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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Family covered up sexual abuse

Topic: Family covered up sexual abuse

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. Elle42
    Elle42 avatar
    2 posts
    28 June 2020
    My uncle tried to groom me starting from when I was 12 (He would pay special attention to me). I didn't realise his intentions until I was about 14 and he started sending me emails that were inappropriate. At first I just emailed back until a particular email confirmed the way he felt about me. At the same time, my parents told me they would organise a skiing holiday for me in new Zealand where my uncle lives. His wife (mums sister) would come to Australia for a visit while I would go there and be with my uncle and my two cousins. I realised that this way his way of getting me all alone so he could potentially do more than just flirt by email. I told my mum and she said she would keep me safe and make sure I was never alone with him and to cut off emails with him.

    She said we couldn't tell anyone else because it would hurt our family. I didn't have to see my uncle often, but he would come to Australia for big family events. When I was around 24 I told my aunty what had happened. My aunty almost seemed relieved as he had accused her of being crazy every time she got angry about his attention to younger girls. She still didn't want others to know and I respected that.

    Now I'm 27 and in therapy again for some recent panic attacks. The night of my last appointment we talked about my mum covering this up I was a mess. All I could think about was what he did and how she valued everyone else's feelings over my own. I kept thinking what if he abused me as a young child and I don't remember (I realise this is unlikely but I'm a paranoid person and don't remember much of my early childhood due to bullying). I didn't go to work the next day and spent it either asleep or crying. That night I rang my mum still in a bad state and asked her if she could talk to my aunty about uninviting my uncle to my wedding in October. I said maybe he could say he needs to work or make another excuse. My mum's response initially was that it would be an awkward conversation for her but I explained what had hurt me so much and how it still does. She agreed to talk to my aunty. The next day she told me that she ended up telling my dad. I haven't talked to her since and I'm nervous to hear what happened when she talked to my aunty and to know how my dad is taking it. I'm happy he knows but it's all a lot right now. I've felt so on edge all week.
    1 person found this helpful
  2. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    6652 posts
    28 June 2020 in reply to Elle42
    Hi Elle42,
      Welcome to our friendly online community. We are so sorry to hear about what you have been through. We are so glad that you had the courage to reach out here. Our community is here for you.

    We can hear that this is a really tough time for you and we are glad to hear that you are working through these experiences in therapy. We would urge that you contact 1800RESPECT if you are feeling overwhelmed at home and you need to talk something through in the moment. They offer confidential information, counselling and support 24/7 for people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse. You can contact them on 1800 737 732 or

    We hope that you can find some comfort in the forums. Feel free to keep us updated here on your thread throughout your journey and let us know how we can help you through this time.
    2 people found this helpful
  3. ecomama
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    ecomama avatar
    4567 posts
    28 June 2020 in reply to Elle42

    Dear Elle42

    I'm so sorry for what you've gone through, this should never have happened to you as a young girl or anybody at all.

    I think you have to reach out further for support ie beyond your family and I'm relieved to hear you are getting help from a therapist.

    You will find more strength in others outside your family because to me they are very weak people indeed.
    IMO they should have reported this behaviour to Authorities and then leave it in their hands. Who knows what else he has done. It's absolutely disgusting.

    You can report this yourself and if you need a Support Person to go with you to Police then you can contact the Red Heart Foundation via FB. I couldn't have gone through what myself and my family have gone through without them. Most of this group's work is not public at all.

    1800RESPECT are incredible for support. They can refer you to all sorts of help and they are an invaluable resource for you to access 24/7. You can phone them confidentially or you can give them your name so that each time you phone, their support is more cohesive and consistent. They are gems. Please phone them anytime you feel overwhelmed. Or any time full stop. It's no wonder at all that you're having panic attacks. Huge hugs darling girl, I am really feeling your pain right now.

    You need alot of support to actually recover from this torment. The Blue Knot Foundation website pages may make you feel like you're not alone. There are stories there that may make 100% sense to you and in a weird way they are comforting.

    I hope you don't feel so alone but this can be an extremely isolating experience.

    Lots of love and healing

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Elle42
    Elle42 avatar
    2 posts
    28 June 2020 in reply to ecomama
    Thank you for your response and to hear that you understand. I definitely have a therapist I'm seeing every fortnight at the moment. I did have mental health issue before his advances (made me an easy target) so I've done a lot of therapy in the past as well. I'm not sure going to any authorities would be very helpful considering her lives in another country. And he technically didn't break a law that I can tell as he never physically touched me. I'm very lucky that I was in a position to stop his advances before that ever happened. Thankyou for the other resources to look into.
    1 person found this helpful
  5. ecomama
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    ecomama avatar
    4567 posts
    29 June 2020 in reply to Elle42

    Dear Elle42

    I understand that NZ and Australian authorities do work very closely together.

    I also understand that evidence of "grooming" is breaking the Law.
    Ofcourse I also understand that such a long time has passed since you were a child, so evidence would be difficult to obtain.

    Still it MAY make you feel alot better, maybe validated more than we can do here, by calling and speaking to a Police Social Worker. Our experience with them on separate occasions is that have a stirling record with supporting us anyway.

    The very least your family can do is not have him at your Wedding. I hope his exclusion can happen.

    I also wish you all the very best for your Wedding. I hope it's a wonderful day and that your marriage is equally as wonderful.

    Love EM

  6. BOC64
    BOC64 avatar
    58 posts
    30 June 2020

    Hi Elle42

    What happened to you was wrong and illegal. I to was being groomed as a child and it has only recently that with the help of my psychologist I realised that is exactly what had happened. As a young teen boy I develop physically very early and regardless of the fact the person was a women it was very wrong and illegal. It has effected me deeply given the person was a relative also.

    IMHO as the bride you have every right to say who can be at your wedding.


  7. InhaleExhale
    Student Mentor
    • Masters of Psychology student on placement
    InhaleExhale avatar
    54 posts
    1 July 2020 in reply to Elle42

    Hi Elle42,

    Sorry to hear that you’re not in a good way right now. I hope that your dad knowing will help to bring you some relief and more support during this time. It sounds like you are overwhelmed and nervous at the moment due to everything that is happening which is complete understandable.

    Best of luck with your wedding. We would love to know how you are getting on.


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