It's been a (blessedly?) quiet summer on this DS page. I'd like to think that means that fewer children are suffering from sexual abuse. But I've learned too much in the eight years since my daughter, then a young adult, disclosed that she had been repeatedly raped and terrorized by an adult former neighbor. There are more disclosures about to be made, more hearts to be broken, just around the bend.
Life has gradually improved for our whole family in all this time, and it can happen for yours as well. So why do I continue to stop by here after so many years? Because I owe my sanity to this page. That's no exaggeration. Almost no IRL support groups exist for us parents of children who have been sexually abused. I had never, I believed at the time, met anyone who had been sexually abused, let alone the parent of a child who had suffered in this way. As far as I knew, it was exceedingly rare. I had my sisters' support, but they lived far away, In spite of their sympathy, I felt like such a failure as a mother that it was often embarrassing for me to discuss it with them. Who could I talk to?
I hired a therapist immediately, and it's the first thing I'd recommend that anyone here do. We here all suffer from the PTSD of knowing that our children were deeply wounded. However, when I landed here, I found the instantaneous support of those who were walking the same painful path. I wasn't alone, tragically -- not by a long shot.
In a previous life I was a professional writer; writing was my go-to mode of expression. Into my early 30s, I had kept a journal. But I never, ever needed an outlet like I did this one. I began to write here every day, sometimes many times a day. People would read my posts and leave such loving responses that it infused my soul with acceptance. We couldn't talk to each other -- and I had no idea of the identities of anyone else I found here -- but I knew I was being heard. I was so grateful to know that I could say anything without being judged or doubted.
I began to notice that it was a force multiplier when I could offer the same support to others here. I tried to comment on each new post, to speak the truth to others that they were not to blame for a felon's choices. In this way, I began to believe the same was true of me. It took a long time for me to finally rid myself of the guilt and the shock, but I would not have gotten very far at all had I been unable to help others. I had never felt worse, and yet I found I was not worthless after all: I could still help. I was still a decent person with purpose.
If you are new here, leave your story. It will help you just to get it out of your head for a moment, to state your truth, to double-check your perspective: and yes, it is just as bad as you feel. It will help you to read responses of reassurance and fellowship. But there's nothing like reaching back to make you realize that, underneath, you might still be whole and valuable. Take a moment to reassure someone else here. For me, doing so has helped me to accept myself, to forgive myself for something over which I had no control. Self-acceptance and self-forgiveness are the foundations of sanity.
You are not alone, you didn't deserve this (just as your child didn't "deserve" the abuse!), you are loved. By helping others, you will help yourself. It's going to get better.
This was published 2015 but I just found it online. It is a guide with training info for advocates who serve families after a child reports a sexual assault or abuse. It gets a gold star for including information on supporting parents of sibling sexual abuse (starting on p. 46). There is a ton of info there I wish I had known sooner, and that I wish the people working with us had known...
I'm pretty sure my son's half sister (3.5) is being abused by the same boy (my son's stepbrother, her half-brother) who abused him (and at least 4 others, according to my son's caseworker). The boy still lives with my son's father, and therefore her; he was never prosecuted because of his age. (My son does not see the boy. Visitation with his dad takes place at his grandparents' house.)She's...