Ask Bish – Can you still have kids if you’ve been sexually abused?

*Contains references to child sexual abuse*

Advice to a reader about how to get support for her friend.

Hi, my question is if you have a brief history of sexual abuse, are you still able to have kids because my friend asked me to ask you because when she was about 5 or 6 her uncle touched her once or twice and we are both 17 and she wants kids when she’s older so please respond back, thanks

Hi

Thanks so much for your question and for supporting your friend.

Experiencing sexual abuse will not have made your friend less likely to have kids. Whether your friend can have kids or not depends on lots of different factors, but her history of sexual abuse will not be one of them.

When people have experienced sexual abuse they might have lots of very very difficult feelings to try and manage. Your friend might be feeling very low, frightened, ashamed, confused or maybe that nothing good can ever happen for her. The most important thing for your friend to know, and to try and believe, is that none of this is her fault. Her Uncle is to blame for all of this. He used his family relationship to abuse a vulnerable child which was all kinds of wrong.

But understanding this and feeling these really difficult feelings is, well, really difficult. Talking to someone about this can really help. This is so that she can get the recognition that this has happened: for other people to reassure her that her Uncle was wrong: and to get some professional support in learning how to deal with the difficult feelings (and that it’s totally OK to feel them).

Abuse can be difficult to talk about and it’s great that she has told you about it. I wonder whether she has been able to talk to anyone else? Someone like a counsellor, a doctor, a teacher, a neighbour, the Police, another adult that she trusts?

Many survivors of sexual abuse, particularly those abused by a family member, may find it difficult to talk about because they might fear that people won’t believe them. They might find it really difficult to trust people in general because someone they should have trusted abused that trust. This is part of the reason why so many cases of child sexual abuse are not known about.

So if you and your friend can talk about this, can you ask if she has told anyone else about this? If she’s just told you then you may also need to get some support. This is a big big thing to deal with, so you may need to ask her if it’s okay for you to talk to someone that you trust about it too. Even if you agree that you won’t tell anyone that it’s her you’re talking about. Over time you might be able to support her to talk to someone or for her to give you permission to talk to someone on her behalf – like you have by asking me.

Good things can happen for your friend. Even though the history of abuse may stay with her for a long time, she can have a rich and fulfilling life with joy and love and hope – but she may only get there with support from people she trusts and from qualified

Where you can find more support:

Havoca is for adult survivors of child sexual abuse anywhere in the world. There are links on where you can find support, further reading and an online forum of over 3000 people.

If you look in your local phone book (or search online) you may be able to find a support hotline to call, or a local support group that might be able to put you in touch with a trained therapist/counsellor to talk to.

Here’s a list of services online and in person from Mind. It’s a UK charity though, and I don’t think you’re a Brit. You guys might find it useful though.

Here is a brilliant article from Scarleteen on different kinds of abuse and some more links (at the bottom) on where to get help.

Really hope this helps

Justin