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SABRE had an opportunity to interview Jack, who suffered sexual abuse by his uncle for a period of five years spanning 1995 to 2000. The incidents occurred at his grandparents’ house, his uncle’s apartment and Jack's home. Jack is now 33.
SABRE: Was this a one-time assault or did this occur over any length of time?
J: The sexual assaults occurred over a period of five years from 1995 to 2000.
SABRE: Was this someone you knew or was this a stranger?
J: It was my uncle (my mom’s younger brother).
SABRE: Was this something that you felt like you couldn’t talk about at all? Or were you feeling like you wanted to seek help right away? Either way, why did you feel that way?
J: In my mind I couldn’t talk about the abuse because during this time my grandfather had a lot of health problems and I thought that if I talked about it I would exacerbate those problems. Also I had gotten it in my head that if I said something I’d destroy my family.
SABRE: If you had a chance to confront your attacker, what would you say to them and why? What do you want a person who hurts someone else to know about their actions?
J: Honestly the only thing I’d ask him is why? Was he sick? Is he gay? Why did he take my innocence? For people who hurt someone else they have a choice, they can choose their own actions; nobody put a gun to their head and said, "Sexually abuse this innocent individual." If it is a true problem, get help talk to someone.
SABRE: What can the rest of us do to make help more accessible, or to make people feel safer about coming forward to ask for help?
J: To help come forward have more call centers and encourage kids to come forward. By having their responses anonymous. Kids feel that they somehow did something wrong and that’s why this happened to them. They have to understand what happened to them wasn’t their fault – that if you didn’t come on to them, it’s their fault.
SABRE: How has this affected you in your life post-assault? Is there anything that you used to do that you don’t anymore? Or is there something you didn’t do pre-assault that you make a point to do now?
J: When I first came clean I had almost a scared obsession that whenever we’d visit my grandmother he’d be there. But over time I realized how irrational that was and that he is and will always be out of my life. I am much more aware of what I say and do and how those actions may be misconstrued. I am more aware of my surroundings.
SABRE: What do you think it the biggest misconception about sexual assault and violence right now?
J: As stated earlier I feel the most basic misconception about sexual abuse is that the person who was abused somehow led on the abuser or they did something wrong.
SABRE: What advice do you have for someone who was recently victimized? What do you wish someone would have told you when this happened?
J: The best advice I have for someone who was victimized is no matter the situation if you keep it to yourself the abuser wins. Be strong and tell someone – not doing so was biggest mistake I made. It took me 10 years to the day of the last time I was abused to tell someone, and it killed me. I wish someone would have forced me to tell someone when something could have been done instead of nothing.
SABRE: What are some resources that have helped you, and what are some that you want to make sure other people know about?
J: Some of the resources that have helped me are companies like RAINN and Lauren’s Kids because they are organizations that advocate for victims of sexual abuse. Also, different states have sexual abuse organizations to help their victims advocate and not feel ashamed.
Learn more about the SABRE-RAINN Survivor Stories series here.