For Parents

How might the abused child feel?


  • Fear that the abuser will reject him, hurt him or those he loves.
  • Fear that no one will believe him.
  • Anxiety about what will happen next.
  • Confusion and inner conflict.
  • Insecurity about who he can trust.
  • Regret about having disclosed the fact (he may even retract his statements).

Mixed feelings

When sexual abuse occurs within families, the pain experienced can include conflicting and confusing emotions. He may feel extreme anguish for what was done to him, while still feeling love and concern for the family member who abused him.

Guilt or shame

  • May feel responsible for the abuse.
  • Guilt and shame because of upsetting family by making disclosure.
  • Guilt if he experienced positive physical sensations.

Hope and discharge

  • Relief at the fact that he revealed the secret.
  • Hope that the abuse will stop with disclosure.

Sexual abuse or incest in the family

When a child is abused by another family member, every member of the family is affected. Typically, help from outside specialists is needed to address the emotional strain on the family and to assist and guide everyone in the healing process.