take care,

— Amy

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