Ask Ava

Ask Ava, Episode 166: "What if I told my parents about abuse, but they didn’t do anything?"

June 15, 2023 Safe+Sound Somerset Season 1 Episode 166
Ask Ava
Ask Ava, Episode 166: "What if I told my parents about abuse, but they didn’t do anything?"
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 166: "What if I told my parents about abuse, but they didn’t do anything?"

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You’re listening to the Ask Ava Podcast, where we give real answers to real questions from teens and young adults about relationships, consent, dating violence, and more.

My name is Jessica Skultety. I’m an Outreach and Prevention Manager at Safe+Sound Somerset. We are Somerset County, New Jersey’s lead organization for domestic and sexual violence services and prevention, and we have free services for children, teens, and adults who witness or experience violence.

Today’s question is: Dear Ava, "What if I told my parents about abuse, but they didn’t do anything?"

It’s tough when your parents or a trusted adult doesn’t support you in the way you’re looking for. We get this question pretty often from teens and young adults in our groups and classes. Another version we here is, “what if the adults don’t believe me?” which we talked about on Episode 64 of Ask Ava.

It takes a lot of courage to talk about abuse and assault, and sharing that with people you trust can be really difficult, no matter what.  If your parent doesn’t believe you or do anything, the first thing we recommend is finding another trusted adult to tell. It could be a different parent or family member, coach, teacher, friend’s parent, school administrator, counselor – basically, somebody who you trust. This person can sit down with you and provide resources and support you emotionally. Keep looking for a trusted adult if someone doesn’t believe you.

Remember that friends, especially if they’re teenagers, might not be able to support in the ways you’re looking for. That’s why we recommend a trusted adult. 

Parents might not believe you or do anything for a few reasons. They might be dealing with their own trauma or abuse, so they might shut down any thoughts of you going through it yourself. Parents might not do anything if they don’t know where to go or what resources are available. They might be afraid to get the system involved or they might be embarrassed or ashamed about your story getting out somehow. We know that some adults don’t take teen relationships seriously, either, so that could be part of it, too. But, we also know that abuse in young relationships can be just as harmful as adult, and it’s unfortunately very common.

If you can’t think of anyone else you trust, or other people don’t believe you either, you can also call or text our helpline, the Safe+Sound Somerset helpline. Even though we don’t know you, our trained staff can support you.

Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone, and there are people out there who want to support you. If you want to report the violence, get help, counseling, or some other kind of support, we encourage you to look for that regardless of what your parent says. Many of our services for teens can be accessed without parental permission, so also feel free to call or text our helpline to talk about your options. We believe you.

To speak with an expert about relationship or sexual violence, call or text the Safe+Sound Somerset 24/7 confidential helpline at 866-685-1122 for supportive listening, information, and safety planning. In the United States, you can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.  

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