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PLEASE HELP. Sexually Explicit!!
June 4, 2007
12:12 am
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northernlights
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My 3 year old daughter was playing with her pricate area the other night. I know this can be normal bust she kept doing it and I hadn't ever seen her do it before. I asked her "what are you doing honey?" She said "I am wiggling my body" I asked "why"..."cuz it feels good". I asked her where she learned this and she named a very close family member. She proceeded to show us how to do it and said "you have to stick the fingers all the way up." We didn't want to probe too much b/c we want honest answers. She did not sway from this version of the story one iota. My husband confronted the person and of course she completely says it is not true. We don't know what to do. We don't want this person to be prosecuted and we don't want our family to fall apart either. We have alway been a very "normal" family.(whatever that is) and if you could be surprised about this happening to anyone and by this person, you couldn't be more shocked. I am so scared and lost and confused. Any advice on how to tell if this is real. Can a 3 yr. old fabricate, or embellish this kind of stuff. Please help.

June 4, 2007
1:01 am
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Loralei
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I seriously doubt that a 3 year old is capable of fabricating or embellishing this kind of stuff. Particularly the "you have to stick the fingers all the way up". I didn't know a hole even existed there until I was around 12. Children are very honest. The only time they might lie is if they think they are going to get in trouble for something. And this didn't sound like that case at all. And this isn't the kind of story a child would make up, IMO. And since she named the individual involved, it sounds pretty certain.

Of course, you don't know the circumstances as to how this happened. Your daughter could have caught the family member masturbating and started asking questions. That's the most innocent version I could come up with. Anything aside from that is truly scary. And you can't count on the family member to tell you the truth because they will be trying to cover their ass since this is such an explosive topic. You may never learn the real truth.

If you don't want to prosecute your family member, then I advise you to keep all children away from her. I think you should also confront her again and reiterate the seriousness of this event. Since I don't know the age of your family member, it's hard to judge if they were actually old enough to know better themselves. People aren't born knowing that these things are inappropriate and must be taught.

June 4, 2007
1:05 am
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northernlights
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Thank you for your reply....she is 55 years old. Definitley knows better. This is just horrible.

June 4, 2007
2:02 am
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mamacinnamon
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I agree w/ Loralei. A child of this age may play w/ herself, but to tell you how to do it and how it feels is something a child has been told. Whether it came about innocently or not, I don't think I'd just let it go. Are there other small children in your family? What if you find out later she went on to do this to other children and you could have prevented it?

Things like this if not caught early will cause major damage to the abused person. Yes, I said ABUSED. If this has happened even 2 times it is sexual abuse. Things like this do not just stop here. You caught it early. What if this were 5 years later and she'd been molesting your child for the last 5 years. I don't think fingers and wiggling would be the only thing goin on at that point in time.

You are this child's parent. It is your responsibility to protect your child at all costs. No, I am not saying to come in on a blaze of glory and make her life hell. I am sayin tho that this left alone will manifest into something far worse for your or some other child. Even if it means you threaten her to an inch of her life and the police are not called in. You need to watch this person and whomever she is around, and you need to let others w/ small children know to watch her.

Sorry if I came across blunt. I do not mean any malice.

June 4, 2007
2:31 am
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itsmynick
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first of all, i think u need to take her to the ER to get her checked.. then go from there.

hope its not the worst case scenario!

June 4, 2007
2:31 am
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christylcsw
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I am a licensed therapist and treat children of all ages. This must be reported to DYFS, or whatever the child welfare agency is called in your area. If your name and address were attached to your thread I would be obligated by law to report it myself. You must feel terrible. But doing nothing is worse.

June 4, 2007
2:41 am
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fantas
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...A year old does not have the language to explain sexual activity like you said yours did. So someone taught her or did it to her. I do not think there is anything innocent about having this kind of conversation with a 33 year old. What would be the intention of a 55 year old teaching a 3 year old something like this. So whether it was spoken or done, it's still abuse.
You need to take the child for a medical examination, if there has been is forceful entry, it will be detected and everyone can be sure instead of wondering about it.
I think that the parents should try to have a non-threatening conversation with the 3 year old and in order to asses just how much she knows. You can use a doll to have her demonstrate what happened. Just like playing doctor. This is what they will probably do if you take her to a doctor.
As for the fear of disrupting your family by prosecuting the perpetrator should this incident turn out to be true. I think you need to rethink that. I am a survivor of molestation by a close member of the family who has had to remain silent for this long for fear of what this would do the family. If your child was molested, she will remember at some point and if she doesn't, she will live with a shame that she wont ever understand. Or you need to do is read many posts here and you can anticipate your daughter writing here in the future. The family is covering for the adult, who is looking out for her? where is her justice? She cannot speak for herself like the older person did but she will remember or feel a betrayal. Can you teach her about being more careful with who she lets touch her while this person is free? How do you explain the sudden removal of this person from her life without causing her to feel guilty, unless she understands that she is being protected. Think about the day it dawns on her that she was molested, and her perprator was never punished. I apologize for going on about this but that hit a nerve with me....I have lived this life and while you can't restore the loss of innocence, my loneliness and depression has come from knowing that I felt unprotected and uncared for. I have remained silent because I do not wish to disrupt the family. If nothing else, remove any children from this person's presence.

June 4, 2007
2:42 am
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fantas
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Oh I meant ...having a conversation with a three year old.

June 4, 2007
2:42 am
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northernlights
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We are definitely not doing nothing.

June 4, 2007
2:51 am
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northernlights
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Let me explain something...I came to this forum for advice on confirming a three year old's story about being touched inappropriately. I am no starnger to what sexual abuse can do to a child...if it were confirmed, or I knew how to confirm it, I wouldn't be writing here. I would never sacrifice the safety of my child or any other child to keep my family together. I am scared and confused and just want to do what is right.

June 4, 2007
3:10 am
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fantas
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Northernlights, I totally understand how confusing and frightening this all has to be for the parents. I hope you don't feel judged. Most of us here are smack in the middle of dealing with these issues so feelings might be strong. After I wrote, I remembered that Dr. Phil did a show on this very issue where a grandpa had molested his granddaughter and how the family dealt with it. Medical check up would be the next step once you feel that the story your child is telling is consistent. Once you do that, the hospital has no choice but to report the incident to the authorites. See a therapist who specializes with these issues...I send you lots of healing energy to you and your family...Please keep posting. At the very least I find folks here are genuinely concerned for you:)

June 4, 2007
3:17 am
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christylcsw
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Look, you can't post something like that and expect anything less than a horrified reaction from people. I didn't say you were doing nothing. But, you said you don't want the person prosecuted. Thats what I was referring to. Its not your call to determine if abuse has occured. there are trained professionals who will know the difference (although this trained professional has heard enough to suspect abuse). Take your daughter to the ER, or at the very least her pediatrician for an exam (although in my experience, private doctors don't always do what they are supposed to and report it....especially if they see no physical trauma). Anyway, I feel terrible for you and your family. This is just a mess. There is no way to take care of your daughter the right way and still come out smelling like a rose to the suspected abuser. That toally sucks. The alternative is to feel guilty and wonder for the rest of your life whether you should have reported it. By the way, she (the adult) doesn't have to know the reporting came from you. It couldve come from any family member, a physician, pre-school teacher etc. Also, if she didn't do anything wrong then there is nothing to worry about.

June 4, 2007
3:33 am
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northernlights
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fantas and chritsy...I don't feel judged. I want honest answers. I think I alreay know the right thing to do...it's just also the hardest thing. I am not worried about coming off looking good to the abuser...I already don't, but she is my husband's mother and it is just hard. She has always been the best mom and grandma you could ever ever imagine. It's like if this is true, some wires have definitely crossed as of late. I simply can't stop crying. I guess not necessarily for my daughter cuz I know I can keep her safe now and I pray she will forget. I hope to fill her with so many happy memories she will forget. Do you know how long physical abuse is evident after the abuse? Also, does the fact that we have talked with her about this (without leading questions)hinder the Dr.'s interview with her? My husb. asked her about it tonight and her story changed, which I am sure is not uncommon. I feel we probably shouldn't ask at all until we take her in and let a professional as the right questions. Again-thank you all for your time and caring.

June 4, 2007
3:35 am
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christylcsw
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Btw....I disagree with her being messed up the rest of her life over this, like someone else suggested. It really depends heavily on how you deal with it. Review good touch/bad touch. Do not make any comments that sound remotely shaming (not that you would, but even a horrified look on your face could connote this message). Don't let her see you obsessing over this. Don't repetitively quiz her or reassure her in an anxious manner. She is going to internalize what happened largely based on how you react. You do not want her connecting a bad feeling (guilt, shame,etc) with this incident by observing your reaction (for example, seeing you cry or upset or arguing with Daddy and connecting a "I made Mommy and Daddy fight because I touched myself", or "my body must be bad if Mommy seems so upset.") Thsi is where alot of the damage comes in. You are a great Mom for being so concerned. You can help her come through "this" (whatever did happen). A therapist could help (mostly help you to cope and what you can do and not do, etc), but YOU are the key, you're Mommy. I wish you the best of luck.
Christy

June 4, 2007
3:37 am
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northernlights
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thank you Christy.

June 4, 2007
3:41 am
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christylcsw
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🙂

June 4, 2007
4:06 am
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northernlights
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fantas...I watched that show on Dr. Phil. I was shocked...I couldn't believe the grandmother let this continue right under her nose. But while watching I couldn't believe that the mommy could even look at either one of them, and hear I am knowing I can keep my children away from her and safe, I don't necessarily want her to go to jail or something like that. I may rethink once I have a confirmed diagnosis though. The emotioms a mother who goes through this are unexplainable. I feel like I am in a dream and I need support and guidance. This is also a strange thing for me cuz I am usually in control of myself. I wish she hadn't changed her stroy tonight. She just said she is the only one who touches herself and no one else, and that was right after she said everyone else does it including me, which I know is not true, and including others who have no access to her. Now I am even more confused and in more need of professional help...for her and me 🙂

June 4, 2007
4:18 am
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fantas
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Northernlights, I think you feeling would be normal for any parent who has just learned about this from her daughter. I wouldn't be surprised her story is changing. I think she may have been told that everyone does it in order for her not to be alarmed. I agree with Christy that kids will not feel messed up all their lives if the situation is handled well. It also depends on the sensitvity if the child in general. I really wish that your child heals and forgets with time. I am yet to see someone who has completely forgotten. I am dealing with flashbacks now of thinks I had blockec from memory. But I think with education comes power and liberation. I pray for yours, hers, and the family's sake that grandma didn't do it. Hang in there.

June 4, 2007
4:43 am
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Worried_Dad
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Hi northernlights,

Masturbation is built into human beings. As I recall, masturbation to orgasm has been documented in 3 month old infant girls. Boys probably start while still in the womb. 🙂

That being said, the language your daughter used strikes me as something that came from an adult. I could be mistaken, but that's the feeling I get.

I could imagine scenarios in which an adult transmitted that language to your daughter that do not involve abuse.

And I appreciate you not wanting to prosecute, have your family life become a raging legal shitstorm, etc.

But I do suggest that you never leave your daughter alone with the relative in question again. Ever.

June 4, 2007
8:39 am
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risingfromtheashes
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northern -

If it were my daughter, I would not take any risks...I would have her checked by a doctor. If her hymen is intact, then she was not abused. However, what she was exposed to was not right either - either way.

Let the authorities sort it out - leave it to them. The will decide if it abuse or not.

Let me tell you a story -

I used to babysit for a little beautiful girl. She was 2-3 when I noticed she was a little "precocious"...she would strut around calling herself a sexy momma, or make comments about her bootie or something. I just thought she had been watching too much adult tv - as her parents and grandparents didn't monitor anything and they often watched stuff like wrestling and other adult themed stuff around her.

Also, when she talked like that, her dad and grandpa would say "aw, isn't she cute" and kind of encourage it.

Flash forward 13 years...I was visiting with them after being gone for a year...and found out that her grandpa had been molesting her since infancy. Grandma and grandpa lived with them for many many years before moving to Florida.

Here's the sad part.

This little girl's mom had ALSO been molested by him - her own father. She had kept it hidden in hopes that it would never happened. Figured if he lived in the house, she could keep an eye on him and know the signs and symptoms.

She never saw it.

She decided not to prosecute since he was already in Florida away from the family.

Until one day she talked to her cousins about it and found out that they were ALSO molested.

THEY pressed charges and all the victims were called into court.

I am sorry, but I don't think it's right to protect ANYONE that does that to a child or in front of a child.

The only one needing your protection here is your daughter.

And I would caution you on "keeping a close eye on her"...so it doesn't happen again...cuz it can happen when you least suspect it.

Also - wouldn't you rather spend your time, energy and emotions on something more healthy and rewarding - like playing with your daughter, enjoying a night out alone (without worrying what's happening to her), etc.

I know you are scared and confused. What a betrayal from your own mother in law. But really, the best thing to do is turn it over to people who are better equipped to decide what to do.

Your comment about not wanting to prosecute concerns me...this woman did "something" inappropriate - and should be held responsible/accountable.

If not, chances are, it may be repeated, if not with your daughter, with someone else...and it may escalate.

June 4, 2007
9:16 am
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readyforachange
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northernlights...when my daughter was almost 3, I was reading her a bedtime story one night. She started running her hands all over her body as if she was tickling herself. I asked her what she was doing, and she told me she was tickling. She then told me that the babysitter's husband did that to her, and she laughed and showed me again. The tickling always stopped at her private area.

I was devastated, but I tried very hard not to let her know it. I call the child abuse hotline and reported it. They asked me to have her seen by our pediatrician, which I did. They also sent a social worker and police detective to our house, with anatomically correct dolls, to question her. She was a very verbal child, and could explain to them in detail what had happened. They determined that it was not something they could prosecute, because it happened with clothes on. She, of course, never went to that babysitter again, and I have had numerous conversations over the years about good touch/bad touch. She is now 13, and I don't think she has any memory of this happening. I have always felt that if I make it dirty or shameful, she will have more negative effects from it.

I think you know you need to seek help and find answers. I was unhappy with the result, but I knew I did the right thing to protect my daughter. The police did go to the home to warn these people, but the woman was allowed to continue watching children in her home. I see her from time to time, and she will not make eye contact with me.

I agree with everyone that children that age do not make these things up. You did say that her story changed...that may be because she detects that she did something wrong because of the way you and your husband are reacting. Just a thought.

I know how you feel about crying constantly. This is the way I reacted. My alcoholic ex-husband (we were married at the time) actually laughed when I told him what she had said to me. It was the beginning of the end of our marriage.

Take care of yourself, and do what you need to do to protect your daughter. (((northernlights)))

June 4, 2007
9:18 am
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atalose
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northern,

I am so sorry you and your husband and child are going through this, I can't even imagine.

I think having her checked by a doctor is the first step. Once that is done hopefully you'll know in what direction you and her husband need proceed in.

How is he handling this since it is his mother involved?

Does she live close by and how often does she visit with you and your daughter? Is there any other things going on such as alcohol or drug use by his mom?

I think your best bet is to talk with your daughters doctor after the exam and take it from there.

Again, I am so sorry you are all going through this.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

June 4, 2007
9:28 am
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ggfred4
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(((northernlights))) First, I am sorry you are going through such a horrible time. You are dealing with your child and family as a whole. I can tell you are a good mommy and need support right now. You have received some knowledgeable advice already, but I just feel I must add a little of my own.

Your child must know that she was protected by you and your husband. I was not protected by my mother and do not know for sure if she knew I was abused by my father for years. I want to believe she did not know because I can't imagine her knowing and not protecting me. I lived with secrets all my life. I feel that your child is not going to have to and I am grateful for you as a parent. I wish you the best in this very tough situation.

June 4, 2007
9:46 am
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loverbee
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I think you also need to find out if the woman actually touched your daughter. That is very important.Because I was molested when I was 9 and I was raped when I was 3 and its important that she be able to be honest with you.

June 4, 2007
10:35 am
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thewall
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Northernlights,

I also work with victims of abuse and children of all ages. Her allegations are very real. A 3 yr old does not have the knowledge or intelligence to know how to do this or verbalize this. This isnt something that a child knows how to do for many yrs., probably early teens.

Your child was sexually abused. By law you are obligated to report it to child protective services. Even if you do not know for sure if she was abused, by law you HAVE to report this incident. Child protective services are the ones who then determines whether it is real or false. If you don't report it then if the legal system finds out later, you could be in trouble and blamed as well for not reporting it. These laws are very strict.

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