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I have never seen a question like mine in any self help column. I was a childhood incest/abuse survivor. With a lot of work, I have gotten over it, but apparently, my parents have not. They are going about telling anybody and everybody that I am "mentally ill, violent, and in desperate need of medication." They have told my landlord, the local dept. store, the local police, my employer,... have I left anybody out?

When I was younger, I thought the answer was to get a good education and a good job, and to be self sufficient. I've been to Europe, to the east, to the west. I am tired of moving and do not have unlimited funds. My family, however, is quite wealthy.

I've thought of changing my name and identification, such as drivers license and social security numbers, which I obtained when I was quite young. Can I do this? And are there any organizations that can assist me? Thank you, Victim no more

Thanks for your note to Feminist.com. It's always a sad state of comfort when I say "you are not alone." Unfortunately, I personally know two people who are in a very similar situation. Both come from very powerful families and both families refuse to acknowledge that something like "that" could possibly have happened in a nice family like theirs. I don't think that either of these families have gone to the extent that your family has--mostly because although they have tried to write these women off as "crazy" and get everyone to assume that they are making it up in their head--they also don't want to say too much--because they themselves might have to do some explaining. The other side of all of this is that if you chose to tell people what actually happened they might believe you and see the reason for your parent's misrepresentation. However, I have no idea who these people are and what sensibilities they have, so they also could not believe you.

Anyway--you had very specific questions about a name-change. You can have your name changed if you have a "good reason." If your reason is "good enough" is entirely up to the courts. I suggest you talk to a lawyer about that. Of course, you can call yourself anything, but the ID is a problem.

As for resources, yes, there are a number of groups that could help you. Most of the ones I would suggest are already listed:

1.) under past Ask Amy's in this section
2.) under the Resource guide at the V-Day site and at Feminist.com's Violence Against Women section. I think that you should find a few groups here that could help you.

If you have other questions, please let me know. Otherwise, good luck.


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