My daughter was abused

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We all read the horrible statistics of child rape, abuse and molestation.

Our hearts cry out for the little people of the world, their innocence stolen from them and their hearts and bodies broken.

Our eyes glaze over the news when we hear of another child who has suffered at the hands of a sick adult.

It happens so often that we forget to listen properly.

That all changes when it's YOUR kid.

When it's your kid who has been affected, the news stories become the reason you cannot listen to the radio. They become the reason why you cannot watch the news. They become the reason why you are almost certain you are no longer sane.

They become the reason you cannot go on.

But, you must. You have a little child who needs you now, more than ever before. More than ever before, your child needs to believe in something again. Needs to believe that they are loved; needs to believe that they are worthy and needs to believe that there is good in the world.

They need to believe that there are good adults in the world that they can trust.

The trauma of the justice process

It is often said that the secondary trauma of medical examinations, police investigations and therapeutic intrusions are the 'secondary abuse' that a child must endure to bring justice to this disgusting aberration of life. It is then that your child needs you even more still.

When it's your child, your child needs to be able to trust you, to speak to you. The worst thing you can do, though, is force your child to speak. With enough love, care and honest, open communication, it will come.

It's how it was for us. It's how it was for us the day it was my kid.

She and I talked. We spoke of the alleged person responsible. We removed her from the situation. We loved her. We were so relieved when she finally told us what she had endured. Finally, we could face up to the situation. Finally, we could reassure her that the person who hurt her would never come near her again.

Finally, we could start to re-build that smile that was missing from her face.

We know, very well, we could not have begun to rebuild that smile on her face without the love and support of our friends, family and teachers. Every day, I thank those people for being behind us and loving our children who have gone through this hell. It is only through love, that we heal.

If your child is abused

The most crucial things you can do when faced with the situation where your child has been sexually abused or molested are:
  • Believe your child, love your child and help her or him to feel safe again.
  • Get help. Immediately. For your child and for you. Talking about the experience is what got us through. Being able to tell our friends and our family helped keep me sane.
  • Get professional help. Childline, Lifeline and a psychologist can and will help.
  • Report it. Justice can do nothing until you begin the process.
  • Maintain boundaries and rules. Traumatised children act up. They may re-enact their abuse on other children or on adults. The best thing you can do is not sway any boundaries or change discipline rules.
The sooner you are able to regain some sense of normality in your home, the faster your child will feel comfortable and loved. Any sense of instability will just further entrench trauma. So, yes, boundaries and discipline stay the same, as best as you can. (By the way, this is the hardest part of surviving this).

One day, I know, justice will come. For the meanwhile, I look at my child sleeping and I know that she knows she is safe now.

Have you lived through your child being abused? Tell us your story below or email us at Chatback@parent24.com.

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