Surviving the Shame of Sexual Abuse

Darren spent four years feeling isolated and ashamed after being sexually abused by a close family friend. The idea of telling his parents terrified him. “Would they believe me? Would they think this was my fault?” he thought.  Rather than speak up, Darren slowly withdrew from the bright child everyone had known him as and his parents explained his behavior as typical, pre-teen angst.

During a routine well-check needed to enter high school, Darren’s physician recommended he speak to a counselor. He seemed to display symptoms of anxiety and depression. Because high school can be a significant transition for many kids, the doctor felt Darren would benefit from the positive impact of therapy. He was referred to LFCS.

Darren’s fears flooded his mind: How can I sit in a room with a complete stranger and share my deepest secrets? Will I have to talk about the incident? I can’t even tell my parents – the two people who love me most.

Wanting to be freed from the burden of his silence, in his first session at LFCS, Darren blurted out, “My parents’ friend abused me and no one knows about it.” There it was. The truth was out. The facts of what happened were no longer trapped in his mind to torment him.

To his surprise, the counselor expressed understanding and thanked him for trusting her enough to share. Together, they discussed the crushing weight of living with trauma and the importance of working through Darren’s feelings.

Over the next few months, Darren became happier, more talkative and more confident. He was truly able to be a kid again. Darren was finally able to tell his parents about his experience. They were overwhelmed with guilt for not protecting their son. Together, they notified the authorities and his parents cut all ties with his abuser. Although therapy could not erase the abuse, his sessions with his LFCS counselor provided an opportunity for Darren to look forward to his future free from the weight of his past.


Of sexual abuse cases reported to law enforcement, 93% of juvenile victims knew the perpetrator.

(Snyder, Ph.D., 2000)