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Monday, July 22, 2013

Sexual Abuse


Yup. We're going to talk about something that makes people really uncomfortable, sexual abuse. Not just sexual abuse as a whole; mainly child sexual abuse. Yup, that's even more taboo, no one wants to talk about that.

Let's start with story time, my daughter was both a victim and an abuser. How is that possible? Well, my daughter was a victim of child-on-child sexual abuse, that's when a prepubescent child is sexually abused by a child who is older. The child who abused my daughter was a female, a close member of our family, someone we trusted and never imagined that she could hurt my daughter or anyone for that matter AND she was a child. The truth is, she taught her inappropriate things and touched her inappropriately. When this happened I went through a world wind of emotions, I was devastated that it happened, I was angry about the lack of supervision, I was scared that the child who abused my daughter may have been a victim of sexual abuse, I was worried about how my daughters future sexual relations would be affected. I was a mess. It gets worse; I found out that my daughter was sexually abused only because my daughter was caught 'teaching ' another child what she had learned from her abuser. My daughter was now labeled an abuser, granted she was 'teaching' a child her own age, I still view it as abuse. Had my daughter never experienced the child-on-child sexual abuse this whole scenerio would have never occurred.

Now what? First I had to sort out what had happened, get all the details from both my child and the family that was involved, in addition apologize profusely for what my daughter had done to this child, I was mortified. Then I had to contact the parents of the child who had abused my child, I simply didn't have the courage to do that. I had my daughters father make that call, I just couldn't. These things weren't fun, it was emotionally draining and downright frightening.

No parent wants to believe their child would do something like that, sexually abuse another child. As a parent you start to question yourself, what did I do wrong? Could I have prevented this? Who can I trust? Why would my child do this? Is someone I know and close to abusing my child? The questions go on and on, the good parents will stop and evaluate the situation and not point fingers. Luckily, the parents of the child who abused my daughter were calm and talked to their daughter about it. I don't know what exactly went on at their end, its none of my business, but I do know that their child came clean. I am very fortunate that things were out in the open, although it was weird. My daughter was very open and receptive to the whole situation, I taught her the basics about sexual abuse and that anyone is capable of it. My daughter also spoke to several child psychologists and counselors, she wasn't a fan but she powered through it and I hope she learned a thing or two.

Even though this happened a couple of years ago, it still affects my daughter. I don't like it, in fact when she is around the child who abused her (yes, she is still allowed to see the child that abused her and the child she abused under close supervision) she often tells me she feels uncomfortable being really close (taking pictures, riding in the car, etc) to her prior abuser. I do my best to accommodate her and I'm sure the other members of our family do too. My daughter has trust issues and will happily tell people what they want to hear and oblige to things she's not comfortable with due to the abuse. Even if the things aren't sexually related, my daughter has come home to tell me that she said or did things to appease her grandparents, aunts, and cousins. While some people see that as a kind hearted child--they obviously never interacted with her prior to the abuse, she was confident and opinionated before. My daughter is afraid if rejection, this simple fact hurts my heart beyond words. Sexual abuse ruined my daughters self esteem, and I vow to rebuild it with her until the end if time.

I understand that no parent wants to admit to their child being a sex offender; but if you choose to push accusations or offenses under the carpet there is a substancially larger chance that your child will continue to engage in these types of behaviors. Don't let your ego as a parent or your shame allow you to turn a blind eye, if you can't do it for your child do it for everyone else's children.

1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys are sexually abused and 73% of the abusers have been abused themselves, these are facts.

Alright, I'm done, I'll step off my soapbox.


8 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing. You don't know the difference you've made simply by posting this.

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  2. I hope I make a difference, we have to advocate for our children and sometimes for other peoples children.

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    1. How brave of you and your daughter. It is certainly a taboo subject and quite possibly the fear in discussing it is what makes the statistics so alarming. My daughter was abused by a juvenile family member. The response from the child's father and family was denial. Nothing went well after that except that my child no longer sees those people via court arrangement. I have all the same fears for my daughter as you do yours. Your child passed along what she learned from someone older and trusted. I hope she doesn't blame herself.

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    2. Daniella Moore-MontierthJuly 22, 2013 at 6:04 PM

      I can only say that you are an incredible mother and your children are a true example of that. It breaks my heart to learn this but am grateful to know it. Perhaps you should let family members know what things make her uncomfortable...the last thing I would want is to find out I contributed in any way to diminishing her confidence or self esteem. I would want to know these things so I could help build her up and contribute to her comfort in my home. Again, you're amazing and I love you for sharing.

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  3. Daniella, you're right. I should probably say something but I would hate to offend some people as well. Its a touchy subject to most people and I think by bringing it up it could make people uncomfortable or have them look at my daughter in a different light, you know?

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    1. So true & so sad that we live in a world where no matter what we do, our children are always at risk of so many things. I think that your authentic ability to bring this scary subject to life in and of itself is an excellent start. You're right, in this case as the mother I think you have to follow your heart and do what you know / feel is in her best interest. I just truly wish people were more open minded and brave so that these subjects weren´t hidden and uncomfortable....prevention is education & empowerment. Hopefully, with your continued help and support she will again regain her self confidence and self esteem. I'm sure she will because of your love, support, compassion and openness.

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    2. So true & so sad that we live in a world where no matter what we do, our children are always at risk of so many things. I think that your authentic ability to bring this scary subject to life in and of itself is an excellent start. You're right, in this case as the mother I think you have to follow your heart and do what you know / feel is in her best interest. I just truly wish people were more open minded and brave so that these subjects weren´t hidden and uncomfortable....prevention is education & empowerment. Hopefully, with your continued help and support she will again regain her self confidence and self esteem. I'm sure she will because of your love, support, compassion and openness.

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  4. This has affected my family as well. A family member recently found out that (at least) two of her children were abused by an older sibling, and one of those children abused her youngest. Needless to say, she is pretty devastated. It ended with one of her children going to jail, and possibly another. She blames herself too because it all happened under her roof. I don't even know what to say or do for all of them. I visited her son in jail to let him know we love him in spite of his mistakes. Now that it's out in the open, we have seen some healing already. It's impacted her family in so many ways, I cant even begin to explain them all. Before it all came to light she was so confused why her family was falling apart. Her kids were angry, and lashing out...stealing, etc. The answer she got wasn't at all what she expected and it's totally rocked her world. Any advice?

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