We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

Parenting a Sexually Abused Child

Children who have been sexually abused and placed in foster care or are adopted need rules to help provide structure, comfort and security. Experts in the field of adoption and child sexual abuse believe the guidelines listed below will help the child to build trust with their new family.1

  • Privacy:  Everyone has a right to privacy. Children should be taught to knock when a door is closed and adults need to role model the same behavior.
  • Bedrooms and Bathrooms:  These two locations are often prime stimuli for children who have been sexually abused, since abuse commonly occurs in these rooms. By the time children enter the first grade, caution should be used about children of the opposite sex sharing bedrooms or bath times. It is not advisable to bring a child who has been sexually abused into your bed. Cuddling may be over-stimulating and misinterpreted. A safer place to cuddle may be on the living room couch.
  • Touching:  No one should touch another person without permission. A person’s private parts (the area covered by a bathing suit) should not be touched except during a medical examination or, in the case of young children, if they need help with bathing or toileting.
  • Clothing:  It is a good idea for family members to be conscious of what they wear outside the bedroom. Seeing others in their underclothes or pajamas may be over-stimulating to a child who has been sexually abused.
  • Saying “No”:  Children need to learn that it is their right to assertively say “no” when someone touches them in a way they do not like. Help them to practice this.
  • Sex Education:  All children, including the child who has been sexually abused, need basic information about how they develop sexually. They also will benefit from an atmosphere in which it is okay to talk about sex. Appropriate words for body parts, such as penis, vagina, breasts and buttocks, will give the child the words to describe what happened to him/her. Suggestive or obscene language is sometimes a trigger for old feelings for a child who was sexually abused, and should not be allowed.
  • No “Secrets”:  Make it clear that no secret games, particularly with adults, are allowed. Tell children if an adult suggests such a game, they should tell you immediately.
  • Being Alone With One Other Person:  If your child is behaving seductively, aggressively or in a sexually acting out manner, these are high-risk situations. During those times, it is advisable not to put yourself in the vulnerable position of being accused of abuse. It addition, other children may be in jeopardy of being abused. Therefore, whenever possible during these high-risk situations, try not to be alone with your child or allow him/her to be alone with only one other child.
  • Wrestling and Tickling:  As common and normal as these childhood behaviors are, they are often tinged with sexual overtones. They can put the weaker child in an overpowered and uncomfortable or humiliating position. Keep tickling and wrestling to a minimum.
  • Behaviors and Feelings:  Help children differentiate between feelings and behaviors. It is normal to have all kinds of feelings, including sexual feelings. However, everyone does not always act on all the feelings, including sexual feelings. However, everyone does not always act on all the feelings he/she has. Everyone has choices about which feelings he/she acts on, and everyone (except very young children ) must take responsibility for his/her own behavior.

1 National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, Washington, D.C. 

 

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Rules Enforced In Incestuous Families
Unjust Commonality
 

Comments 7

Cohen on Monday, 29 December 2014 13:48

I've been browsing the internet trying to identify people and groups who might be interested in a novel my publisher released this past August that is meant to stimulate public awareness and what life is like for kids (and foster parents) in foster care. This blog entry caught my eye and I couldn't agree more with your points. My wife and I fostered teens, and the first situation we ever had involved two sisters, the younger of whom, years after the fact, is still a daughter to us although never available for adoption. I remember very well that I was concerned about any situation where I might be alone with either of them and it took a while before I was able to be sure in my own mind that they would never make a false accusation against me. One of those situations is included in my book, which is largely based on the life of the younger girl. Her resilience still amazes me, because she was the victim of sexual abuse from a very young age, that when her perpetrator - her mother's boy friend - was eventually brought to justice, his crimes against her were considered to be so bad that he received by far the longest sentence in our state history for non-fatal child abuse and will likely die in prison. She and her sister were also physically abused by their mother. The young woman, now 29, married with a child and a career as a medical assistant, is the one who wanted her story told some how.

I can say with some assurance that our foster care training did not prepare us very well for dealing with kids who had been sexually abused. A lot of the points you made should be intuitive, but there is so much to think about with these kids, and a teen girls have a lot of self-consciousness to begin with. My daughter was 15 when the abuser was caught (he'd been a fugitive for about 6 years). She looked older and certainly not like the 8 year old she was when the sexual abuse ended. She was on the witness stand for two days, and the prosecutors had to be sure she dressed in away as to deemphasize her adult appearance so that the jury would have less of a hard time with associating her with the little girl who had been the victim. Around the house, her outward appearance of "normal" could be mistaken by outsiders as unaffected by her history, and that couldn't be further from the truth. She still needs a level of psychological support twenty years after the sexual assaults ended and sixteen years after the last time her mother physically abused her.

Your work is so important and I appreciate what you do.

0
I've been browsing the internet trying to identify people and groups who might be interested in a novel my publisher released this past August that is meant to stimulate public awareness and what life is like for kids (and foster parents) in foster care. This blog entry caught my eye and I couldn't agree more with your points. My wife and I fostered teens, and the first situation we ever had involved two sisters, the younger of whom, years after the fact, is still a daughter to us although never available for adoption. I remember very well that I was concerned about any situation where I might be alone with either of them and it took a while before I was able to be sure in my own mind that they would never make a false accusation against me. One of those situations is included in my book, which is largely based on the life of the younger girl. Her resilience still amazes me, because she was the victim of sexual abuse from a very young age, that when her perpetrator - her mother's boy friend - was eventually brought to justice, his crimes against her were considered to be so bad that he received by far the longest sentence in our state history for non-fatal child abuse and will likely die in prison. She and her sister were also physically abused by their mother. The young woman, now 29, married with a child and a career as a medical assistant, is the one who wanted her story told some how. I can say with some assurance that our foster care training did not prepare us very well for dealing with kids who had been sexually abused. A lot of the points you made should be intuitive, but there is so much to think about with these kids, and a teen girls have a lot of self-consciousness to begin with. My daughter was 15 when the abuser was caught (he'd been a fugitive for about 6 years). She looked older and certainly not like the 8 year old she was when the sexual abuse ended. She was on the witness stand for two days, and the prosecutors had to be sure she dressed in away as to deemphasize her adult appearance so that the jury would have less of a hard time with associating her with the little girl who had been the victim. Around the house, her outward appearance of "normal" could be mistaken by outsiders as unaffected by her history, and that couldn't be further from the truth. She still needs a level of psychological support twenty years after the sexual assaults ended and sixteen years after the last time her mother physically abused her. Your work is so important and I appreciate what you do.
Diane on Monday, 29 December 2014 14:44

Thank you for your insights and feedback. Sadly, most people working with abused children or adults are not trauma-trained or even given the basics. Your sensitivity to the plight of the children you took care of as well as your daughter is just what is needed. If you can mail me your book, I'll be able to recommend it to others. Our address is: E Diane Champé Institute, 1438 Liberty Road, PMB 113, Eldersburg, MD 21784. If you are looking for a therapist, on the left-hand side of this page, there is an excellence website to use - GoodTherapy.org. When you click on it, choose "Advanced Search" for a more accurate selection for the therapeutic work needed. You may want to purchase my autobiography shown at the bottom of the Home page - Conquering Incest. It provides a lot of insight into the psychological impact of abuse and my successful treatment. I wish you all the best.

0
Thank you for your insights and feedback. Sadly, most people working with abused children or adults are not trauma-trained or even given the basics. Your sensitivity to the plight of the children you took care of as well as your daughter is just what is needed. If you can mail me your book, I'll be able to recommend it to others. Our address is: E Diane Champé Institute, 1438 Liberty Road, PMB 113, Eldersburg, MD 21784. If you are looking for a therapist, on the left-hand side of this page, there is an excellence website to use - GoodTherapy.org. When you click on it, choose "Advanced Search" for a more accurate selection for the therapeutic work needed. You may want to purchase my autobiography shown at the bottom of the Home page - Conquering Incest. It provides a lot of insight into the psychological impact of abuse and my successful treatment. I wish you all the best.
Cohen on Monday, 29 December 2014 22:14

I'll definitely read your autobiography and send a copy of my book to you. Just so you're not confused when you get it, I used a pen name, Avi Morris. The odd thing to me is that when I speak to book clubs, they treat me as an expert on child abuse and foster care. The reality is that I know what I know, which is far from everything. But, one thing I've been told by state officials is that we were given two of the more difficult situations to foster, the last being a nephew who had been in state custody because he couldn't be controlled by his parents (they never did provide structure) and despite being quite bright and a great musician, was addicted to heavy drugs. His older sister had been abused by her grandfather and my nephew may have witness it at times. She also got into heavy drugs, did a long rehab, and may be on her way to being a major success story. Finished high with a GED, got straight As in community college and finished summa cum laude at a four year university. She plans to attend grad school with a career goal in some sort of youth counseling. Her brother, now 20 and back with his dad, has an unclear future.

0
I'll definitely read your autobiography and send a copy of my book to you. Just so you're not confused when you get it, I used a pen name, Avi Morris. The odd thing to me is that when I speak to book clubs, they treat me as an expert on child abuse and foster care. The reality is that I know what I know, which is far from everything. But, one thing I've been told by state officials is that we were given two of the more difficult situations to foster, the last being a nephew who had been in state custody because he couldn't be controlled by his parents (they never did provide structure) and despite being quite bright and a great musician, was addicted to heavy drugs. His older sister had been abused by her grandfather and my nephew may have witness it at times. She also got into heavy drugs, did a long rehab, and may be on her way to being a major success story. Finished high with a GED, got straight As in community college and finished summa cum laude at a four year university. She plans to attend grad school with a career goal in some sort of youth counseling. Her brother, now 20 and back with his dad, has an unclear future.
Cohen on Tuesday, 30 December 2014 09:14

I did a reply yesterday that seems not have gone through. I definitely will read your autobiography. I recently read KL Randis's Spilled Milk, a fictionalized version of her abused life. I will send you my book. It's under my pen name, Avi Morris.

0
I did a reply yesterday that seems not have gone through. I definitely will read your autobiography. I recently read KL Randis's Spilled Milk, a fictionalized version of her abused life. I will send you my book. It's under my pen name, Avi Morris.
Diane on Wednesday, 31 December 2014 07:27

Sad to say, your niece and nephew are typical of a large number of families. The abused and neglected children fight back many times by hurting themselves and those around them. But this is what they have been taught by their abusers in how to deal with life. I hope for the best for your nephew. Your niece seems to be on her way to recovery which is a good sign. I wish you and your family the best.

0
Sad to say, your niece and nephew are typical of a large number of families. The abused and neglected children fight back many times by hurting themselves and those around them. But this is what they have been taught by their abusers in how to deal with life. I hope for the best for your nephew. Your niece seems to be on her way to recovery which is a good sign. I wish you and your family the best.
Cohen on Wednesday, 14 January 2015 19:02

Hello Diane. I just want to know if the book I mailed to you arrived.
I had another nice experience today. As you know, I've beem reaching out about my novel and connected with a woman who is both a survivor and, along with her husband, a fabulous foster/adoptive parent. We spoke at length. Her family has been the subject of media coverage over the years and when I sent her organization information about the book, I never expected her to offer her cell phone number to me. They have fostered dozens of kids and adopted a large number of them. The odd thing is that her family and ours got into foster care under much the same set of facts. She and my wife were/are teachers who witnessed kids being taken away and wanted to do something about. We both had three kids, ours out of the nest and hers getting there as well. Her husband and I were comfortable with our lives and needed some convincing to go ahead. The notable difference is that we had few foster kids because the state felt out kids needed to be without other kids and we had two of them for long stretches, so didn't come anywhere near the number if kids they did and none of ours were available for adoption.

0
Hello Diane. I just want to know if the book I mailed to you arrived. I had another nice experience today. As you know, I've beem reaching out about my novel and connected with a woman who is both a survivor and, along with her husband, a fabulous foster/adoptive parent. We spoke at length. Her family has been the subject of media coverage over the years and when I sent her organization information about the book, I never expected her to offer her cell phone number to me. They have fostered dozens of kids and adopted a large number of them. The odd thing is that her family and ours got into foster care under much the same set of facts. She and my wife were/are teachers who witnessed kids being taken away and wanted to do something about. We both had three kids, ours out of the nest and hers getting there as well. Her husband and I were comfortable with our lives and needed some convincing to go ahead. The notable difference is that we had few foster kids because the state felt out kids needed to be without other kids and we had two of them for long stretches, so didn't come anywhere near the number if kids they did and none of ours were available for adoption.
Diane on Thursday, 15 January 2015 15:10

I am very happy that you have connected with someone who really understands the issues. Yes, I have received your book but have not had time to read it yet. I am very swamped right now, but as soon as I can, I will read it and get back to you.

0
I am very happy that you have connected with someone who really understands the issues. Yes, I have received your book but have not had time to read it yet. I am very swamped right now, but as soon as I can, I will read it and get back to you.

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