You do not have to tell anyone about what happened to you. However, many survivors find comfort in confiding in others. Here are some tips and tricks for taking as much control as you can over your disclosure NOT their reactions because...
- they will have their own feelings and reactions to your disclosure
- you cannot control the feelings and reactions of another person(s)
So when deciding to disclose think about "The Disclosure W's" and remember that somebody responding in disbelief does not mean the assault didn't happen or it was your fault.
Taking Control of Your Disclosure
Why: Think about the reasons behind why you want to disclose. These reasons can provide valuable insight on how and who to disclose.
Who: If possible, choose persons who are likely to believe, support you and respect confidentiality. Keep in mind that some individuals (i.e., mandatory reporters) are required by law to report a sexual assault.
When: Disclosing an assault can drain a lot of energy from you and create uncomfortable feelings for the recipient. Think about a time in which you and the recipient can best take-care of yourselves after the disclosure.
Where: Consider your and the recipient's possible reactions. Where would these reactions best be fit especially if there are safety concerns? If you choose a private setting (e.g., home) take control of the environment by arranging the place in a configuration that makes you most comfortable and reminds you that you have control over your disclosure.
Other Tips: Have something near or on you that represents strength so in times of doubt you can focus on that thing.