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#57472 - 08/23/05 06:55 AM advice on letter to SA victim
wounded healer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/17/05
Posts: 2
my brother told me about being sexually abused by our uncle when he was a kid. I have been seeing a therapist to help me help him. I wrote him this letter to encourage him to see a therapist. I am interested in feedback primarily from survivors. thanks.

Dear M---,
I've been writing this letter in my mind since you first told me what happened. I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to write it. I want to be encouraging, but not pushy and it's a fine line to walk. Please tell me if I ever get too pushy.
Well, I think I told you before that I have been seeing a therapist. He specializes in men who have suffered from sexual abuse, so he has been very helpful to me in better understanding this. I know it seems kind of surprising that I would want to see a therapist about this, but M--, you mean the world to me and I want to understand this problem better. I felt like I needed someone to help me process it all. I feel like it has helped me a lot.
So, I'm writing to you today to tell you how important you are to me, how much I love you, and to encourage you to see a therapist who can help you get through this. M---, this is not a "do it yourself" project. You don't have to suffer through this. Don't let money stop you from getting help, your piece of mind and well being are priceless.
And I just want to say how brave and courageous I think you are and how thankful I am to you for trusting me. I love you.

P.S. I've enclosed a helpful article on shopping for a therapist.

#57473 - 08/23/05 09:45 PM Re: advice on letter to SA victim
Zipser Offline

Registered: 05/19/05
Posts: 351
Loc: Connecticut

I want to be sure I understand this. Are you seeing a therapist yourself to work out your own issues or are you seeing a therapist so you can help your brother?

It must be very tough on you to see your brother in such pain. I'm sorry it happened and hope your brother can find a way to take that first step towards healing and recovery.

Your letter contains wonderfully supportive words and I hope they help.

One thing to remember is that for many survivors being in control is an imperative in their day to day lives. CSA will do that to you as your world gets turned upside down.

Telling your brother that you love him, that he's important to you, etc. is very helpful. Encouraging him to seek out a therapist and enclosing a helpful article on shopping for a therapist might trigger that control response so tread lightly.

As much as you may want it for him it is he who must take the first step. He has to know that he's not alone. If he comes to this site, even to read the posts on the public side, he'll find a safe environment and a whole bunch of support.

Good luck to you and your brother. Remember, it's just my opinion but I've given you my reaction as a survivor.

Best regards,


"I stand proud that the boy so badly damaged managed to get me this far and I will honor him and myself for being a survivor." - A member

#57474 - 08/24/05 04:31 AM Re: advice on letter to SA victim
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
most of us survivors say that we would never be dragged into therapy by someone else, however well intentioned.

Personally, and I'm no expert here, I think I would refrain from telling him that you're seeking help from a therapist to understand his problems.
I have my older brother in the room right now and I'm trying to imagine my reaction if he'd have done this when I disclosed to him a few years ago, and all I can say is that I think I'd have been pissed off with him.

Our healing process is one of moving away from a situation where 'control' was the major issue, sexual abuse is as much about control over another person than it is about sex. Many abusers quickly tire of their 'conquests' and move on to another, they crave the chase and the capture more than the sex.
So we can react badly to family, partners and friends who come along and try to help us, it smacks of control once again.

What we need is a safe environment to share our fears, support in making our decisions, someone to believe us and trust us.
I can see that you realise this when you say right up front -

I want to be encouraging, but not pushy and it's a fine line to walk. Please tell me if I ever get too pushy.
It IS a fine line, and none of us here could possibly define the exact place it lies either, but I think I'd find your letter just a bit 'pushy' - especially in the early days of coming to terms with all the possible issues that any survivor must face.

I hate to discourage anyone, and I'm such a believer in the support, love and help that outsiders can give survivors that I don't write this to put you off, I certainly dont want to do that.

Let him know that you're there for him, when he needs someone to be there for him.

It's an old quotation that's been around for ever, but worth repeating.

"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk alongside me, and be my friend"


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#57475 - 08/24/05 09:12 AM Re: advice on letter to SA victim
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
I have been on both sides of this issue and I would have to agree with what these two guys have said.

It was very easy for me, especially when I was not ready to face my issues myself, to get defensive and assume the worst when people told me how MY problems were affecting them. My biggest reaction was anger that this person was trying to create drama in his/her own life out of something that was real to me-- the thing was, it WASN'T quite "real" to me yet, so the idea that it could have an impact on anyone else was pretty unbelievable.

I've also had the feeling of "Please get yourself help, I'm scared and don't know what to do for you" as a sister and as a partner, and I have to say that you can get away with a bit more of it as a sister-- but not enough to get someone to change without him being ready to make the change.

I hope your therapist is helping you figure out not just how to understand what male survivors need, but how to find peace and healing no matter what your brother decides to do.


#57476 - 08/24/05 10:50 PM Re: advice on letter to SA victim
Dan88 Offline

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 247
Loc: DC
I don't really know enough to give good advice. But I will give you a couple thoughts on the topic.

If your brother has this bottled up completely, I think a letter might be disturbing. I know you mean well, but I also know that when I first told someone about my abuse I had tremendous anxiety about it. I would never have written a journal about it, for instance. Just seeing something in print that could fall into someone else's hands would have upset me. I can just imagine, what if someone else were present when I picked up the mail? What if they asked me what the letter said? What if I read it in a setting where I didn't have complete privacy? What if, God forbid, someone else got the mail first and opened it by accident or snooping?

The idea of sharing this stuff was incredibly scary and painful to me. I don't know if it is to your brother, but had I gotten that letter in one of the scenarios I mentioned above, the support and love intended in the letter would be lost, and the result would be that I would have deeply regretted telling you.

If your brother holds onto this secret tightly, I might suggest that you give him the letter in person at a time when you know he will be free to read it in private. Or, have a direct conversation with him about this.

Anyway, those are just my two cents. If they're relevant I hope they help. If not, forget em.


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