I’m a child psychologist and have heard many stories of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. For some, it was the first time they’d ever spoken of experiences.
I have something to say:
If you’re a young person experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation, it may feel like no one will believe you, or that saying something may make it worse. I want you to know there are adults who will believe you, who truly want you to be safe and to experience all the joy that youth has to offer. Adults who believe in you, your inner strength, and your ability to grab control of your life.
It’s true, it may get worse, for a bit. Abusers don’t like being ‘found out’. People you love may turn their back on you. But you will not be facing this alone anymore. You will gain back power and control. You will get to determine who you are. Sharing your truth gives a sense of freedom that you may not have even known you were missing.
If you aren’t ready to share your story, that’s okay too. I encourage you to find people in your life who see and hear you, who don’t expect more from you than you’re willing to give. Find adults you admire and respect, who respect you back. They can serve as a lifeboat in the sea of chaos and mistrust.
You matter. You deserve to live in safety and joy, to experience your childhood, and to trust others.