15 years old my first time telling

Juanita, Spain


Dear Dr.Patti,

My names Juanita, I am writing you from Spain. i'm 15 now and i'm an incest survivor. Wow, I've never heard myself say that before. I've recently started reading your book "Invisible Girls" I really like it so far, a lot of it has answerd some questions i've had for years. By reading it, I've realized that i'm not alone, so many girls go through this and it's horrible. I've seen a psychologist for about a year now, but the last time I saw her was when i started the book and it was the first time i talked about my abuse. I've always tried putting it off...

I have this friend who i told about my abuse a few months back. We were really close but a month or two later she told me that her step father was doing the same thing to her. she made me promise not to tell, that night I talked to a youth minister who i'm kinda close to, and he said that i should tell the school the next morning. And since she told me that she must be trying to reach out for help. So the next morning I talked to the school counseler then he had me tell the school psychologist and nurse, they called her in and she knew i had told. but what was weird was that she wasn't mad, she was laughing and smiling. the next weeks she was with a foster family and going to court and all the law stuff. her mom was getting tired of it all cuz every time she told her "story" it'd always be different, her step dad was only home on weekends, and when he was home he was asleep. her mom told me that this wasn't the first time she's done something like this. She's claimed that a ministers son took her in a closet at curch and raped her, she told the school in elementary that her parents hit her and don't feed her and her siblings... anyway she doesn't talk to me anymore. but she's rude to me, she took one of my other best friends and the last time he talked to me he called me "Mental". I don't really know what to do anymore. I self-Mutilate. i'm not really close to my mom, so i don't really talk to her about how i feel...



Dr. Patti responds: 

Dear Juanita, 

You are so brave! And you are so strong. You did the right thing. You will find that you will have close relationships to some trusted adults, such as your youth minister, and there will be teachers throughout your life. You did the right thing to tell! I am not sure what has happened to your friend. But I can tell you that in my experience it is rare for a girl to make up so much abuse if NOTHING has happened to her. I am guessing that something has happened to her and the fact that her mother does not seem to believe anything she says is another indication that she does not have very much support. If she was put into foster care it is possible that the foster care system found something they thought was abusive. I am really sorry that you self-mutilate, and I want you to understand that that will not help you get through anything. If you want to cut please try this: take a rubber band and put it on your wrist, then snap it twenty five times–the urge to cut should leave your system and you then do not have to cut. Please let me know how that goes for you. I would really like to send you a signed copy of "Invisible Girls" and a copy for your therapist. I am so proud of you for telling at such a young age!! 

Please keep in touch with me. 

................................xoxo, Dr. Patti.