Friends are some of the most important people in our lives. They are always there for motivation and inspiration, love and support. However, no matter amazing they are, telling them about deeply personal experiences, such as abuse, can be extremely difficult.
According to the NSPCC, over 57,000 children in the UK were identified as needing protection from abuse. Out of those 57,000 children, how many of them do you think had spoken about their experiences with friends? The answer is not very many, if any at all.
They coped with this abuse alone. Their friends and family could have helped to support them if they'd known but they didn't.
I was sexually abused by my ex-boyfriend in April 2016. I didn't tell anyone about it for a year. When I told my closest friend, I was terrified. I kept trying to do it and backing out at the last minute, too scared. When I eventually told her, her reaction was better than I ever could have anticipated. She gave me the biggest hug I have ever had in my life and held me, not letting go until she knew that I was safe.
Telling her was the best thing I’ve ever done.
The most important thing to have after a horrible experience like abuse is a strong support system. It's really difficult but it is also crucial.
Don't anticipate someone's reaction to your experience. You can't know how they'll react until you tell them and it could be totally different to how you ever thought they'd respond.
Also, don't rush in to it. No one expects you to be ready straight away because chances are that you won't be. Take that time for yourself before involving someone else.
Perhaps let them know that you have some issues you need to work through but you need some time before you're ready to tell them. You don't have to go in to any details - just tell them you're struggling so that they're able to support you when you need it most. You can give them the details when and only when you feel comfortable and able to. They're good people who care about you and they will wait for you.
I will always be here for you when you need someone so feel free to contact me via my personal accounts which you can find on my profile.
Stay strong, friends.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.