Comments for Child Abuse Story From Patricia

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Nov 01, 2007
Many factors to determine if it was child abuse
by: Darlene Barriere

Patricia, congratulations on being an "A" student! Keep up the great work!

You asked whether or not what you dealt with would be considered abuse. I'm going to briefly explain the laws in Canada as it relates to abuse and consent and your particular situation. But based on what you wrote, there are other issues that must be addressed as well.

First off, I want to say that what Jack did was definitely immoral. He seduced you, and that was indecent and ethically wrong, but whether or not what he did fits the legal definition of sexual abuse is another matter.

Currently, the age of consent in Canada is 14 years old. (SIDEBAR: The federal government is taking steps to increase that age to 16.) At 14 a person can consent to have sexual relations with anyone of any age, UNLESS that "anyone" is in a position of power and authority over that person, such as a teacher, a doctor, a coach, etc. Therefore, if Jack had been in a position of power and authority over you, you would not have been able to consent to a sexual relationship with him.

You said that Jack was your mother's boyfriend; if he was a live-in boyfriend who was acting as your stepfather, there is an argument that as your "stepfather" he did sexually assault you. However, the sexual relationship may well have fallen under proper consent once he split up with your mother. This is very complicated, so an attorney would have to provide you with legal advice on this one, Patricia.

The first incident you described, you said you had been drinking. In Canada, a person who has been drinking or is under the influence of drugs CANNOT consent. Period. So, that first incident with Jack in the laundry room would be considered sexual assault.

It is also important to understand that each and every sexual encounter must be consented to. Just because consent was expressly given one time does not mean that consent is ongoing.

Whether you are from Canada, the United States, or just about any other country on the planet, there is no question that Jack is guilty of drug trafficking. He should have to face charges for that.

Patricia, whether or not what Jack did to you is considered sexual abuse, sexual assault or neither, you are now an adult who understands that it should never have happened in the first place, and that Jack should have never taken advantage of you. I hope this knowledge and understanding helps you to come to terms with this part of your life. I urge you to look into some form of counselling. A counsellor may be able to help you put all this in better perspective, and also may help you deal with the emotional stuff you are now facing. I wish you all the best, dear.

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