Here’s a good read. The post is on my page. Thanks………..Protecting a child after disclosure
Child Abuse Medico-Legal Services·Tuesday, September 26, 2017
A scenario that plays itself out almost every time a child visits the Sexual Assault Clinic, is the self-blame and dis-empowerment the parents and the child victim experience.
Whether you are in a normal or dysfunctional family, it is almost impossible to protect your child 24/7. We live in a world where evil is looking for any opportunity to hurt the ones we love. This realization that even the best parent cannot always protect his/her family, is the first step to healing after a child disclosed abuse.
The next very important step is for parents to act strong and not fall apart. A child victim’s experience of the abuse if often drawn from the parent’s reactions. Almost every abused child we encountered at the Clinic, experiences an unbelievable amount of guilt. When a child sees the parent’s horror, anger, crying and often times distraught reaction, to the child’s disclosure, the child’s response is that she* must have done something heinous and caused this reaction. The child might feel that she is a huge disappointment. Often parents will react with anger in saying “why did you not tell me before, that this was happening?!” or even “I told you never to allow anyone to touch your private parts!” Parent need to act strongly and need to ensure their own reactions is under control.
No matter how angry or distraught a parent is, remember that the abuse happened to the child, not the parent. The parent is placed in a position of protecting the child against any secondary abuse. Out-of-control parents cause secondary abuse. It is of the utmost importance that the child is assured of the parent’s unconditional love, support and assistance throughout the process that follows disclosure. The parent should be constantly praising the child for her bravery to disclose and for telling the truth. The parent should, as often as possible, assure the child that she is not to blame and did nothing wrong. At no time, never ever, must a parent doubt the child’s truthfulness. Even if after all investigations may find that the child was lying about the abuse. It must be noted however, that children very seldom lie about abuse and that there are reasons why children might lie about it.
The biggest hurt is not the abuse but the fact that a parent did not believe the child
A parent should encourage the child to openly communicate her feelings to them. Use this opportunity to strengthen rather than destroy the relationships in your family. Encourage the child to participate in the process, although often times scary and overwhelming to everyone involved. By allowing the child to consent and participate in the process, gives the child a sense of control over her emotions, body and situation. Never threaten a scared child, rather take the time and explain that everyone involved in the process is on her side and forms part of the “team” to help her through a very unfamiliar and scary process.
Parents should seek help. Depending on the emotional baggage each parent is already burdened with, the disclosure of the abuse of a child will hundred times multiply the weight of it. Situations that parents could normally deal with in a civil manner becomes impossible to deal with and can cause irreparable damage to any relationship and self-worth. Fathers especially, suffer under self-blame because they could not protect a child and often see counselling as admitting to defeat and a sign of being emasculated. It must be remembered however, that no parent is prepared for the emotional turmoil that a child’s disclosure of abuse can cause. Counselling empowers a parent to understand their own reactions better and gives parents the tools to support the child throughout the process without falling apart.
* Sadly, boys are known to experience abuse different than girls and is less likely to disclose abuse because male victims of sexual abuse believe “real men do not cry”.
AUTHOUR DAZZLED submitted 2017