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    I'm 16 and about a year ago i had a dream and it keeps repeating itself in my waking mind now. I'm REALLY confused if it is real but in the back of my mind there is a niggling feeling that it is. I somehow think i have had the dream before but forgot it. Ever since the dream i have remember more of the same scene of what happened. This was the dream: Basically when i was a child, i would say around 4 to 6 years of age i was playing with my lego with a relative (he was at least 13 at the time) and basically he said we can't play anymore of this game unless i came with him. He sat me on the bed and basically told me to take my trousers off and he took his off and basically exposed himself to me (i then remember being really scared and he told me to do the same and i wouldn't, he was erect). Whenever i think of the dream i have had panic attacks and because they are so bad, my parents took me to the doctors who prescribed betablockers. The relative who may have done this has mental/learning difficulties. The relative has lost his home so is now forced to live with us, i have ignored him for the whole year no matter what he says i ignore him, he hasn't come on to me at all. I have also had other signals which means i may have possibly been abused: when i played with my barbie dolls when i was little i pretended that they had sex etc. and i knew sexual words at a young age which i shouldn't have. I don't want to tell any relatives as although i think it may have been real, i'm not sure and also he has mental difficulties so i didn't know if he knew the difference between right/wrong. It would also split the family apart and my mom and dad basically have clinical depression and my mom is severely physically disabled, so i don't want to stress her. I don't think a therapist is a good idea as although i'm 16, the hospital STILL sends mail to my parents so they would find out. Is there any other routes i can take to get over this? And should i stop ignoring him and get on with my life although i think it was real? Any opinions are helpful especially people who have dealt with this before.

    Thanks for your message, I am so glad you got in touch. It must feel really scary and confusing to be having these dreams and panic attacks. What you are describing is totally normal for someone who may have been sexually abused as a child. It must be even worse to be living with the person who you think may have done this to you.

    The most important thing is to get help and to talk to some professionals about this. You have done the right thing coming here to get some advice, so well done. That first step can be really hard. You are right that a therapist would be great for you. As you are 16 the hospital should be respecting your wishes not to send letters home or to inform your parents. If you do not feel able to talk to them again and ask them to respect your rights, why don't you have a look at this link:


    Rape crisis are a brilliant organisation and can help anyone who has been sexually abused. They talk to lots of people who were abused as children and are only just coming to terms with it. You can ring them on their freephone helpline
    0808 802 9999
    12 - 2.30pm
    7 - 9.30pm

    Or you can look on the website and find details for your nearest centre. They will not tell your parents and will be able to give you the best possible support and advice.

    What happened to you was not your fault at all and it is important to talk about it as sexual assault can have long lasting impacts on our lives. I understand why you don't feel you can talk to your parents, but you should not deal with this alone.
    Well done on reaching out for help, keep going as this is the best way to recover and move on from what happened.
    Come back here anytime if you need to.

    take care
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Updated: April 2, 2013
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