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Dear RAINN, I was sexually abused for many years by my father, and I could never bring myself to tell anyone who could do anything about it, until last year. The results of my being silent all those years were devastating to my self and my relationships causing me to never be able to trust a man, to love me, because I figured if my own father did this to me why wouldn't just anyone else. When I broke down and told my mother she was extremely hurt and disappointed in my failure to inform her sooner. She wishes that she could leave him but her financial situation is not comfortable enough to leave. The only solution that she could reach is that the day I graduated from high school I would have to leave. That killed me. All those years I thought it was my fault and when I finally realize it wasn't I get punished for it. It is nice to know that someone understands what I have endured and maybe now I can start to recover and enjoy a normal life. Thank you.

Thank you for your note to RAINN which came to me via FEMINIST.COM. I hope that RAINN will take the time to respond personally, but I wanted to add my voice to the chorus of support. You are extremely brave. There are many people who never even take the steps that you have taken and therefore, spend their lives blaming themselves and, therefore, are never able to move forward. I have heard of many cases, where the child tells a parent about their sexual abuse by another parent and the parent goes into denial and shuts the child out as a result. I'm not going to try to explain the whys and hows, except that there probably isn't only one. I'm sorry that you are being "shut out"--but I'm confident that you will get the support and understanding that you need--and your honesty is certainly providing that for others. Good luck and thanks.

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