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How To Cope With Child Molestation In The Family
The Perfect Family (my story)
The perfect family picture is not always the perfect family. My husband and I had been married for 2 years. I thought I knew everything there was to know about him. We had met not long afeter my daughter was born and married around her 5th birthday. She adored him and so did I. We talked about everything and had started a business together. we had a large 4 bedroom house and things were going great for us. We appeared to be the perfect family.
On our second wedding anniversary he dropped a bombshell on me. He explained that he needed help and asked if I would help him to get the help he needed. I still did not know what he was talking about. Then he explained that he had been molesting my daughter for the past 2 years. I was devestated and had no idea what to say or do. I asked her and she denied it. She was just 7 at the time.
I tried to hold my "perfect" family together but it was just not going to happen. He could not quit and I could not stand him any longer. My daughter appeared totally oblivious to everything and became aggitated when asked any questions. The final straw was the night I woke to find him standing over her bed staring at her. We divorced and he went to jail. I found out this had been going on in his family for several generations.
It Is My Fault because I Wanted It. (friend's story)
I was the oldest of 5 children and the only girl in my family. I helped my mom do all of the house work and cooking. I also worked hard in school. I was 9 when he first started. He made me feel so special. I thought that he liked me best. he would tell me how pretty I was and how much he loved me.
I thought this was how fathers were supposed to show their love. It did not occur to me that he was hurting me because it felt good . I actually looked forward to those times when he would come to me and even found myself longing for those "special" times with him.
When I did finally find out that this was not right I could not blame my father. It was my fault because I wanted him to do this. I never thought to tell because it was our secret and if I told then my father would quit loving me. I could not risk him not loving me any longer. This went on until I left home at 17.
These Stories Are Not Unique
These kind of stories and thousands more like them are echoed around the world every day. They are heartbreaking to say the least. What makes them even more devestating is the fact that the children do not realize that something is wrong.
Even with all of the attention that is in the media the children just do not know that what they are going through is not "normal". All they know is that they are getting attention that they so desperately want.
Many children try to tell but are ignored. Many more believe the threats of the molester and therefore do not tell. These children bottle up what tis going on and pray for the day they can escape.
Talk openly and honestly to your children concerning right from wrong touches. Listen when they speak. Do not block out what is going on. watch for signs if you suspect anything out of the ordinary.
Warning Signs of Abuse in Children
When warnings appear, it does not necessarily mean that a person is abusing a child. It is always important to err on the side of caution when protecting the rights of children. Some of the signs of abuse in children include:
- Sudden behavioral and emotional changes
- Changes in school performance
- Signs of physical injuries
- Withdrawal or mood swings
- Unjustifiable fears and nightmares
Warning Signs of Abuse in Adults
You can also observe the warning signs of abuse in adult abusers. If you worry about the conduct or actions of an adult who has contact with a child, you should watch for these warning signs of abuse:
- Lacks a close relationship or concern for his or her child
- Blames the child for behavioral and school problems
- Places unreasonable burdens on others for the care of a child
- Views the child as worthless and bad
Act quickly if you suspect a person is abusing a child. The long-term effects of abuse on a child last a lifetime.
Sexual Abuse Victims Support Hotlines
U.S. National Child Abuse Hotline:
Nationwide 24-hour telephone hotline that offers support and advice to:
- Children who are being abused
- Caregivers who feel they might abuse a child or who have abused a child
- Survivors of child abuse
- Others who suspect child abuse
SNAP: Survivors Network of those Abused By Priests:
Online as well as phone support for sexual abuse from priests, even for abuse that is decades old.
THERE IS HOPE
I just wanted to tell you that there is HOPE. Victims can recover and live relatively normal lives.
My daughter and I attended 3 years of counseling together at the time. She is now 24 years old and working on a PHD in clinical psychology. She is in her first year of college but her GPA is 3.8 after year one.
It was not easy to get to this normal life for us and we went down a lot of wrong turns. I would say to those who are suffering through this, Listen to the counsleor, get in a support group, take courage. You are not alone, many have gone before and there are others there now. Reach out.