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Ask a Therapist: How Do I Hold My Abuser Accountable?

From the time I was 8-12 I was sexually abused as well as my brother who is 4 years younger than I am . As I am getting older I am learning the thread of lies that I was told from my family regarding the situation. Growing up I believed my grandmother adopted a child from Haiti, he was 8 years older than I am. Through the time he was 19 he sexually abused myself and my younger brother. I repressed much of my memories from childhood due to this but I vividly remember the abuse. My mother took me to the University of Massachusetts sexual abuse center where I was tested for rape and attended counseling. My parents moved us to Florida away from this. I assumed he had been in trouble until recently when I found out that his high school counselor told my parents he would be deported if they reported it and it was never reported to police. After we moved for years he continued to call to talk to my brother and myself but we refused to talk to him. My grandmother and father hid most of what happened. Now that I am 29 I want him to be held accountable for his actions. To make sure he isn’t hurting any other children. I am not sure what to do or how to handle it. I wanted to contact him and after much research learned he changed his name and still was not legally in this country. Because of this abuse I have sexual issues , depression and still cannot trust people. I have seen three therapists and it never helps, just knowing he is married with a child makes me sick and scared.

A: I’m so incredibly sorry about the abuse you and your brother suffered. I suggest gathering as much information as you can about him today. Then contact Child Protective Services in your state and just ask how they would handle it. It is often empowering for a victim to report and take action against the perpetrator, even years later. Watch the video for the rest of the answer.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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