Dear 100 Hour Board
So I need some advice here. I know you are not lawyers or in any professional capacity. A family member recently let it slip to my husband that she suffered some sort of sexual assault recently, we think at school, but has since graduated. She immediately clammed up after alluding to it and begged him not to say anything to her parents. She had a long and troubled history, including sexual abuse from a family member when she was younger, lots of behavioral problems, lots of teenage drama and lying and fights, but she's seemed to be doing better lately and graduated high school and has a job. I don't know what to do with this information. If she had really involved parents I would probably tell them anyway, but hers are not parents of the year and might freak out or might accuse her of lying for attention or something, which might have been the case a few years ago but I don't think that's the case now or that we should ignore a possible sexual assault anyway. Not knowing anything about it, how bad it was, how long ago it was, whether it was verbal harrassment or rape, whether it may have started out consenual or not, means I have no idea if we should push her to report it or get counseling or just wait and support and see if she decides in her own time to open up. I also don't know what resources would be available to her without telling her parents, because she's 18 but not in school anymore, not in college, and still living with her parents and they are not financially well off. Any advice or resources you can point me to to get advice, since I realize this may be above your pay grade?
I'm so sorry about this entire situation. Honestly, I'm not sure what the best course of action is either. However, I think that maybe the first step would be to try and get this family member to open up to you and your husband a bit more about this. Express your desire to help and let her know you're there to support her.
I do think getting her into counseling is a very good idea. You might even be interested in this online site, which might help bypass concerns about her parents preventing her from getting into therapy. That would cost anywhere from $35-$70 per week for unlimited access to an online counselor.
I don't know what to tell you in regards to reporting this incident. My very unprofessional guess would be to wait until you have more information.