Were You Abused?
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If you were sexually abused as a child by a priest, deacon or any other member of the Catholic Church, you are not alone. We are here to help you. Please fill out our confidential online contact form or call Toll Free 1-866-777-2557 and a Texas Sexual Abuse Lawyer will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your possible case. Help is available nationwide. There is no cost to investigate and there are no legal fees unless you receive financial compensation. Making the call is sometimes the hardest step, but it is often a necessary step on the road to healing. Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer Texas
Reasons to call
Please call Toll Free 1-866-777-2557 or fill out our confidential contact form and a lawyer will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your case. Texas Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Why sexual abuse survivors don’t report
Most of us feel like we’d be immediately supportive and protective toward a child who was being sexually abused. So why do abuse victims feel like they can’t tell anyone about what’s happening?
One common reason children don’t come forward is that they are lied to and psychologically manipulated by their abusers. Abusers may tell them, or imply, that if a child tells someone what’s going on, no one will believe them. It’s common for parents and authority figures to believe an adult over a child, so these claims may be believable and effective. People who commit child abuse are also skilled at making victims feel like they were to blame for what happened. They may insist that what is going on is a “secret” the two of them share, or that the sexual games they initiated were just as much the victim’s idea. The child believes they will be in trouble if they tell about something they are supposedly to blame for.
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Another reason is shame and embarrassment. Children get the sense from an early age that sexual topics are taboo and make adults very uncomfortable. They know many adults would rather not hear or think about what they have to say. This, combined with their feeling that the abuse reflects something shameful about them, keeps them silent.
These factors are even stronger when the abuser is an admired figured in the community or beloved by other family members. Sadly, although most people may believe they would do anything to protect a child, in practice they may be very reluctant to believe accusations against someone they admire. Any hints a victim drops or negative comments they make about the abuser could be ignored, making them discouraged from saying more. If the abuser is a family member whom they have affection for, they may have an impulse to protect the person.
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When a child reaches adulthood, they become more able to reflect rationally on what happened, and understand intellectually that it was not their fault. They can also access information and stories from other victims that assures them they’re not alone. Still, they don’t always report. Why? They know that some people may question reports of abuse simply because a lot of time has passed. Ironically, the fact that it took a long time to report may be taken by some people as evidence the accusations aren’t true—encouraging the victim to keep their secret even longer. And outsiders may wonder if memories about a long-ago incident that happened during childhood are accurate.
Finally, even for adults, feelings of guilt and shame may make it difficult to talk about abuse. Victims may feel dirty talking about what happened, or not know whom to go to. They may also want to protect others and avoid upsetting them—both family members who might feel bad they didn’t prevent the abuse, and current loved ones. Finally, although survivors deserve justice, the idea of pressing charges and going through with court proceedings promises to be traumatic and require them to relive and talk about what happened.
Anyone who reports sexual abuse needs a strong support system as they seek justice. For those around them, that means believing their stories and listening to victims so they can feel safe coming forward.
Texas Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer