My Daughter

by No Name Disclosed
(Florida, USA)

I have a daughter that told me, when she was 3, that her dad taught her to do a strip tease dance and put his peepee in her, and then she also said that her step-brother took her into the bathroom and did the same thing; both of these instances when I was at work.

I confronted both of these people in front of my daughter. She then said that they did not do it, that she had lied.

I wish I could go back and handle this differently because now she is 14 and constantly denies that anyone ever caused her pain. I would appreciate it if you could let me know if this sounds familiar.

Note from Darlene Barriere: I've moved the above submission from the comments page it was originally posted on in order to answer it separately. Comments posted on any page on this site are directly attached and restricted to the story, commentary or article it originated from.

My Comments:

What you described in your submission is all too familiar. Given the way things went down when she first disclosed, your daughter may never disclose again. She may stick with her retraction, because she believes that she will be in greater danger if she says anything, even now, more than ten years later.

Your story highlights for all my visitors the importance that parents NEVER EVER conduct the investigation when their child discloses; and even more importantly, that parents NEVER confront the abusers in front of the victim. Children will be terrified to admit the truth in front of their abusers because their abusers hold all the power. The investigation must be left to the authorities and Social Services in order to avoid either tainting the truth or putting the child in a position that s/he feels or is unsafe.

Whether or not the sexual abuse took place is a question you may never have answered. You stated: ". . . now she is 14 and constantly denies that anyone ever caused her pain." The "constantly denies" portion of your statement tells me that you are still grilling your daughter about her disclosure of sexual abuse all those years ago. You must stop asking; otherwise you will alienate her and possibly destroy any kind of positive relationship with her. You cannot force her to re-disclose. If she does take back her retraction, she'll have to do so on her own terms; that may or may not happen. And if it does happen, she may well be a full-fledged adult at that time. The best you can do is to be there for her, love her, and be supportive. Also, become more educated about the red flags of abuse so that you can protect her now and in the future.

The commentary by Pierrette in Canada titled Recent Allegations of Child Abuse may be helpful, as well as the Comments for the above commentary, which can be found below the commentary submission.

The following URLs on this site provide a great deal more information:

Disclosures details some facts and statistics.

Intervention identifies why children and youth do and do not disclose.

Sexual Abuse Victims also divulges why children do not tell and how children who were sexually abused adapt.

Sex Offenders reveals who offenders are and how they operate.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

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