Modeling Courage

Dr. Darcy, I have I very serious problem. When I was around 10 I was a model and stayed at my photographers house for a summer. Over the summer I was sexually molested many, many times. And my parents still don't know.... and it really bothers me and it is one reason I am depressed and I don't know how to tell my parents because I am afraid they are going to be mad at me. And I'm scared because my mom still talks to him...I'm just really scared and don't know what to do.

ANSWER

I am so sorry to hear that an adult abused his or her authority and molested you.  How awful.  And you are right – it’s likely contributing to any depression you may be feeling.  And it will continue to cause depression until you shift from being a victim to being a survivor…and that starts with telling your parents so that they can get you the help you need to begin healing from the abuse.

Let me start by telling you that no matter how it happened, it is not your fault.  Children are not responsible for maintaining appropriate boundaries – Adults are. And while I understand that you’re worried that your parents will be mad, I don’t think that they will be.  I think they’ll be grateful that you trusted them enough to tell them.  And I think that they’ll be relieved to hear that there’s a reason for your depression.  All this time they may have been blaming themselves.

If this person is a child photographer, he/she continues to have access to countless other children who are likely to experience the abuse that you did.  It is so important that you trust me and tell your parents so that they can make sure this photographer isn’t a danger to others.  I can tell by the words that you wrote that you have a survivor’s instinct.  Now I’m asking you to model the courage you need to tell your parents.  I know you can do it.

Gender & Orientation: Female, Straight.