When I was a little girl I was sexually abused by a cousin and by an uncle…. Now the actions of my degenerate uncle have caught up with him, and the mothers of some girls have reported him to the authorities for molesting them….

My dilemma is whether I should tell my mother. She has been called as a witness to testify, and I would like for her to know the truth because she fiercely defends my uncle…. I am afraid that, because I have kept the secret for so long, no one will believe me. Help me, Linda! The hearing is coming up soon, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want my family to hate me for waiting till now to speak up.

Dear Friend,

We are so sorry to hear about the abuse that you suffered and that you were afraid to tell those who might have helped you! But as a child, you were confused and didn’t know what to do. That was not your fault, and the abuse was certainly not your fault.

Now, as an adult, you do understand; you are no longer confused. You know what you have to do, even though some others in your family may not understand, and even though your mother will be hurt by the knowledge.

If you were to choose to say nothing and your uncle were to get away with molesting those girls, as he got away with molesting you, he would continue abusing other girls. And if that were to happen, you would feel guilty for not having revealed your secret, and you would feel responsible for not having kept him from continuing to hurt children.

It is not fair that you are a victim, and yet that you may now have to endure negative confrontations with family members who are ignorant of the evil that your uncle is perpetrating. When they ask you why you didn’t report the abuse when it happened, you should have only one answer, “I was a child.” If they choose not to believe you, that is their choice. But you will have no reason to feel guilty or responsible. You will have done the right thing.

The Teacher of Ecclesiastes wrote that there is “a time to be quiet and a time to speak.”(1) How can we know when it is time to be quiet and when it is time to speak? Although many people take pride in the fact that they will not “snitch” on their friends, the deciding factor of whether or not to report a wrongdoing should be whether anyone could be hurt by the failure to report. In the case of your uncle, it is absolutely certain that children will be hurt if you keep quiet. Therefore, ask God to give you wisdom regarding how you should tell your mother, but do it right away. Also ask God for strength to endure all that will follow, but keep constantly in mind that you are doing the right thing.

We wish you the best,

1 Ecc 3:7