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Domestic Violence Dealing with abuse and violence. Getting support and help.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2013, 11:34 PM
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Default Extremely disturbing comments from D4 tonight!t

I need advice here. D4-just-shy-of-5, got upset and said some very disturbing-to-me comments tonight, that seemed very "explicit".

I am quite concerned, given exactly what D4 said, and how she brought it up (suddenly got upset, getting ready for bed/changing). These kind of comments have not "come up" before, so this is abnormal.

It went like this:

Getting D4 ready for bed. She's dressing. D4 suddenly got upset, and starts crying. I check on her, and she is crying as she finished dressing and slides into her bed, without my asking.

I ask D4 what is wrong because she was okay up until then, and she said that "Mommy is going to take me to the doctor, because my birdie hurts."

(birdie, is the term D4 uses for her private area - I don't know, it came from Mom's)

I said "oh...okay. Has your birdie been bothering you?"
D4: "Yes." (D4 is very quiet now, and looks very sad as she lays there) I'm not sure why at this point. I'm just wondering what is bugging her, as this is not like her at bedtime.

Me: "oh, okay. Well, that's good that Mommy is taking you to the Dr. then. Is your birdie bothering you right now?

D4: "Yes. (someone did action to my birdie) "

I had to process what she said for a few seconds.
I believe I said "what?", once I processed what she said. "I'm not sure what you mean."

D4: "
(someone did action to my birdie)"


(someone is older, half-brother, 9)

I'm sorry, I did not want to put comment here, for privacy. But it wasn't a general term, it was a specifc action, that would be hard to do in passing.

She was upset, so I tried to ask clarifying info enough, to know what context this might have been in. It sounds like they were playing house, just them, but it sounds early in the morning, because Mom was "not up", and D4 said she was wearing nightie. Somehow, older sibling got "time out - her terminology" from Mom, and they can't play house anymore?

If this is a misunderstanding, or I'm not understanding what is said, why would D4 say that?

The way she said it, and talked to me too, was not like her. It was a quiet, sad talk.

What is the best thing, to follow-up on this? I feel what was said, is serious, but I don't want it coming from me directly, to be discounted.

I'm thinking I should go to the hospital or doctor tomorrow, and just tell them, D4 is mentioning this area, and I'm not sure what the issue is, or what happened, but she seems bothered and upset by it, and let them inquire?


I tried to write down after, what she said, and I want to take a few minutes, and re-read it again, to see if I took something out of context?

Last edited by dad2bandm; 09-06-2013 at 11:36 PM. Reason: Sorry, lost some text that I quoted wrong
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:56 PM
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If I read what D4 said, specifically, it's disturbing. I'm trying to think how I might not be understanding what she really meant. She's only 4, I would expect her to simply recount an action, not invent one.
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:06 AM
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Yes, that is disturbing. I am not a child psychologist and don't know your ex so my comments may be off-base, but here goes:

You might want to call a local sexual assault centre, tell them exactly what your daughter said, and ask them for advice on how to figure out what happened. There may be age-specific ways of gently asking questions without freaking her out. Without wanting to minimize what she said, it's possible that this is a one-off incident with an older sibling, rather than an ongoing pattern of harm.

If you think your ex could handle it, could you send her an email quoting exactly what D4 said and ask her if she can shed any further light on this? That is an extremely awkward thing to do, and perhaps you could preface the inquiry with something like "this is really awkward for me to ask, but the following incident occurred and I'm not sure what to make of it". Excruciatingly difficult I know, but you may want a document trail showing that you followed up on this right away in an appropriate and non-accusatory way.

My instinct would be not to take D4 to the doctor yourself (unless she's showing signs of physical pain or distress) - while this incident should be taken seriously, the atmosphere of hospital/doctor's office, strange doctor asking questions, etc., could escalate things in her mind and possibly lead her to shut down entirely to avoid having to deal with it, esp. if the doctor finds no physical signs of interference. It could make her feel like she is "bad" or "sick".

I would suggest bringing it up with her once or twice again over the weekend - maybe telling her you are wondering if she feels sad because of what she told you last night, and reinforcing the message that nobody should be touching her "birdie" except a parent or a doctor; and that if something or somebody makes her feel uncomfortable, she can always tell you about it no matter what.

Sorry, this is not much help. I really do feel for you in this situation. Maybe some other posters can offer something more concrete.
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:19 AM
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I cannot sleep, as this is bothering me.

I would like to clarify with ex, but the ex is hostile, and will not reveal anything anyway. I have tried asking her about "lesser" issues in the past, when they have come up, and the responses/actions from her, were....incendiary.

It might be good to call a phone line, like you mentioned, to tell them, exactly what D4 said. I want to put it on here, to give better context of what she said, but... I can't.
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:44 AM
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Yes, do call a hotline - they have seen and heard it all, and nothing that you say can shock them. You yourself also need some support with this - this is very distressing to hear from your child.

The ray of hope I take from what you've said here is that D4 said her stepbrother had been punished - or at least not allowed to play house any more? - so it's possible that her mother has some idea what happened and isn't turning a blind eye to inappropriate behavior. Do you have any sense how much time she spends with the stepbrother? Presumably he's in school now, so they aren't at home alone together?

If the mother does take D4 to the doctor, you should be able to go to the doctor yourself later and ask for her medical records (I'm assuming you have joint custody). This might give you information you can't get from your ex.

Incidents like these, although they are extremely disturbing, don't necessarily scar a child for life. If this was only a one-time thing, D4 may be interpreting it as something akin to bullying or mean teasing from her stepbrother, rather than as a form of sexual abuse, which is of course where our thoughts as adults immediately go. Being responsive and empathetic without acting like you think this is a huge deal may be the way to go with her.
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:21 AM
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Thank you stripes for your advice.
I did call the hotline, and they did provide some advice to start with. I wouldn't have thought of calling them. I'm not sure why.

I'm not sure how much time D4 is alone with this brother, but I do know there are times when they are. They asked the same.

I need to try and go sleep, as the kids will be up early, and I have advice to follow.
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:25 AM
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If you have a family doctor that your D4 is familiar with, perhaps you could get some advice on how best to handle this. Tread gently, have an honest talk with your Ex, she will no doubt be as concerned as you are.

Try to find out what happened without suggesting answers. Encourage her to tell you in her own words. If there's any chance of what you suspect being true, then you and your Ex will have to consider appropriate family therapy depending on the gravity of the incident.

If there's any physical discomfort, tomorrow you should absolutely take her to a clinic (hospital will frighten her)

My heart goes out to you ...
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:07 AM
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If you are indicating that the child has been abused, you need to take immediate and definite action.

Now.

Take child to the emergency room. Call the police. Call Children's Aid.

These are not actions to take lightly, there will be repercussion if an assault has occurred. There may be repercussion if you are being less than truthful.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wretchedotis View Post
If you are indicating that the child has been abused, you need to take immediate and definite action.

Now.

Take child to the emergency room. Call the police. Call Children's Aid.

These are not actions to take lightly, there will be repercussion if an assault has occurred. There may be repercussion if you are being less than truthful.
totally agree. If your child was sexually assaulted then report it. Dont be on a board asking what you should do when you cannot give all the details. Talk to someone where you can go into more depth and get it sorted.

Call family and childrens services RIGHT NOW. They can investigate and probably get your daughter seen quicker then going to emergency. You should have done this as soon as you found out. Can you get the child to talk to a trusted aunt or someone and have her tell them what happened? Just in case she clams up with faced with authority figures and doesnt want to get her brother in trouble.

I would never use the term "half", to her he is her brother. If you had kids with some one else would you tell your daughter to go play with her half-brother or sister?? Probably you would use the term sister or brother.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:07 AM
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The daughter is already mentioning that her mother is taking her to the doctor.

IMHO this is the correct first step, not calling a help line. Contact the mother and arrange to attend the appointment. If necessary wait outside the exam room and speak to the doctor privately afterwards. The doctor can provide advice, and is legally obligated to file a report if necessary.

If the child will not speak with the doctor about it, then the child is not going to be helped by a "help line."
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