General Question

LeopardGecko's avatar

Attention: Mom's and Dad's. How would you anticipate you would reacte (or how did you) if you found out about your son or daughter being a victim of sexual abuse?

Asked by LeopardGecko (1232 points ) January 10th, 2010

Situation A: Your son was molested at the age of 3 multiple times, by somebody you formerly knew. He now has told you about it at the age of 19.

Situation B: Your daughter was sexually assaulted and she told you right after it happened. Months later it happened again and she again told you right after. She begged you not to tell the police has the assailant had threatened to kill her if she told (he was also in a high profile gang)

For both or just one situation,

What kinds of questions would you/did you ask?
What would/what was your reaction to this?
What would/what did you do for them after this?

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25 Answers

nebule's avatar

I would go to the authorities in either situation… but get the hell away from there first!!! The person must be stopped

dutchbrossis's avatar

A : Wouldn’t it be rare that they would still remember it at the age of 19 about something that happened at the age of 3 ?
In A it would also depend on what my son wanted me to do. If he was hurt at the time, if he still had psychological problems from it. If he said it wasn’t abuse and didn’t hurt him and didn’t want me to do anything I may respect his wishes.

In B that is a tough one. How old is my daughter ? I would tell her not to worry, and tell the police what is going on and what he said to her. I would also explain the fear my daughter has and make sure they help make sure she is in a safe place and that it is taken care of. I would also get her counseling or whatever she needs to help her because all that and being threatened I am sure is traumatic

GQ

rangerr's avatar

@dutchbrossis “Wouldn’t it be rare that they would still remember it at the age of 19 about something that happened at the age of 3 ?”
No.

fundevogel's avatar

I’d be pissed. At the appropriate parties of course.

Trance24's avatar

@dutchbrossis I was sexually molested for the first time at the age of three, by my step father at the time. Those same first memories still haunt me today (I am 19), you would be surprised at how such a horrible thing will stick with you for the rest of your life.

dutchbrossis's avatar

@rangerr I wouldn’t know about something like that. I know the only things I know from when I was that age is what I have been told. I don’t remember really anything.

@Trance24 I am sorry about all that. I didn’t know that, I know I don’t remember anything from that age.

Trance24's avatar

@dutchbrossis Thats ok, not everyone can remember that far back.

fundevogel's avatar

@Trance24 On average kids start forming lasting memories at age two. Not remembering something like sexual abuse at that age would probably be the result of repression. I don’t know how common that is, but Dr. Drew says even those kids that don’t remember still have a profound feeling of being abused. Not being able to remember certainly doesn’t mean escape from mental harm, not that you were suggesting that.

Arisztid's avatar

What would go through my mind? Murder.

What I would do. First thing, I would not go to the police because I know that the law is ineffectual and my daughter or son would be raked over the coals even if something would be done. Often after the coal raking the rapist/molester gets away with a hand slap or nothing.

In the first scenario, I would have an advantage: I wound not be the prime suspect after I did what I needed.

In the second situation, things would be more complex. I would be main suspect and would face a street gang. One thing about your scenario would not have happened: you said it happened a second time after the first.

I do not know what I would do because I have lived in a gangzone and I know that, even if I disposed of the assailant, my family and myself would be in grave danger.

However, I could not do nothing. There would not be a second time. I would do everything I could to move, she would never go anywhere unaccompanied by me.

I hope that I would be in a situation to do something directly to the rapist, however, I would have to know the situation and the gang involved. Gangs change everything. If it is a pissant street gang that is one thing. If it is along the lines of the Bloods or Crips, that is a whole other story. Also, depending on the gang, I would talk to the leader of the gang because some gangs do not allow that.

I would make absolutely certain that my daughter or son got all possible help.

RedPowerLady's avatar

In terms of the daughter I would absolutely tell the authorities unless I thought for some reason it would be bad for her healing process. It would have little to do with fear of him being in a high profile gang etc.. Now if there were a threat to my daughter because of said gang then I would obviously take steps first to mitigate that threat. However for many people they do not want to “tell” not knowing that it impedes the healing process for many at a later point.

What type of questions would I ask? I would simply listen and comfort at first. I’d ask questions relevant to what they were saying. But I wouldn’t pressure them to make sure they were telling the truth or to get unnecessary details (for me which may be different for a cop or counselor).

What would my reaction be? I would be mortified and sad for them. I would comfort them and let them know they are not to blame. Then I would let them know what options there are and why I want them to consider those options. I would be clear about what steps I was going to take and let them have time to process that mentally.

What steps would I take? The first step I would take is make sure they felt safe, whatever that meant to them. Then, I would put them in counseling to deal with the trauma. I would also work on contacting the appropriate authorities but making sure my child felt safe and had the opportunity to heal are my first priorities.

Of course this, for me, is all hypothetical. Because in such serious hard emotional situations we never know what resources we will have and how we will react. There might be circumstances (that i can’t imagine) that would change my mind.

Arisztid's avatar

Oh, I forgot…

I have a long memory and woud wait enough time for suspicion to be off of me in the instance with my daughter..

Then I would do what I needed.

Yes, I am vengeful. Yes, I have the makings of a vigilante. I am this way because of my life experiences with the “justice” system.

And as far as escorting her everywhere, if I could not be the one to do it at all times (which would be likely), I would make certain that a trusted man who knew how to fight did it for me.

As for my son, before I acted, I would make certain his memories were true. How I would do that I cannot say because I do not know that much but I would learn.

john65pennington's avatar

Your son: that was an awfully early age. are you sure your son even remembers back that far? if so and there is proof, the statute of limitations has not run out on the arrest of this person. i would go see my local Attorney General and seek their advice.

Your daughter: where were you when the first rape occured? no matter what your daughter begged of you, why did you not notify the police? and, it occured over and over and you have yet to contact the police? you asked our opinion and here is mine: how you, as her mother, could not and did not take any action is beyond me. you continually allowed your daughter to be raped….how old was your daughter when this occured? if she is/was a minor, you can be held responsible and arrested for child endangerment. for both your children, again contact your local District Attorney.

TLRobinson's avatar

As a survivor of the baby sitters brother molesting me at the age 3, please do not discount the memory of a child, when it’s traumatic.

I am 43 and can still rehash the entire incident and the aftermath at the police station.

I am under the belief and practice you create an open line of communication with your children where there is no fear recrimination and honesty.

I talk and share with my children the importance of talking to mom and dad about everything! Even when there is a threat by the perpetrator.

What would I do? I would believe my child, notify the police and kill him/her; not necessarily in that order.

casheroo's avatar

I’d be devastated for my child. I would do all I could to punish the offender.

The types of question I asked would depend on what they wanted to tell me. If my daughter were raped, I would not force her to talk to me about it, but I would promptly put her into therapy, and a rape support group and do all I could to let her know it was not her fault.

Arisztid's avatar

@casheroo Ditto. I would leave that up to the therapist and my child to decide on both situations. No way would I force them to speak of it to me unless they wanted to. I would want them to speak to me, however, this might make them uncomfortable.

@TLRobinson I concur. I would, however, make absolutely certain of such an old memory before I took my measures, which would be, literally, murder. I do not know how I would do this. If it came down to his word, if he was clear on it, his word it would be. If it was a vague recollection, like childhood memories sometimes are, I would look further.

ubersiren's avatar

I honestly don’t know how I would react initially. I know what I would want to do. I’d want to bring fresh bloody vengeance on the offender. But in reality, I’d probably just cry and feel helpless until it was time to run the obstacle course of courts, humiliation and injustice.

I’d try to find out all I could from a younger child, but not force anything. For an older daughter, it would probably be best to let her know that you’re there if and when she was ready to talk. I’m sure there’s some counseling or therapy that would be recommended for both parent and child in either of your situations.

casheroo's avatar

I finally told my parents about my rape experience, when I was 19..the rape occurred when I was 14. Now, the first person I told was my father..I’m not sure how I expected him to react. They are very loving parents, but I was still doing therapy to try to cope with what had happened, and having kept it to myself for a while. My father just said “Well, it’s been a while, so you’re over that by now” or something to that effect. I was honestly devastated. I felt almost all my issues had been related to that one incident and they barely batted an eye. :(

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have a connection to gangs of my own. Enough said.

rangerr's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I’m my own gang.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@rangerr yes and I’d recruit your services as well

cookieman's avatar

@casheroo: That’s awful. I’m sorry you got that reaction.

First I would make sure my child was cared for properly and had whatever support he or she needed.

Then, I would find the perpetrator and beat them within an inch of their life making sure to break as many bones as possible.

I’m not a violent person, but I’d make an exception.

LeopardGecko's avatar

@john65pennington – I am not the parent, I am victim of situation A.

@john65pennington, @dutchbrossis – You are both right, but are wrong about one thing. I remember next to nothing at the age of 3, but the abusive encounters are very vivid memories. I can see the room I was in, what the place looked like, what the people looked like, what was said, what was done, almost as if I was there not too long ago, besides this though I do not accurately recall anything else at this age.

I am asking this question as when I told my mom she seemed to be caring and loving towards me but at the same time she was asking questions which seemed as if she was angry at me such as “Why didn’t you tell anybody about it?”. I wanted to see how other parents would react. I was quite shocked as I did not expect her to be somewhat angry.

Arisztid's avatar

@casheroo Holy crap! That is shocking.

zookeeny's avatar

Its her own emotions and upset getting tangled up in her reaction to what you have told her. We all want to have 100% perfect and attentive parents but in reality we are all human and her anger wasnt directed at you as such it was probably all part of the confusion and sadness and shame and anger at herself etc that she was feeling in that moment. It is very common as far as I know (told by my therapist and psych nurses) that parents react in confusing ways – anger being one of them. Her anger is most probably really directed at herself wondering what she was doing wrong at the time that she wasnt aware what was happening etc. Talk to your therapist about her reaction it will help you understand the complexity of her reaction is more to do with her then you – though it still hurts and confuses you I am sure. Its what makes abuse issues nver straight forward as it is always so dark and horrible and complicated all the tangled of emotions it has ontop of the actual abuse itself it is the repercussions which continue on.

Eureka's avatar

I would kill the person who molested my child. Sorry, but that is what I would do. And it would not be a quick death.

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