Email from Katherine:
"I recently learned that Kentucky has no statue of limitations for sexual abuse cases. My cousin abused me in Kentucky. I'm now wondering if I should report my abuse. I was always told I shouldn't because it didn't matter. My cousin has a partner and family now. I am wondering if my reporting would save their lives or ruin them."
Oooof, that's a really hard decision, Katherine. I'm thinking of a few things that would help *me* make such a decision.
1) Abuse that happened by an older kid is sometimes seen very differently by them. Did you ever confront your cousin about abusing you? If so, how did they respond? Someone's willingness to admit that they hurt someone can help us figure out if they're an abuser or someone who made a bad choice once.
2) I try to look at someone's behavior since the incident of the abuse. I seek out other relationship red flags besides physical or sexual abuse. How do they treat the other people in their life, especially women? I look for respect, equal partnerships. What about other areas of their life: work, school, friendships? Click here to view my slides on Relationship Red Flags for warning signs of potentially abusive behavior.
3) I'm struck by your sentence of "always being told I shouldn't because it doesn't matter," "Should" seldom steers us in the right direction. This is a time for you to listen to you. What does your gut instinct tell you about reporting? When you think about reporting him...does it seem like the "right" thing to do? Or does it feel like a "should"?
It's impossible to tell if someone's life may be ruined (and how do we define that anyway?) but your relationship with these folks will be perpetually changed. Consider whether that matters to you, Katherine. Good luck!
Reader, you can learn more about statutes of limitations for NC or any state in the US by clicking here.