Well, a few years ago when my grandmother passed away my grandfather moved in with us. And for the period he was here he would touch me in a sexual manner and threaten to kill me if I ever tell my parents anything. Being 12 at that time I didnt tell anyone anything and i havent told anyone since. For the past month its been haunting me. I find myself constantly thinking about it, about why it happened to me. And I just distant myself from others,and spend my nights thinking about it. So now Im sleep deprived and constantly anxious. What can I do to make this feeling go away?

A. I am unfamiliar with what legal protection is available in your country for abuse victims but in the United States, sexual abuse is illegal and your grandfather would be arrested.

I would strongly encourage you to tell your parents. If that is not an option for you, then report the abuse to someone you trust such as a faculty member of your school (i.e. guidance counselor, teacher, principal), or a doctor, a clergyman, etc.

You may never know why your grandfather did what he did but one thing is certain: it was not your fault. Your grandfather is completely to blame. He took advantage of an innocent child. He frightened you with severe threats, and you had no choice but to keep the secret to yourself. You are clearly suffering and you need help. I am very sorry that you had to endure such an awful experience.

It is important that you do not keep the abuse a secret. Reporting the abuse will undoubtedly be difficult. It will also be frightening but it is necessary. Not reporting the abuse allows your grandfather to get away with a serious injustice. It may be the only way to stop him from abusing you again or from abusing other innocent victims. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle