I am Telling

If you have decided to tell- that is great! Telling can be very scary, but is really the best way to stop getting hurt, protect yourself, and even protect others. This page has important ideas to help you decide how to tell, who to tell, and what to say.

Make a Plan:
Planning it out can be helpful. Use the ideas here to make your plan. Decide who to tell, where to tell them, and what to say.

Pick three different people to tell.
Most people will believe you and will help you. But just in case, have more people already lined up to tell. 
ex: I will tell my favorite teacher first.
If it doesn't work, I will tell the minister at church.
If it doesn't work, I will call the police, and tell them.

Pick a safe place to tell.
A public place like school, a restaurant, church, or a store is a great place to tell. Wherever you pick, just try to be far away from the person who is hurting you.
 Ex. If it is happening at school, tell someone at church, or call the police from a store.

Write it down.
In a safe place, write down what happened, and take it with you when you tell. Sometimes it is hard to talk. You can hand the note to the person if it hurts too much to say it out loud. Your note can be as simple as "I need help, someone is hurting me."

Get angry
The person who hurt you had no right to do it. You have every right to protect yourself. You will protect yourself, and he can't stop you. No matter what anyone else says or does, you know you can do this.

What if you you need to protect someone else?
Your first job is to get help for yourself. Once you are safe, you can try and help others too. But if you are really scared someone else could get hurt,  you can wait until you are both someplace safe (like school), and then tell a teacher, or call the police.

What if there is no safe place?
If you are never away from the person hurting you, you can call 911 when he is in the bathroom, or sleeping. You can run to a neighbor's house, and call 911 from there. Send an email to the police with your name, address and what is happening. If you are in a big store like Walmart- find the store manager, and tell him.

Pick a person who does not know the person who is hurting you.
Almost anyone is ok to tell, but it is much safer to tell someone who does not have to choose between you and him. This is very important if it is someone in your family, or in your house. It is tempting to tell a parent, or brother or sister. Sometimes, it takes time for them to really understand. A teacher, doctor, or the police are safer to tell at first. Once you tell them, they will help you tell others who care about you, and help them understand.

What if the person I tell thinks I am lying?

So long as you pick someone who doesn't know the abuser, this probably will not happen. The best way to prepare, just in case, is to have a 2nd and 3rd person person lined up to tell. So, if the first one doesn't work out, you can tell the 2nd one.
Plan to tell your favorite teacher at school first.
(By law, teachers have to help you. So this will almost always work.)
Your backup plan might be to tell the guidance councilor at school


Plan for the worst, hope for the best.
Chances are, if you take some of the ideas above, you will get help with the first person you talk to. But, prepare for the worst. If that person doesn't believe, or doesn't help, be ready to go to the next person.

Again- Tell someone you trust who doesn't know the person who is hurting you.

This was said already, but it is so important. People who know you, and do not know the person hurting you will be more likely to believe you. A teacher at school, a doctor, or a police officer are almost always your best first choices.

After you tell:
Once you have told, try to stay with safe people until you are sure they believe and will help you. If you tell at school, and they seem to be helping you, stay there, and don't leave until you are sure you are safe. It could be very dangerous to go back to your house or anywhere else until you are sure they are protecting you.

Only tell as much as you want, but be truthful:
When telling, it is hard to talk about some parts of it, and that is ok. Only tell as much as you can, and only when you are ready. Giving one clear example of something that happened is usually enough to be protected.