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Can I ask your honest thoughts on this? Would you make assumptions if you found this out about someone? [Trigger Warning]

(78 Posts)
FlamingoPigeonMashup Sun 25-Aug-19 19:13:40

If you found out someone close to you had a history of very serious sexual abuse throughout their childhood, be honest, would it affect your perception of them? Their mental health? Their ability to work in certain jobs? Their ability to parent? Would you still be prepared to date them?

What assumptions would you make?

Sodamncaughtinthemiddle Sun 25-Aug-19 19:15:29

I wouldnt make any assumptions. I would think them brave for being a survivor.

Janek Sun 25-Aug-19 19:16:55

A good friend of mine had exactly this history - i always admired her strength and ability to carry on/get on with life despite her unpleasant beginnings and she became an amazing mother, which i admire in general anyway and specifically because she had no example herself of how to be amazing.

StumpyinSomerset Sun 25-Aug-19 19:17:58

I wouldn't make any assumptions,why would I?

elQuintoConyo Sun 25-Aug-19 19:20:13

I wouldn't make any assumptions.

AutumnalLeaves38 Sun 25-Aug-19 19:21:50

Absolutely agree with all the PPs' sentiments.

gracepoolesrum Sun 25-Aug-19 19:22:02

I wouldn't make any assumptions, I've worked with people who have experienced sexual abuse, some have been able to work through what happened and lead good lives, some were complete train wrecks, and everything in between. Like any other form of abuse it is something that happens to a person, not something that solely defines that person.

minibroncs Sun 25-Aug-19 19:22:14

I'd feel compassion for them.

Every person is different. Every survivor of abuse is different.

The only assumption I'd make is that at least from time to time they may have different needs about some things that could require adaptations to be made. But then that could be true of anyone.

Summersunshine2 Sun 25-Aug-19 19:22:16

I don't really know what assumptions you would make?
I have two best friends both for over 20 years. Very different childhoods from each other. One had a pleasant childhood, one absolutely did not.
Both are excellent friends, mothers and workers.

Sillibourne Sun 25-Aug-19 19:23:10

I am that person, and for many years I didn't tell people for exactly that reason - I feared they would make pre-judgements and in many, many cases they did. I'll always remember my mother in law saying that she couldn't believe I'd been through all that as I was so normal.... I then took a different tact, I tell everyone - I do not hide it as a secret - I tell people to try and break down that stigma. It is working - I'm not sure but I hope it is making a bit of a difference.
I suffered years of very serious abuse, it ended up going to court and he ended up being sentenced for 14 years. I grew up, I got married, I have an amazing family and a career I love as an academic.

So in short, yes I do believe there is still stigma but I think openness and honesty is the best way of breaking that down - just my opinion based on my experience of course though and everybody's experiences are different.

LemonAddict Sun 25-Aug-19 19:24:24

I don’t understand - If they’re someone close to you, then you already know them?

If I found this out about someone I didn’t really know then honestly - I’d assume they may be vulnerable, fragile, and will have a higher chance than the average person of suffering from poor mental health - which may then affect all aspects of their life.

MoobaaMoobaa Sun 25-Aug-19 19:25:16

I wouldn't make assumptions.

I have a past, no body really knows, it just something I don't share. When I have shared it, it's been because someone has opened up to me.

SinglePringle Sun 25-Aug-19 19:26:42

Absolutely fucking not.

I would feel nothing but compassion for them. If someone trusted me enough to tell me m their difficult history, I would feel honoured and humbled. We all got our past and every family has its secrets - some are just harder and darker than others.

For those on this thread who’ve shared their story; keep talking. You are not judged.

Nautiloid Sun 25-Aug-19 19:26:46

I wouldn't judge in any of those ways.

Azeema Sun 25-Aug-19 19:27:13

No, would not make assumptions about jobs, parenting, mental health.
Yes, would still love them /date them
Only thing would be support and listen because certain touching might bring up bad memories.

Beautiful3 Sun 25-Aug-19 19:28:25

Why would you make an assumption? Everyone is an individual regardless of past experiences. Abused children are survivors. Strong and wise with eyes opened wide.

joystir59 Sun 25-Aug-19 19:28:27

A high percentage of all adults have experienced sexual abuse OP.

Rufusthebewilderedreindeer Sun 25-Aug-19 19:28:45

A friend of mine alluded to severe abuse

I dont assume anything about her

I just feel very very sorry that it happened to her

IndianaMoleWoman Sun 25-Aug-19 19:28:58

I’m a very judgemental person (I feel that being judgemental isn’t a negative quality per se) but I wouldn’t assume anything negative about an abuse survivor in any of the contexts you’ve listed.

Purpleartichoke Sun 25-Aug-19 19:29:14

So many people have suffered various forms of abuse in childhood and we all live in secret. I’m a happy successful adult with a loving family, yet I still sometimes walk around feeling like I gave a scarlet letter pinned to my chest. I wonder how everyone can be so normal? I wonder how everyone can be so unscathed? Then I remember that many of them are walking around just like me, with a past that strongly impacted them, but doesn’t define them as a person.

My perception of an abuse survivor really depends on how they handle it. Did they turn to drugs or self-harm? Or did they decide to not let the bastards win and build themselves a good life?

IAskTooManyQuestions Sun 25-Aug-19 19:29:23

It really depends on the person and their personality doesn't it? Some people outwardly seem to cope very well, others don't cope so well at all - but if you want hars htruth -

Would it affect your perception of them? - in what way specifically are you thinking of?
Their mental health? again it depends on their personality and whether I had witnessed any 'red flag' behaviour.
Their ability to work in certain jobs? - definitely because we all carry prejudices and stereotypes
Their ability to parent? - possibly - statistically abusers have been abused themselves

Obviously I come at this from a female perspective, we all assume we find wonderful partners - and then some find out they haven't got wonderful partners at all. So yes, I'd cut the risk.

I don't think it's any coincidence, when someone is in court for violent or abusive crimes, that the mitigating circumstances detail abuse during childhood.
Would you still be prepared to date them? - probably not

justthecat Sun 25-Aug-19 19:29:29

I have a unpleasant past few know about, if somebody knew and judged me, more fool them.

HangryPants Sun 25-Aug-19 19:29:48

What assumptions are you picturing?

Ohyesiam Sun 25-Aug-19 19:29:50

Assumptions like what?
I’m an incest survivor and its Left me with really hot intuition, as I always had to know what was going to happen next in my house, to keep myself safe. So I got very used to picking up signals from people’s moods, body language and demeanour.
It’s also left me with a high level of empathy.
I’ve always worked with people who are suffering. I started 30 years ago in nursing, and am now a trauma therapist.
Between my childhood and becoming functioning adult I did some seriously self destructive things, and in addressing that i addressed my childhood.

While I wouldn’t have chosen it, my path through it has made me into a person I enjoy being now.

AutumnalLeaves38 Sun 25-Aug-19 19:30:39

To add, in case it can be of use for someone:

(National Association for People Abused in Childhood)

NAPAC support line:
0808 801 0331

10am-9pm, Mon-Thurs
10am-6pm, Fri
Free from landlines/mobliles.
Won't show on bill.

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