What is the first step I need to take to come forward about sexual abuse?


The first thing you need to know is when it happened, generally, and where. We don’t need a date but it could be as little as “I was at Saint Mark’s School in the third grade.” It’s also really helpful to know who was the perpetrator. It doesn’t mean you need their full legal name but if you can identify them—“we always called him Father Tom” or “he was the principal” or “he was the basketball coach”—because there are other things we can do to look at those records and figure out who that person was. Can you pick them out of a yearbook?

One of the things that is important is that these things generally don’t happen in isolation. If you identify that person, it is likely that someone else will as well. That’s what builds it. That’s the corroboration and evidence that you need going forward. It could be very little to start with and as we go through the litigation process, the discovery process, usually the proof is in the institution’s files, that people were talking about this. There was a report. There’s something there and they’ve got the proof.

Provided By

Jeff Dion

CEO, Zero Abuse Project