Our expert says:
I can understand your situation. TO people who haven't experienced this sort of rather chaotic home situation, it seems odd that one didn't blow the whistle at the time, but it's not always as easy as it seems from the outside, especially if one has absentee or irresponsible parents. And abusers often make it a point to persuade you that nobody will believe you.
It's a legal question as to whether you would still have a right to sue the perpetrator --- but though it's understandable that you feel furious and would like him to be punished, even if you have still a legal right to do so, it's often not such a good idea as it might seem --- it can be very hard to prove, after all this time, and he'd presumably deny it ; and such a case can bring back all the unpleasant memories very nastily, and allow HIS lawyer to be very unpleasant to you in the witness box.
I'd think that the first priority would be for you to see a good local shrink for an assessment and discussion of treatment options. Preferably not a shrink you specializes in nothing but cases of earlier abuse, but one who has some experience of such situations, among other problems --- because it will be important for them to focus, in working with you, on the current problems you have right now, rather than exclusively digging back into the past. We can't change anything that happened in the past, but we can change how we choose to feel about it, what conclusions we choose to draw from it, and what we choose to do about it and about our future.
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