Disclosing the Abuse

AuthorLoree Armstrong Beniuk, Jo-Anne Hughes, and Jack Reynolds
Disclosing the Abuse
Lisa was fourteen years old when she went to live with her grandfather. Lisa’s
mother had died a very traumatic death and the only relative that Lisa had was her
maternal grandfather.
When grandfather began to sexually abuse Lisa, she was too afraid to tell him to
stop. She knew that there were no other relatives with whom she could live. Grand-
father was the only person who stood between Lisa and foster care.
By the time she disclosed the sexual abuse, Lisa realized that she would have
been much better o in foster care. . . .
Lisa wanted her grandfather’s love and approval so much that she would have
done anything to obtain it. . . . Grandfather told Lisa that when they had sex it was
his “proof” of his love for her.
— Sandy Knauer, No Ordinary Life
In order for child abuse to be investigated and potentially prosecuted, and
for the children to receive support and protection, abuse f‌irst needs to come
to light. This initial hurdle can be dif‌f‌icult to overcome, as many childrendo
not come forward with what has happened to them. There are many reasons
for this—they may be fearful of the of‌fender, embarrassed, or afraid that
they may get in trouble. They may not even understand that what happened
was abuse. Many childrenwill hold on tothis information for a long time,
oen not telling until they have reachedadulthood. Some may never tell.
When suspicions of child sexual abuse are reported, there is seldom
enough information provided to appreciate everything that has taken place,

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