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Sexual Abuse
Author: Anonymous

I was nine years old when my mom’s boyfriend began 
sexually abusing me. He threatened to hurt my little 
sister if I told anyone, so I kept quiet. For the next 
few years he hit my sister and me for no apparent 
reason and forced us to have sex with him. I became 
depressed and withdrew from my friends. I cut my arms 
out of frustration. When I finally got the courage to 
tell my mom about what was happening, she said I was 
lying. I thought I had nowhere else to turn, but a 
few months later a social worker came to my school and 
I told her everything. Almost immediately we were put 
into a foster home until we went to live with our dad.
Sexual abuse is more common than people think. In 
fact, some of you, like the following girls, have 
found yourself in the same situation as I was.
When a friend of the family began sexually abusing 
Maria, she reported it to the police and they took the 
guy to jail for a day. “Now he is at every party that 
my family has and my family has not done anything,” 
she said. “My father even stopped talking to me ’cause 
of the abuse.”
Liz told her parents right away after she was sexually 
abused. They called the cops and the guy was put in 
jail. “The man that sexually abused me went to jail 
and died in jail,” she said. ”Now I feel safe walking 
around town, but it’s kind of hard for me to trust 
Just remember that you don’t have to live with sexual 
abuse. If you know anyone that has been sexually 
abused, talk to them about it. Let them know that you 
are there for them. Most importantly, tell them to 
call someone who can help 
The majority of cases of sexual assault are carried 
out by someone the victim knows. When you go out to a 
party, be cautious even around people you’ve met. In 
order to help prevent an attack, try the following:
- Go with a friend and agree to watch out for each 
  other. Tell them that it’s okay to let you know that
  you’ve had too much to drink and that you shouldn’t 
  be alone with someone you just met. 
- If you do separate from your friend, let them know 
  where you are going to be and when you’ll be back.
  That way, if something’s wrong, they’ll be able to 
  find you easily.
- Drinking slows your reflexes. Try not to drink at
  big parties, but if you are going to, limit it to 
  one or two drinks and never leave yourself in a 
  situation you can’t get out of (alone, where no one 
  can hear you). 
- Have a plan to get home. Don’t depend on a ride from
  a stranger. Carry enough money for a taxi or have a
  friend you can call to pick you up. 
- If you feel uncomfortable from the way someone is 
  acting or with what they are saying, let them know 
  in a firm manner that it’s not okay. If they keep on
  pestering you, announce very loudly in front of 
  others that you would like them to leave and that 
  you are uncomfortable. 
If you get assaulted 
- Your emotions can vary widely. You may feel 
  depressed, angry, anxious, tense, calm, and any 
  number of other emotions. Know that this is normal,
  and there is no standard reaction to being 
- It can be very helpful to find a safe place and have 
  someone to talk to. There are many resources in 
  Santa Cruz County to help you. There are several
  excellent center with 24-hour support hotlines (see
- A crisis advisor can help you decide whether or not
  you want to press charges. If you do press charges, 
  don’t shower after the assault and keep your clothes 
  in a brown paper bag without washing them. Someone 
  from the crisis centers will help you understand 
  what other steps you need to take.
If your friend gets assaulted 
- Let her (or him – males get assaulted as well) know
  that you are there for them to talk to. Tell them 
  that you know that you believe them and that it’s
  not their fault. 
- Encourage them to get help and advisement in the 
  same manner as the “If you get assaulted” section,
Resources and hotlines for sexual assault 
Women’s Crisis Support 24 hr. Bilingual Crisis 
Line: (831) 685-3737
Defensa de Mujeres: 24 hr. Bilingual Crisis 
Line: (831) 685-3737
Sexual Assault Response Team Office: (831) 462-
Cabrillo College Rape Prevention Program:(831) 
479-6550 or (831) 479-6249
RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault 
Hotline: (800) 656-HOPE