Sunday, May 10, 2015

My sister's a bully

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,                                           

I'm 13 and my big sister is 17. We used to get along but our dad is in jail for raping me. He was caught with me in our basement by my babysitter and I had to go to court, but I don't remember a lot.

It used to happen to me a lot when I was about 4 years old until I was 9 when he was caught. I didn't tell anyone because I didn't think anyone would believe me. I wanted to tell my sister at least, but I was too scared.

My mom said it was hard for her to believe too, but she has taken me to therapy for the last couple of years. My sister won't go.

My mom doesn't know that my sister says mean things to me behind her back like, "you're such a little liar" and "you ruined our lives just to get attention" and more. She must also tell things like this to other kids and everyone's mad at me.

I don't want to tell my mom because she'll just make it worse and then no one will like me. And I don't want to hurt her feelings because my mom's super depressed anyway.

Signed, I Can't Stand This!

Dear I Can't Stand This,

You are a very brave girl to face such a tragedy in your life. The hardest part of betrayal, such as what happened to you, is not having others believe you and accepting that some people just won't believe this type of behavior happened in their very own family.

It's great that your mom believes you and is trying her best to make sure you reduce the devastation of sexual abuse, especially when it is your father. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-esteem issues, dissociative disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and many other consequences come from these sick acts.

Almost one third of all child sexual abuse offenders are relatives of the child, usually the brothers, fathers, uncles or cousins. Only about ten percent are strangers and the rest are acquaintances such as friends of the family, babysitters or neighbors.

It may be that your sister doesn't understand the damage she is doing by not believing you. She may not be able to accept the truth of what happened to you. It may be that your sister is a victim of your father's incest also. People only remember whatever they are able to bear. Statistics tell us, however, that incest usually happens to all sisters. She is the only one that knows her truth. Her reality is something she will have to come to terms with and it's not your job to make her or anyone else believe you. Plus, it's not your job to try to make her remember something that may or may not have happened to her.

Your job is to know that God knows the truth, your mom knows the truth, your therapist knows the truth and most importantly ... YOU know the truth! Your chances of having a great life are so much better because you are accepting the truth and getting help. Kudos need to go to your mom. Make sure you let her know that you appreciate her help. Maybe that will cheer her up somewhat.

It is possible to choose and decide to become happy and emotionally healthy as an adult. It seems you are on your way by not accepting victimhood and choosing to get the help you can with your therapist. You will be glad you have a mom who decided you need guidance from a professional.

You are defining yourself now and no one else gets to do that. Not your sister or anyone else in your town. Never forget this!

Make your life magical! Find your talents, get a great advanced education and help others who have suffered as you have. Make a fabulous difference in the lives of others. This is your recipe for joy in this life.


Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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