Parental education and communication: exploring delayed disclosures of child sex abuse
Child sexual abuse (CSA) disclosures are significantly delayed by many victims which can cause additional hardships on the victims and society. This study explored the role of communication and education in the parent-child relationship to investigate whether they facilitated in a quicker disclosure of CSA. In this retrospective study 11 adult survivors of CSA were interviewed about education and communication in their home growing up and how it affected their delayed disclosure of CSA. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded for common themes. This study provided insight into why disclosures are delayed or nonexistent. For instance, most of the participants reported that if the lines of communication were opened and their parents educated them about CSA, it would have led to them disclose sooner. There were nine themes that emerged from the data with helplessness being the overreaching theme. Participants felt helpless in dealing with the abuse whether it was from fear, shame, limited familial support, lack of education and communication. These findings help to explain some steps families can take in the area of CSA that can lead to quicker disclosures and minimize the damaging effects of CSA on their children and society.