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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What do I do if nobody believes that I have been abused?

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  • ASCA is an Australian national charity which advances the health and wellbeing of people and communities affected by child abuse, for this and future generations.ASCA … View Profile

    It is a very distressing experience to be disbelieved when you have had the courage to speak up about what has happened to you. Having your experience invalidated in this way is a secondary trauma on top of the abuse itself and contributes to feelings of shame and isolation. Adult survivors of child abuse can call the ASCA support line for professional counselling, support and referrals. Please call 1300 657 380 and visit www.asca.org.au for resources and information about workshops for survivors and health professionals.

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    I agree with the above - how distressing it must be for you to have told someone about the abuse and not been believed.

    It's important to seek support from professionals who will believe you and help you to heal. Again, the above resources may be a good place to start.

    In my experience of working with survivors of abuse, it's not uncommon for the survivor to find it hard to believe that the abuse did actually happen. In order to cope, and for many living in an environment where the person who abused has not been brought to justice and therefore could still hurt them again, people often try to convince themselves that ‘it didn’t really happen'. This is an ingenious survival strategy that can help survivors of abuse get on with life. Of course, this is an inadequate way to deal with the aftermath of trauma, and there needs to be a time where you allow yourself to believe that it did happen, and to think about how it has affected your health and wellbeing. If you find that you are doubting that the abuse really happened, it's important to be compassionate with this part of yourself, while getting the support to bear and process the grief and traumatic responses that may accompany the realization that ‘this really did happen to me’.

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