When I was 12 I was in school and behind me was the 16 year old boy and I felt something behind me in the line to get some dinner, but I wasn’t sure what it was but I felt his whole body in back which was very uncomfortable and I couldn’t see his face properly. But I wasn’t sure if he was touching me at first so I just got out of the line because I felt his hand in my back but I wasn’t sure, so I kinda let it go. So the next day I went to the line again to get some food and I felt something really close to me again and i felt a hand trying to pull my jumper and shirt and it made me very uncomfortable and he touched me in my legs and between them but I was scared I didn’t know what to do I was just frozen I would always try in move but he would always go back, so again I got out of the line. I felt like he was following me everywhere I was really scared my friends were always there to make me feel a bit more protected. It happened for two weeks him just touching me and it always got worse, so I told my head of year but I couldn’t describe what he was doing so it looked like she didn’t really care so I thought I was being exaggerated that it was ok for him to touch me really inappropriately. I didn’t eat at school for days, until one day I went and he was there and once again he touched but this time quite worse as he tried getting between legs again my friends saw so they went to get my head of year and she took him out of the line and I didn’t know what she said to him she never spoke to me about it. The good thing is that he stopped but I was so traumatized and I still am. I have nightmares all the time and flashbacks of his face as I saw him earlier this year for the first time in a year I was scared I was getting paranoid. I was stupid for not saying stop it but I was so scared. Was it molestation or was just something that didn’t matter? These nightmares are just getting worse I just don’t know.

A. It’s difficult to determine what happened. Based on the small amount of information provided, the 16-year-old boy repeatedly touched you inappropriately and that would be sexual abuse. It does not appear, however, that he was reprimanded or held accountable for his actions. Thankfully, it was stopped.

The abuse still troubles you. It’s not something you should ignore because it seems to be interfering with your life. The ideal solution is counseling. It will help you to effectively address the trauma from the abuse.

It’s also important to address a thinking error. You wrote that “I was stupid for not saying stop.” That is simply untrue. You were a child and you didn’t know any better. Children are vulnerable. You were afraid and confused and did not know what was happening to you. Confusion and fear are understandable reactions, especially for children.

You did what you should have done, which was to tell someone in authority about the abuse. The person to whom you reported the abuse apparently didn’t take your first report seriously. If anyone made an error in this situation, it was the person who didn’t act when you reported it. Unfortunately, some adults don’t believe children when they report abuse. You did exactly what you should have done. You did nothing wrong.

I’m sorry that this happened to you but the good news is therapy can help. Contact your primary care physician and ask for a referral or use the “Find Help” tab at the top of this page to locate a therapist in your community. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle