At school we had a sex ed class, and talked about what’s acceptable. My dad has been sexually abusing me for years, I thought it was normal. Now i’m scared to tell someone, they might think i’m to blame for being stupid and not knowing it was wrong. I’ve never liked it and told my dad, he told me everyone without a mum goes through it and i had to put up with it. Who do i tell? i want it to stop

A: First, please, please stop blaming yourself for not knowing it was wrong. Most kids in your situation have no idea what normal is. Why would they? Kids think whatever environment they are in is the same as everyone else’s. That starts to change as kids get older. Their experiences in friends’ homes and in school give them a broader perspective. You are not stupid. You have good instincts but you didn’t have the support you needed to trust them. Be kind to yourself, ok?

What you can do is call the counselors at Childline. The service is completely free and completely confidential. Go to this website to see a short video about Childline and what they can do for you. The phone number to call is 08001111. Be sure to use a computer and phone somewhere besides in your own home. Until you know that your father is not going to punish you or hurt you for telling, you need to be careful and to keep yourself safe.

No kid should ever be abused by her own dad. No young teen should ever be afraid in her own home. I’m very, very glad you wrote to us here at PsychCentral. That was a very important start. Now call Childline. They will help you decide how to handle the situation.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie