My Little Angel Was Sexually Abused By My Neighbour's 12-year-old Son
A mother shares her horrid experience when she found out that her 3-year-old daughter was a victim of abuse at the hands of her neighbour's son.
Kate's* motherly instincts told her that something was not right. Her 3-year-old daughter Daisy* seemed frightened, refusing to meet her gaze. Her worst nightmare was probably coming true. Was this abuse?
Suspicion of abuse
Daisy and Kate were at a BBQ at their neighbour's house, somewhere in Australia. Daisy was having fun, playing with 3-year-old Tim* and his elder brother Jordan* who was 12. They were out of something, so Kate decided to accompany Tim's mother to the shops. Leo*, the host and the father of the two boys promised he would look after them.
But as she saw Daisy, she instantly knew something was wrong. When they came to the party, Daisy's shirt was not tucked in. However, when Kate returned from the shops, it was neatly tucked in. She decided not to raise an alarm as her partner was not present there. She casually asked Tim about Daisy, and he confessed he had not seen Daisy and Jordan for quite some time. Leo dismissed it, saying the two kids were playing hide and seek.
Kate shares her suspicions of abuse with her partner
Kate continued to act normal, but as soon as she got home, she shared her concerns with her partner, Trent*. But instead of being shocked, Trent shared that even he had had a similar experience. A few days back, Trent and Daisy were in the front yard of their neighbour's house, spending time with Jordan's family. Daisy wanted to use the toilet, so Leo enlisted Jordan's help.
They did not reappear for some time, so Trent and Leo went looking for them inside the house. The house was dark, and the two appeared from around the corner. Trent felt this was odd, but then, children end up doing weird things.
They decided to call the police
Both of them reached the same conclusion - Jordan was abusing Daisy. So they talked to Daisy. She was reluctant, even afraid at first, but what she revealed made Kate almost throw up. Daisy confessed that she had kissed Jordan on his lips and he had touched her 'here', she said, pointing towards her vagina.
They called the police, who questioned Daisy further. She was afraid as she confessed she had kissed 'the doodle on his front bottom'. "My knee was hurt, so he kissed me there. Then he told me that his doodle was hurt, so I kissed him there".
The police then involved the sexual assault team. Sadly, there was not much they could do legally speaking, except speaking to Jordan's parents about it. Finally, Kate and Trent moved to a different location, far away from their earlier house.
How to spot abuse
Child abusers are often in the 'inner circle' of trust of a family. The way they do it is by 'grooming' the child or the parents. In most cases, children who have been trained to differentiate between a good touch and bad touch, raise an alarm when something happens. However, the clueless ones are often vulnerable to the abuse.
Sexual abuse is seen most commonly in children who keep to themselves, do not interact much with others, who are generally shy. The abuser may also gain access to a child by winning a parent's trust. It is easier to do so with single parents. So, the best way to avoid abuse is spot signs of grooming and teaching your child to differentiate between good and bad touch.
Here are the 3 signs of grooming
- Gifts and toys. If you spot an adult taking an unnatural interest in your child, you should be suspicious, even if he/she is a close friend. The telltale signs are a gift at every visit and the amount of time spent interacting with the child. If someone tickles your 'Spidey sense', keep a close watch.
- Secrets. It is difficult to spot, but if you look for it, you may notice your child keeping a secret. Children are often not very comfortable keeping a secret, so you need to spot their unease. If you are suspicious about a particular person, but not sure enough, you need to talk to your child. Ask him/her how his/her day was. Then, lead the conversation to the child's interaction with the person. "What did uncle/aunt say?" Lastly, keep on reiterating that there are no secrets in the house if someone is touching the child inappropriately.
- Guilt. The child is often guilted or even threatened to keep quiet. This is how abuse is repeated. There is a sudden change in the mood, bouts of anger or crying, and the child becomes even more reclusive. Do not dismiss this as 'just a part of growing up'. It might warrant a talk.
Mums and dads, please be vigilant about sexual abuse.
*Names changed to protect the identity.
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