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PLEASE HELP. Sexually Explicit!!
June 4, 2007
10:35 am
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caraway
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northern,

Sorry you are having to deal with this. I was abused sexually as a child, so here goes.

Just an opinion. I would keep her away from the person she said did this. Have her examined to be certain that she is physically ok and move on with life.

If you get involved with the authorities at this point, you are more likely than not going to get involved with some case worker who isn't equipped to handle this. Your child is going to be subjected to all kinds of interviews and exams and will probably be more affected by that than the actual event. If you walk away from it now she will most likely forget about it.

I know that sounds strange, but the lable and all that comes with it are much more difficult in many cases than the event.

Cary

June 4, 2007
11:01 am
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mamacinnamon
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Christy:

I again want to say how sorry I am that you are having to face such a problem. I know you are torn in many directions over what to do. Yes, we are passionate here; me included. I was not a child of abuse, but have dealt w/ several. I know you will do what is right for your daughter.

Nobody has spoken on where your husband stands. I think I read above that he has questioned your daughter as well. As all above say, let the professionals do the questioning. Chances are big that this would not be prosecuted because of the age of your daughter and as to how far things have gone. I am no professional, just worked in family law for several years and this is what I personally saw. I am grateful things have not gone far that you know of. This is his mom. This will be so very difficult for him. Give him a ton of support, but stand your ground when it comes to the safety of your daughter. I'm not saying he is or is not w/ you on this. I do want to bring to light that he is one that will be more confused and maybe say the word "waffling" when it comes to his mom. Again, be there for him, but also make certain he is not swayed by the ties a parent can hold.

I did want to say on this also... I know several ladies that were molested at the hands of relatives and yet they send their kids back and say "oh, (person) has learned their lesson", or "oh, (person) won't do that again, they promised, or the court told them not too." I am not saying you to be this type person; just wanted to say a word about this coz a lot of times, specially if it is a relative, we don't want to believe the person would do it again. In some cases they don't. I think that is very few.

Lastly, the talk of the show of Dr. Phil. I feel he brings things to a head quickly and is a good man. I think he would be the first to say to take her to the ER and would tell you the steps you have been given here. I appreciate those who do share on this board. They speak from their hearts. I want to bring your attention to a little girl that showed up here a couple years ago. She had her story posted here and if you would like to read it go to the search box at the top and type in JIGSAW'S STORY. This child is an extreme case I will say. What I want to bring to your attention is the mentality of her family toward the grandpa that molested and raped her. If you are up to it I think you will understand more of why folks are so passionate on this subject. The story was glossed quite a lot because she was to be reading it since she insisted it be posted. Things for this child got a lot worse. I will tell you now that she is in foster care and w/ a family that loves her and she is thriving. She does have complications that will follow her for life from the long term molestation. I don't think your child has any of this to worry about as I believe you are taking care of the situation the best you can.

I wish you strength and as much peace as you can have in dealing w/ this situation. I'm glad you are here, but so sorry for the instance that brought you here. ­čÖé

June 4, 2007
11:03 am
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mamacinnamon
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oops, i posted to Christy and should have to Northern. Nobody said my brain worked well this early in the am. Sorry.

June 4, 2007
11:06 am
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northernlights
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Thanks to everyone for your responses. To answer some of the questions...she lives two miles away. We see her almost every single day. My husband is devastated and can't believe it could be true, although he is not ignoring our daughter's comments. No matter what we are by no means going to let her be subjected to this again. I just still am not sure we are ready to send her to jail or something like that. No, there are no alcohol or drugs. She's the most normal, upper class, together woman I know...she meets for coffee with all her girlfriends at Starbucks for coffee. I know that demographics aren't impt. it is just such a shock. She is just the least likely person I would suspect. Now, since my daughter has changed her story, it makes things even harder. I would rather not put her through this sort of investigation if nothing really happened. I am sure we will be taking her in today.

June 4, 2007
11:52 am
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Loralei
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northern,

You said, "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."

I interpret that statement as the child saying that she has not been touched by anyone. She only touches herself. But that everyone touches themselves, even you. It sounds like your MIL was telling her it wasn't shameful to masturbate and that everyone does it. Be very careful not to let anyone put words in your daughter's mouth or to jump to conclusions.

This reminds me of an incident at school when my son was in the 3rd grade. The principal completely misinterpreted what my son was saying simply because one comment that was unrelated to the actual incident, threw her onto the wrong path. She literally dreamed up the rest of the scenario because of that one comment. It had nothing to do with what had actually happened. But nothing I said got through to her because she had already made up her mind. I even had the parents of the kids who witnessed the incident, interview their children. Everything they said was in complete agreement to my son's story so I know he was speaking the truth. What I'm trying to say is that people cloud stories with their own thoughts and fears. Even people who should know better and are professionals in their field.

With that said, I think you should listen very carefully to what your child has told you and don't "add on". Even a number of respondents here automatically assumed that she had been touched by your MIL because of their own personal experiences. Yet your daughter said she didn't touch her.

I don't know what the law is on having inappropriate conversations with a small child. You don't know yet if the MIL exposed herself, do you? I think you have been so emotionally shocked that you are having difficulty playing detective. And like the others have said, it is very important that you not relay any kind of fear, shame or shock to your daughter or any damage done will be greatly exacerbated.

You MIL was totally wrong in whatever role she played in this. I think you need to confront her and threaten to turn her in. Perhaps then she will tell you exactly what transpired. If she never touched your child, then I would hesitate to ruin her life over having poor judgement. Was this her brand of sex education gone awry? Or was it intentional sex abuse? Being inappropriate/having bad judgement is not the same thing as being a predator. Some people just don't stop to think about the repercussions before they act.

Also, get your daughter to tell you exactly what happened from the very beginning. What happened next, etc. Let her do all the talking with only a prodding question from you once in awhile. Do not help her explain it or you will taint her story. And don't jump to conclusions. When she said that you also do it, you need to get her to explain what "it" is. You assumed that she said that you also touched her, while I was hearing that you also touch yourself. Stick to the facts only. Then you may have a better idea as to what you need to do next. Keep in mind that taking your child in for a medical exam will in itself be traumatic for her. So unless she says that someone else touched her, subjecting her to that may not be the best route.

I expect to receive all kinds of flack for my opinion on this matter because so many here have been sexually abused that everything is colored through their experience and they automatically assume the worst. All I'm saying is that you need to get to the truth of the matter before you do anything drastic. Once this is reported, it's out of your hands.

June 4, 2007
12:23 pm
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thewall
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It doesnt mean she will go to jail if you report it, which you still needto do, even if your daughter has changed her story. She knows way too much for a 3 yr old so something happened to her, by someone. It happened so report it and make sure you take her to the dr to see if there is any damage.

June 4, 2007
12:31 pm
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northernlights
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As far as I so it to etc....I was paraphrasing. After her telling us for one day that this has happened with her grandma, my husband, trying to discern truth from make believe, asked her "does your other grandma wiggle your body, do your grandfathers, does your next door neighbor, does mommy, does daddy?" She then answered yes to everyone one. THis is the big change in story. While we were thinking this has happened for sure she changed it and now we just don't know. Like you said Loralei, i don't want to subject her to anything traumatic if I don't have to..not to mention ruin the entire family relationship...this is IF it didn't happen.

June 4, 2007
1:02 pm
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Loralei
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northern, I see your dilemma. That big of a change in her story really does confuse the issue. Maybe give it a few days before talking with her further? Child abuse is such a hot button for everyone these days. And I have absolutely no faith in our justice system, much less child protective services. Too often, innocent people's lives are ruined and the guilty get off. I know personally of too many instances where this has happened. Keep a watchful eye on your child. Don't let your MIL be with her alone. And keep an open communication with your daughter at all times so that she knows she can always come to you for anything. Until you know more, over-reacting can cause more harm than good. It may take awhile before you find out the real source of your child's "sex education". It also might be better if you sit down with your MIL and express your concerns instead of having your husband do it. If nothing else, this would send a clear signal that nothing like that will ever happen again and that you are keeping your eyes open. Other than that, I don't know what else I would do if I were in your shoes. (((nothern)))

June 4, 2007
1:38 pm
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fantas
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Northern, I just can't even begin to think of what you are going through right now. I am concerned that your daughter's change of story is making you wonder if she is telling the truth. I reread what you said in the initial post and
You quote this as what your daughter initially said with consistency, 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."

Regardless of what her story is now she couldn't have made that up. In her second response to your husbands question, I hear her saying that everyone does what she is doing too. Therefore it's not a big deal, Her grandma may have told her that this is what all people do, so she would feel comfortable going along. Also, because your daughter doesn't understand the seriousness of it, or the implications of what happened, she is not vested in keeping her story straight. I do not feel that she changed her story, I feel that she responded to a question the best way she understood it. She is 3. At that age, you think that everyone does what goes on in your house. Until you learn otherwise later. I think you should have her doc for an exam, at the very least. Perhaps you should let an expert ask her questions and just trust her. Even if she made this whole thing up, which I doubt, the thing that will matter most to her is whether or not she felt that she was taken seriously, believed, and protected. Again hang in there...

June 4, 2007
2:14 pm
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itsmynick
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sorry, but i've skimmed thru abit of what u said northern and i don't like it..

first of all, take her in for a medical assessment, DO NOT question or attempt to 'interview' her. You aren't trained for that.

u're first priority is to ensure she is not being treated inappropriately, and that is only something the doctor can assess.

that assessment will determine the next steps.

take care of your girl..

i took my girl in when she was a toddler as she was hurting when she peed.. they immediately took her in and examined her.. all was well, but still, its critical that they check!

June 4, 2007
2:29 pm
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mamacinnamon
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Northern:

It is very unlikely the grandma would go to jail on a first offense, but that is just my opinion. Please try to not let it get blown out of proportion. I also believe that maybe your child is changing her story to accomodate you and your husband. Children want so much to please, and if she if seeing it makes you unhappy she might change it just for that reason. Or possibly if she has heard you nad hubby talking about this and what could happen to grandma. At this point I would say stop talking about this to her and let the professionals take over. I still believe a child of that age cannot make up what she says.

Also, have you talked to grandma? I think I saw you did. Did you also explain to grandma that you are certain that if this happened to one of her children you are confident she would also do what was best for her child and that in no way do you mean her harm, but that you must check out what your child is saying since you are her parents and you love her very much. What I am saying is that this can be handled on as amicable of a position as possible. She should understand and accept that you care for your child and not hold this against you.

June 4, 2007
2:30 pm
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2shy
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((((northerlights))))

I was sexually assulted once. I have never told anyone this...this is my first time sharing the story with someone. I was about 5 years old at the time it happened. My teenage male cousin would lay on the sofa and he would place my hands in his pants. He told me that I would be rubbing his sack of money. I had no idea at the time that I was actually rubbing his erect penis. This happened a few times. He would give me some change afterwards which I would use to buy candy. My cousin and his family moved to the other end of the country a few years later. I didn't realize the significance of what he made me do. The incident pretty much faded from my memory and I don't think it had any signifant effect on me today. I am 36 years old now. I just wanted to share this story with you. I think if you are able to keep your daughter away from this person it might be. I agree with Caraway's approach on how to handle your daughter.

take care

June 5, 2007
11:03 am
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fantas
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(((Nothernlights))) How are you holding up today?

June 5, 2007
12:24 pm
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gracenotes
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northernlights,

I have read through these posts, I work in a school system with children, including some who have been sexually abused. I am familiar with the Child Protective Services in CA, and I personally have never been sexually abused.

Children, of course, are curious about their bodies, touch themselves, and that is all normal, but I am still concerned about your child's statement about fingers going up there all the way. That sure sounds like suspicious and MIL may be suspect. May be. The fact that your child told you this is healthy. Maybe she suspected something weird had happened.

The fact that your child is free to talk about this is very important. The tragedy is when children grow up and have to keep this secret to themselves. I can guess that several people on this site lived their childhoods with this horrible secret they could not tell anyone.

Your MIL will not go to jail unless your press charges. Furthermore, Child Protective Services, at least in CA, is very dedicated to keeping families together, providing education, support, counseling referrals, etc. Secondly, it has been my experience that it takes a heck of a lot of evidence for them to say yes, there was child abuse.

In CA, teachers, school staff, doctors, licensed therapists are the main people who have reporting requirements if they suspect child abuse. I do not believe this applies to parents.

I think open communication is essential here, especially in your conversations with MIL. No, they do not have to be accusatory, but they can certainly set the tone that none of this, if it did happen, is going to be tolerated anymore.

I also think it would be in your best interest to seek out some professional help with your child with a licensed therapist who specializes in this area. Your local child reporting agency could give referrals. Perhaps your child could tell her story with a therapist, who would also may have some things like special types of dolls where she could demonstrate what happened. You could let your MIL know you are doing this and that a report will most likely be made, but explain the circumstances, and take yourself off the hook, say this is something my child said, we are not accusing her, but we have to get to the bottom of this for the sake of your child. You need to find out what happened, if anything, and that it could have been anyone. I really think you are too close to the situation to say you can be neutral in your reactons at this time. If MIL is innocent, she will understand, if MIL is guilty, then perhaps she will get the help she needs in the form of counseling, if she agrees. If MIL truly cares about your child's welfare and your child's best interest, then I see no reason why she would not want to cooperate in this process.

And, for now, I certainly would not leave you child with MIL for any length of time. Explain your dilemma to MIL. Explain your disbelief, if she is a healthy adult, she will be ok with this, although it won't be easy for her. Explain this is hard, you are confused, your are in shock, and you have to protect your child.

Finally, children are very resilent. I would be very careful about giving this a lot of attention with your child. Let your child tell her story in front of any experienced therapist who can be nonjudmental and neutral and will know the right questions to ask. This only needs to be done once, and then possibly with a CPS person.

I am so sorry you are going through this, but your child does not have to be damaged for life.

June 5, 2007
6:21 pm
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northernlights
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fantas and gracenotes...Things are going okay. We have spoken with a licensed therapist and also my MIL. The therapist believes that she has been abused, but not by my MIL. She believes this has been done by a child. She thinks my MIL was mentioned b/c she and my daughter are so close and spend so much time together. It's hard right now b/c my MIL is predictably playing the victim. It is all about how betrayed she is. She says she doesn't feel safe taking care of her grandaughter now...even though all we did is tell her how things happened and almost ask her for advice on how to deal with this. We did not accuse, even though we thought the story had merit. She said we should have know better and we have betrayed her.

I thought we were doing this as passivly as possible. We were so close to just taking her to the ER. If we had, it would have been taken out of our hands and she certainly couldn't be angry at us. I just want what is best for my daughter...we have never dealt with this kind of thing...we did our best.

Thank you all for your time and thoughts.

And gracenotes...I really appreciated your post. I feel it is full of thought and caring and some great advice. Thanks.

June 5, 2007
7:13 pm
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Anonymous
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Northern, that your child may come out of this not feeling damaged, that┬┤s my main wish. Obviously she┬┤s as fine as can be. But things remain confused and fuzzy as to what extent malice went on when forcing this experience onto her. Thus neither will her memories about this be fully clear b/c everybody┬┤s doubts remain.

Just looking at the response you got here... we can see that the issues of sexual abuse and its consequences are as strong as their are relative. As a culture, thinking mainly of the ocidental culture I know, we have a ways to go until we can sort and define natural, safe, healthy, respectful sexual boundaries even though we have made tremendous headway.

For my personal experience, I have at times doubted whether I was sexually molested. It happened during my marriage when things werent going well in the bedroom arena. It happens that my dad made me touch his erect penis as I and my sieblings invaded the bedroom. He had come from a trip and was in bed with my mom. To him it was just another natural sciences class. Then when things became fuzzy in my marriage bedroom, that memory made me wonder whether my dad behaved during a trip on which I accompanied him.

What I make of my experience is that being the third child I was precociously introduced to sex life b/c of my older sieblings and the ┬┤open sexual education┬┤ my parents embraced. The thing is that I refrained from dating and having sexual contact until I was 21 y.o. due (in good part) to my parents┬┤separation, too. This was a shock to me at the time and I concluded that if they loved each other as they said and separated, then love hurts too badly to be worth.

I had a wise teacher and a few other mentors along my growing years and can say that two things that helped me through the suffering of my doubts and hurts was affection and conviction.

I hope you get to the bottom of your child┬┤s case. At least to the point you have the conviction you need to pass to her that affection is a good worthwhile sentiment.

All the best,

June 5, 2007
8:38 pm
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fantas
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Northernlights...I am glad to hear that you are doing okay today and that you saw a licenced therapists. I am so sorry that MIL feels betrayed. I guess you will just have to let her feel her feelings and keep telling her that you went with the information tha was given to you. As great a MIL as she is, your daughter still comes first. But she is the adult and she should understand that. As someone said, if she is not guilty then she shouldn't make too big a deal of it. If anything, she should want to do whatever it would take to support her granddaughter. I am sending you lots of positive energy:)

June 8, 2007
8:32 pm
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fantas
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Just bumping this up for support...How are things going, Northernlights?

June 8, 2007
8:57 pm
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NL, did you find out who did this to your daughter? It seems she was even instructed to say it was grandma, is that possible?

Hope it┬┤s all working out alright!

hugs,

June 9, 2007
10:39 pm
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Anonymous
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Dear Northern sorry about your circumstances that must be very hard for you. Hang in there and know that you are taking care of your daughter the best you can. The Grandma maybe hurt but what is important is that the little one is protected and the situation not ignored. I was abused by an uncle when I was 4 or so.. when I told my Dad he said I had seen it on TV. You know what part I don't remember. I remember the abuse I remember telling my dad. I don't remember my Dad's response. I lived for a long time questioning reality and myself. Good for you for taking care of you little one.

June 11, 2007
2:45 am
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northernlights
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Hi everyone...thanks for the support. No she wasn't instricted AT ALL to say Grandma did it. She simply said "I am wiggling my body", while touching herself, I asked "why", she said "it feels good", I asked her "where did you learn how to wiggle your body?" and she said I do it with Grandma. She said the exact same story for 3 days and then changed it. I am meeting with a Sergeant from the Police Department tomorrow. We just don't know for sure and this is the only way we know to keep her safe. It is tearing our family apart, but it has to be done. I feel stronger now that I know we are doing the right thing. I really appreciate everyone here. Thank you all so much.

June 11, 2007
3:09 am
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fantas
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(((Northernlights))), stay strong. I am sorry that the family is being affected by this. It would be good if the family can band together at times like these. You are definitely doing the right thing for you daughter by pursuing this and believing her. The adults can defend themselves but she can't. Every time I read what she said, I just know in my heart that she learned that from an adult. The sergent will be able to tell you for sure. I also know that your daughter shared this info with you because she felt it was a normal and good thing to do. I wish you all the best. You are in my thoughts.

June 11, 2007
3:20 am
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northernlights
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Any Professionals here, or people with experience with talking to three year olds? (after hse talks with the police) I read a post up there about good/bad touch. I assume this is discussing when are appropriate times for this action and when/and who it is not appropriate for. I feel like to bigger the issue we make out of this for her,(as far as she's considered, there is nothing wrong going on)then the bigger issue it will continue to be unitl she'll be too old to forget it. I just don't know, I don't have experience in my children saying they are abused.

June 11, 2007
3:35 am
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northernlights
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loverbee-do you remember being raped at 3 years old? You stated this in a previous post. Thanks.

June 11, 2007
3:52 am
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fantas
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Northernlights...Can you consult with her pediatrician? When it comes to talking to little kids, it's important that you share things that are age appropriate, and that you don't ask to deal and understand adult issues. The good bad touch is a way to teach the kids appropriate ways of being touched by anyone. There are books that deal with this. Go to Barnes and Noble and ask for assistance. I am sure there are websites dedicated to these issues. As for her remembering these things when she gets oldier, she will probably recall feeling of shame, guilt, abandonment, that she may experience during this time. Even if she forgets, this memory will be triggered back in the future and at that time, how you deal with this today will determined how she feels about herself. It's hard to tell at this time whether her feelings and attitude toward sexuality and self-worth have been affected. I think if you do the best you can in teaching her, loving her, protecting her from whoever the perpetrator is, she should be fine or at the very least she will feel protected, loved, and adored. Most of the damage and hurt I feel today is 90% abandonment and neglect based and 10% actual hurt from the abuse. Not to minimize it but treat her the same way you would if she broke her arm, create that warm, homey, feeling. Resist the tendency to over indulge out of guilt. This happens often. Again, holding you up with positive thoughts..

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