- Family and Parenting»
Your child stated they were molested now what?
What happens next
This is the last thing a parent or anyone ever wants to hear. The problems start the minute we find out about it, and get worse from there, because we now have to deal with it. In many cases over 90% of them actually, the person being accused is someone you know, trust and consider a good family member or friend. You know this person and you know they would never do anything to hurt a child. You know this person has been around many children and they have never said anything. You know this person is well liked trusted by others, and your child loves them. This person may be married and have kids of their own, and yet you are supposed to believe a child over them. Then you start to realize, what kind of person am I if this is true and I allowed it to happen to my child. So obviously the child is making it all up and this did not really happen. I’m going to prove it; I will get to the bottom of this right now.
So you start to ask the child, when did this happen? Where did this happen? How is this possible when so and so was there that day? How often did this happen? Where did they touch you? How come you didn’t say anything then? Who told you about these things? These answers determine your next reactions, is it take the child to the hospital to be checked, call the cops, call the person they accused, or wait and do nothing? That just depends on your level of belief at this point, right now you are becoming the judge and jury of what the child has come forward and stated. Your emotions are all over the place; while you feel you may be calm at this point you are probably not. So how should you move forward at this point, well this is where it really gets hard, what everyone says they would do if someone touched their child, and then realize you have to be there for the child first and foremost.
The first thing every person needs to do when a child comes forward is remain calm and not overreact. Not all accusations are true and sometimes a child may be leading to the truth if you just listen and not react. If the story has details that only someone who was touched would know, then it is time to contact the professionals and look for guidance through them. Do not contact the person being accused at any point, no matter what. If they were supposed to babysit or be around that child that day, make up an excuse to prevent this. Remember once a victim of child molestation comes forward the abuse stops, unless we ignore what they are saying to us. Yes this may not be the case where someone has legal visitation to them, but authorities and counselors can help stop this as well.
If the last event that happened to the victim was recent going to the hospital right away may help the situation, often times if you call the police they will send someone to meet you at the hospital that has worked these types of cases, along with some advocate from Family and Social services, depending on the laws in your state. It is crucial not to over question, make accusations or scare the child into feeling like they have done something wrong. This can lead to the child shutting down and allowing the abuse to continue, just because they don’t want to be in trouble.
In order to get the truth to come out you need to act like nothing is wrong and let the child tell you what happened, save your questions until they are done. When you do ask questions, ask them in a way that is calm and on their level, don’t expect adult answers from a young child, there explanations of events is going to be how they perceived them in their mind, not how you would describe them. When you do get to the doctors or hospital, make sure someone is there that has experience dealing with sexual abuse, meaning don’t let just anyone question your child, it needs to be a professional that has experience in these types of cases. If you live in a really small town you may want to go one town over to get someone who has more experience.
If the accused lives in your home, don’t confront them at any point and especially not in front of the child. You don’t need to ruin their life over something that may not be true, and you definitely don’t want to allow them to confront the child who has finally come forward to tell you about it. If the accusation is true, it is crucial from this point forward that evidence is gathered to prevent this person from ever harming another child again. In order to do this, authorities must be involved and experts must be used to evaluate the situation. Even if the accusation was false you have another issue here and need to get to the bottom of it.
So what is next? You have done these few steps you will start to hear whether the experts believe the child and how the police plan to proceed. If there was no physical trauma present in the examination, then the police will most likely interview the accused, if they are in the home they may even notify them they have to leave until the matter is resolved. Here is where it starts to get hard for you, as if you haven’t just heard enough to be emotionally distraught.
One, no one accused of child molestation is ever going to admit it, regardless what the evidence says at this point. It then becomes the child’s word against the accused, which means this person, that everyone including yourself trust, will have people taking sides and likely will not believe your child. The accused may even look for people to be on his side to help discredit the child, bring up things like the time they lied about this or that, over all the accused now becomes the victim here. Stay focused, you have experts on your side, and everyone’s opinion is not going to be put on the stand when this goes to court.
The worst part is, this can take a year or two before it even makes it to trial depending on court system. Often times defense attorney’s will want to see your child’s counseling records so they can offer a second opinion, don’t worry this is a ploy to drag this out, in hopes your child’s story changes and so by the time it does go to court your child is much stronger and looks less like a victim. Be prepared, your child’s story over time is going to change, this is common, not to say they changed what happen, but often times they remember details they had forgotten about and through counseling they start to remember more.
The prosecutor while on your side is going to want to make a deal here, don’t expect someone to get life in prison for this. These cases are hard to prove in court and many people still believe this doesn’t really happen or shouldn’t be made public and are not on your side. It is much easier to disbelieve a child than it is to think an adult is guilty of these types of crimes. Sure when you hear about it on the news it is horrible and you can’t believe that sick person did something like that. Or you watch lifetime, Law and order and the person confesses, this is not factual, it is rarer than you can imagine. Some prosecutors will offer these guys pleas that don’t involve admitting to what they did to the child but will give them the same amount of time and not have to register on the sex offenders list.
Use the time you have with your child to re build them up, so they can become survivors and not victims. Take the time to understand there was probably nothing you could have done to prevent this person from selecting your child. Even parents that think there child is around no one that could do this, are often wrong, sometimes it is one of the parents that commit these crimes. There are over 3 million children that will be sexually abused in some form this year alone, and only a small percentage will ever report it. To this point you may be thinking, why should I report it if I have to go through all this? The answer is simple, because you are now know it happened and who did it. How would you feel if later your best friends’ child was molested or this person found a way to keep molesting your child because you didn’t come forward?
If you are like many parents when you look back at this, you will notice a lot of signs were there and you missed them. I am going to give some of the signs here and show why they are easily missed. It is easy to spot them after the fact, and hard to recognize when you’re not looking for them. Acting out is a big sign, what child doesn’t act out when they can’t have something? Outburst of anger, every person gets angry from time to time. Nightmares, although some children have had nightmares and never been molested, myself included. New adult words for body parts, and yet how often would we blame TV for that? Not wanting to be left with someone, who you know they have never had problems with in the past, of course it could just be your child doesn’t want you to go to work today, or they want your attention. So you see how easy it can be to miss some of these signs, clearly the only thing you can do is inform your child about good touches and bad touches and hope they tell the person not to touch them there, a child that speaks out is less likely to be molested, these guys are typically not rapist, they use control and count on the child staying quiet.
That said even when you talk with your children, this type of predator has built a relationship of trust and can easily manipulate a child into thinking this is ok, and they will also often use threats afterwards that keep them quiet. I do want to add that I once had a grandmother tell me she was afraid to hug her grandchild for fear this would make them falsely accuse her of something. I was absolutely appalled when I heard it, I couldn’t believe people think a child could describe sexual acts and have that knowledge and details needed to convince experts they were molested because they got a hug. A hug is a good touch, affection is still needed with our children today and we should all show it to them, now if some person we didn’t know tried to hug our child of course this might be cause for concern.
In conclusion, while there are many signs of how to spot child molesters most of them describe someone who could also just love the child. You will see people post to this story that they know someone who is falsely accused, I encourage if you read this article that you read up on the facts about child molesters. They are all falsely accused, some even claim the child said this or that and they were arrested and went right to prison afterwards, with no evidence against them. I am not saying no one was ever falsely accused of this crime or any other, I am saying the chances that you know the person and they got convicted is probably slime that they were innocent. Approximately 12% of child sex offenders have been wrong fully convicted over the years, which mean 88% were guilty as charged. This also did not mean the child victim was not molested in some of these case’s the victim was too scared to come forward about who was really molesting them and named someone just to get it off their chest. Don’t confuse that twelve percent as a yearly stat either that was over many years, so it is closer to 1% a year or less. This is not a story about guilt or innocence; it is a story to help those going through this type of tragedy. Child molesters see themselves as the victims here and will post their story simply to show not all cases are this hard on the victims. I did not put half of the trauma a child goes through in this article for that reason; I will not empower them to know how much damage they have really done. It is hard enough as a parent to stop blaming themselves and realize they did not cause this or force someone to molest their child. There is no logical reason why your child was selected and someone else’s was not. These types of criminals are often great with kids, closed to you, trusted with other children, and may have never done this before, they often have a spouse of some sort, meaning they are not normally some loner guy who is never around kids.
The problem then becomes your child as they get older, may act out through drug abuse, sexual activity, or molesting other children themselves. This is a vicious cycle and the only way to stop it is to get them help early, and to get yourself help to learn how to deal with what you may face in the future. Don’t go through this alone, find someone such as a counselor or someone you can trust and have them sit down with you and explain different ways to handle some of the stress you are going through, and will eventually go through. Child molesters literally kill the innocence that your child once had, and now you have to become a different parent, more aware of signs, to protect not only your child but others as well. It may be truly difficult to believe that the person accused is capable of this, you may love them even and don’t want to lose them. Trust in the facts and if they did molest your child, work on it with your child and let the police handle the accused, times will be hard enough in the future, don’t lose focus on the real victim here.