Sexual Assault Care: Getting Your Life Back - Why Tell? - Help for victims, information on sexual assault, date rape sexual assault myths facts sexual assault law victim

To Tell or Not To Tell

Telling someone about the sexual assault may be a difficult thing to do.  However, telling is an important part of healing.  Here are some thoughts and suggestions that might help you.

 Why Tell  Where to Tell  What to Tell
 Why Not Tell  Who to Tell  When to Tell


I told someone about the sexual assault because . . .

  • I didn't want this to happen to me again
  • I didn't want this to happen to someone else
  • The feelings kept building up inside of me, making me feel worse
  • I wanted to take action against the person that assaulted me
  • I was behaving differently at home and my parents kept asking what was wrong
  • I realized that the problem was too big for me to deal with alone and I needed help
  • I was having trouble eating
  • I kept thinking about what happened and couldn't concentrate
  • I was having trouble sleeping
  • My friends couldn't figure out why I was acting different
  • I hoped that by telling someone I would feel better
  • I kept crying and my friends encouraged me to talk
  • I needed some help deciding what to do



Here are some reasons individuals who have been sexually assaulted didn't want to tell . . .

  • I thought it was my fault
  • I was too embarrassed
  • I thought people would talk about me if they knew
  • I was afraid.  He said he would come back and hurt me if I told
  • I thought no one would believe me
  • I just want to forget about it
  • I want to deal with this myself
  • I was afraid to tell the police
  • My parents have enough to deal with
  • My parents might get mad at me
  • I was afraid of what my father may do
  • I can't let my boy/girl friend find out
Here are some reasons specific to guys . . .

  • I was afraid people will think I'm a "wuss"
  • I thought people might think that I'm gay
  • I'm embarrassed that another guy touched me sexually
  • The offender threatened to beat me up if I said anything
  • I didn't realize what was happening
  • I thought this person was my friend
  • I could lose my place on the team if I told on the coach
  • What if girls won't like me anymore



Choosing a place is also very important.  Consider finding  . . .

  • A quiet place where there are no distractions
  • A place where you will not be interrupted
  • A place where you feel safe
  • A place where you can cry if you want to, shout if you want to, and not feel ashamed



Choosing the right person to tell can help you feel better.  It is important to tell someone that you trust.  This can be your . . .

  • Parents
  • Someone in your family
  • Teacher
  • Doctor/Nurse
  • Friend
  • Sexual Assault Care Centre
  • Police
  • Counsellor
  • Religious
  • Someone that you know who
    will help you



When you tell the person you trust, consider telling only what you feel comfortable talking about . . .

  • It is more important to talk about how you are feeling than the details of the assault
  • It's not necessary to talk about the incident all at once
  • It's okay to tell a little-bit-at-a-time
  • If talking about the incident is difficult for you, writing or drawing may be helpful
  • If you choose to tell the police, you should tell them everything you can remember, even if some parts may be embarrassing like drinking, taking drugs or breaking family rules



The decision to tell someone becomes easier . . .

  • When you feel ready to talk about it
  • When you are strong enough to talk about it
  • When you find the right person to talk to
  • When you feel safe and supported

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