What to Say to Others

One challenge your family may face is what to say to others about the abuse. If there is no publicity about the case, you will be able to decide whom you tell. Share with your child which relatives or close friends you will tell. Let your child have a role in who is told.

Here Are Few Tips to Help You in Your Conversations

  • The protection of your child's privacy is extremely important.
  • Your child has the right to know whom you have told.
  • You have the right to ask people you tell not to discuss this topic with others.
  • Having responses in mind can help you feel more comfortable when the topic of abuse comes up.
  • It can be helpful to give your child responses that they can use if someone else brings us the abuse.
  • It's okay to be firm, abrupt, or even rude to help people understand how important your child's privacy is.
  • Remember you don't owe anyone an explanation. It's okay to say "I'd rather not talk about it." You may also say "It has been very difficult for all of us" or "I appreciate your concern."
  • If someone comments about your child feeling guilty you may say "All children feel unnecessarily guilty in situations like this until they are reassured it was not their fault."
  • If someone inquires why you were unaware of the abuse you may say "As parents we do the best we can, but we are only human and can not always know what is happening to our children."
It is important to protect your child's privacy, but be careful not to make the abuse a secret. This may cause feelings of shame for your child.

You will want to prepare your child for comments that they may encounter. If someone comments to your child how sorry they are for him/her, a good response is as simple as "thank you." Let your child know they do not have to respond to anyone and may say "My mom and/or dad told me not to talk about it right now."