I am 15 years old, and live with my little brother,
mother, and stepfather. My stepfather is an
alcoholic, and my mom has been putting up with
this for around 3 years. She's tried to make
him go to AA meetings. But nothing has changed,
and things have only gotten worse. My stepfather
argues with my mom nearly every other day,
calling her names and sometimes throwing objects.
He started sexually harassing me when I was
13, trying to touch me under my clothes when
we were alone together.
When I finally summed
up the courage to tell this to my mother a
year ago (afraid to share my feelings with
her because she's so critical), she believed
me...but she has not done anything about it since,
except confronting my stepfather. I don't understand
why she didn't leave him right there, maybe
she doesn't trust me, or want to face reality...But
now i am beginning to feel somewhat guilty.
At school, my grades have dropped, and I always
feel depressed, empty, and helpless. My friends
think I have become distant and always seem
sad. I hate being in this house, and i constantly
lock myself away in my bedroom. I still do
not feel safe around him, and just looking
at my stepfather makes me feel dirty and uncomfortable.
I'm so sick of this...I don't know what else
I can do other than tell a teacher/guidance
counselor at my school... And even then, I
don't know if they would take me seriously,
or what will happen to all of us if they report
us. I don't want to be taken away from my mother,
or my stepfather to get angry at me for letting
something "slip" at school.
can I seek help, and what should I do?!
I think what you have to do is to revisit this
conversation with your mother. It's not enough
that she believes you -- she has to be willing
to change the situation to some extent -- and
really to not endanger her children any more.
I'm sure she is fearful - there is probably
some support she gets from him (emotional,
financial, etc..) and she is scared to relinquish
this and thus tolerates the abuse as a balance
or under the assumption that when weighted
it's more important that she has the other
things she is getting in the relationship.
However, it's one thing for her to tolerate
it, but it's another when she makes you vulnerable.
I think that you need to address this with
her -- tell her that it is affecting you in
other ways. I think it's crucial to try to
address this with her directly because if/when
you do address it with the school -- they are
mandated under law to report it -- and thus
social workers will have to intervene and that
will make her and you even more vulnerable.
This certainly isn't a reason not to report
it, but I think if your mother knows what the
consequences are, she will begin to make different
choices. It's better to be in control of your
situation than to let someone else take over.
For your sake, too, I think it will be good
to hear her express why she can't just leave
or kick him out-- assuming that is her perspective
-- not that you have to understand it at all
-- but I think she oddly probably thinks its
in your best interest and once she hears you
express that it's not, she will thinking reprioritize.
I hope so. In lieu of the situation changing
immediately, is there another family member
(aunt, uncle, grandparents, father, etc...)
or adult, whom you can live with so you can
begin to start taking care of yourself?
I hope that helps -- good luck and take care,