C.A. asks from Dallas, GA on July 21, 2009
RE: To See or Not to See
This is a long one-as usual...lol. I will try to shorten it though. My twin girls are 6 years old. When they were 4 1/2 years old my hubby and I decided to take weekend trip to his brother's home out-of-state who had recently moved there. He has three children two boys and one girl. These kids were raised around one another because my mother-in-law would watch them while all of us would work. We never had issues all the kids got along and my twins just adored their kids so for them to move away out-of-state was hard for them, but at the same time they were exploring so many new adventures too such as pre-k. Two weeks after returning home I caught my twins underneath the bed with one of their underwears down, legs spread apart and the other was in the assumed position. I was shocked didn't know what to do, what to say, etc. Therefore I told them to get out from underneath the bed and I went downstairs to gather my thoughts for a minute or two. I then called them down and questioned them both. They went ballistic hysterics. Turns out while we were visiting the brother-in-law one of their son's who was 7 or 8 at the time licked their tutu's. Before pushing any blame onto anyone I made clear that this name they mentioned was indeed the cousin and perhaps not another little boy at their daycare or something. They confirmed it was the cousin. I told my hubby he needed to talk to his brother to find out what went on. I had asked for ALL of us to sit down and have an "adult" conversation. It was relayed back to me that my sister in law said it just wasn't ever going to happen. This upset me and of course my reactions weren't so nice and I made certain threats about calling the law, etc. I should have handled it in a different manner but in my defense I had just found out that MY two babies had been violated. How was I supposed to react? I was also told by my husband that she said certain things that were very hurtful to me. Eventually few weeks down the road she did indeed call me but I was at Red Lobster having dinner with my mother and father for a birthday. I didn't answer because I didn't feel as though it was the time or place. She called and spoke to my hubby and apologized about what happened that she realizes her son violated our children's innocense, blah blah, blah. Two years later I have yet to get a personal apology from her. I have forgiven the situation but there are still some hurt feelings there and as a mother I personally would have made it a point to apologize at some point after I was over my anger too because I'm sure she was angry too and she most likely said these things out of anger just as I did. My opinion I had every right her not so much but then again if I had to put myself in her shoes I think I would have been quite upset as well. Last year I allowed my girls to see their little girl because I was given the guilt trip of "We don't think it's fair that she (their daughter) doesn't get to see her cousins. I agree it's not fair but it's reality and they don't have to deal with the issues at hand when they leave to go back home. I allowed a "supervised" visit. It went great - they got along as they always did and I was so happy that they at least got to see her. A few days later I caught them in the act again. We have explained in depth to them that this is inappropriate behavior and when we have "caught" them in the act yet again - they do get in trouble because I feel as though it's like anything else. If your child likes to strip down and run out into the yard naked-you have to explain that it's inappropriate and follow through with the discipline. Yes, I understand it wasn't their fault that these behaviors started in the first place and we did take them to counseling but the lady that assessed them was a complete cooky cat and we just decided we would handle it ourselves. I spoke to an uncle that has worked for DFCS for many many years and he assurred me I was doing the right thing. My whole point to this is they have come down here on two occassions now and have wanted to get together with us-yet I refused because I don't feel like the girls are ready. I'm not so sure they will ever be ready-I mean what's the protocol here because I know if it had been a stranger that had done this or neighbor whatever. You would never allow your children to see or be with them ever again, but because they are family we just forgive it and forget it right? I mean I'm not stupid there will never be unsupervised playtime or visits or whatever but just the sight I'm afraid and someone suggested that I talk to the kids about it to see how they feel but how do you even begin a conversation with two six year olds about a situation you are just trying to forget about and not bring up for fear they will revert back to the same behaviors? I need some advice here-I don't know how to feel or what to do anymore. I just want us to be a family again but I know in reality it will never be the same but at least just hopefully we could get together when they are in town at the very least. It's not like we have to deal with this on a daily basis. I'm also mad at my hubby because I kind of feel he doesn't have my back he was one of the people pressuring me into getting together with them. I can understand his place trying to hold on to that relationship with his brother but when his brother brings the subject up of us getting together and all with the kids he needs to stand up and say no that can't happen right now - the girls aren't ready yet. This has put a strain on the family and furthermore my marriage BUT we already had issues to begin with this was just another notch in the belt to say. I really need some good advice here.
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So What Happened?™
Supposedly the father my brother-in-law accidently forgot a "porno" in the DVD player. It's like I have told my husband though If you purchase a gun and load the gun and have children in the house-you purchase a lock for the gun and ensure that the kids don't get a hold of it OR you just don't have that kind of stuff in your home. He was irresponsiable in what he did and passed that along to his kid who in turn passed it along to mine. I am so upset about this and just feel as though I don't have any support from my hubby. If my sister had done something like this I don't know that I could continue a relationship with her but yet it's like he is desperate to hold on to that relationship with his brother. This is really on the verge of breaking up our marriage. If he's okay with that then so am I because my kids are more important to me than a stinking relationship with a predator even though they are "family". It hurts because we all were very close-now it's just ruined. I would like to get that back but then reality sets in.
UPDATE--I have decided and have already contacted the school counselor they go to. With it being summer I don't know if she is checking her e-mails but I thought I would at least try. That way she is aware of what happened just in case god forbid anything were to ever happen at school AND I can also get a good referral from her as well within my area. Don't know that we can truly afford this right now with all the other things but I will have to find a way I suppose - I mean it's my kids and I just have to do what I have to do. Extra expense I really shouldn't have to pay in my opinion but good luck on that one trying to get them to pay for it-they won't even take their own son. Oh pardon me they took him to a preist big whoop! I am still angry "how" they handled the situation but forgiven the actual situation because I know really it wasn't his fault-YES he knew better otherwise my girls wouldn't have freaked out when they got caught. However, I think they ALL need the help regardless and denying will make it worse-believe me I know. Furthermore they are lucky it happened to a family member first that they are aware of, but if they choose to ignore it I won't be surprised one day when they have a sexual abuse claim against them and all I would have to say is see I told you so....you should have got counseling. I'm sure the preist explained it well but I just think that they all need to go to counseling too. I cannot force my opinions on someone else though. All I can do is continue to protect my girls and get them the help I need but I feel so alone because I am constantly pressured every single time they come to town to allow the kids to get together. Not only by them and my in-laws but my own husband.
A.D. answers from Atlanta on July 21, 2009
My advise is going to be much different than the advice you're being given! Therapy is NOT always the best thing.
When my daughter was 4, she came home from Christmas visit at her dad's. She had long been potty trained so when she started doing things like wetting her bed, we knew something was up. But being that she was so young and experience with two older children, I knew that it could have been that she was sick among other things. My husband was in college at the time so he kept her and my younger one, (then 3) until it was time for school and he would drop them with my grandma. During this time, he started noticing things like how she would cling to him and would cry if he needed to say just go to the bathroom. We started catching her curled up in a fetal position, hiding under blankets and then, my husband noticed for the first time her masturbating. I hate to use that term for it but essentially that's what it was. I called my ex right away to ask about anything happening to her. He assured me that I was crazy and that it must be something else or something happening somewhere else. During the days with my husband, my daughter began to let out bits and pieces and finally she was drawing pictures with him and let it all out. One of my ex's friends/employees was at his house and had molested her. I was shocked and honestly didn't want to believe it. I didn't want to deal with the reality of something so gross happening to her. It broke my heart and made me sick all at the same time. My ex denied it repeatedly but I took steps including taking her to therapy. DFACS got involved in both counties. My daughter had to talk to a child advocate to give her testimony. The police were involved and my daughter essentially had to undergo a pelvic exam. The guy was arrested but my ex would not cooperate so the guy wasn't prosecuted. Nevermind the fact that a 4 year old recounted a story that included a conversation where her dad said, "Get out of my house and you're fired." She didn't know this guy worked for him so how in the world he wanted to think that she made up "you're fired" boggles my mind. We took her to therapy once a week. My daughter's behaviors escalated and became more frequent. My ex's grandfather is a prominent psychologist in Tennessee so I called him to talk to him about it. He advised against her continuing since it clearly wasn't doing her any good by keeping it on the forefront so to speak. She's now 13 and stopping the therapy was the BEST thing I could have ever done for her. She knows it happened.
Now I'm not saying that this is the best advice for your family but I'm relaying what helped with us. If I were in your shoes, I definitely would not have my daughter around them at all until they're much older, if at all. I also don't know that I would be around them either. I would probably just give my husband my blessing to go on without me but then again, that's just me. Some grudges are worth holding onto.
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K.D. answers from Atlanta on July 22, 2009
Please don't give up on good, professional and preferably faith-based counselling. Even the best of marriages can use a tune-up now and then. It is so worth it for your sanity and well-being of your family.
I am so sorry that you are dealing with all of this. Do not discount the power of heartfelt prayer for discernment and guidance in the right direction.
M.H. answers from Atlanta on July 23, 2009
Wow. I certainly feel for you and this very sticky situation. I suggest you write to Dr. Robin on Oprah. You can go to Oprah.com and find her on the website/ XM radio. I always feel I learn so much from listening to her. First, I think she would say that you need to be certain that you are not shaming the girls in anyway. That this is not their fault, but also, that it is natural for them to be curious and the truth is, it probably felt a little bit good to them when it happened. So I can imagine they are very confused. I'm not sure about the boy, but it was also probably a natural curiosity for him. That does not mean that I condone it in anyway. I do think that some kids are naturally more sexual than others. I have a friend whose daughter at 2-3 would message herself down there at night before falling asleep. It drove her crazy!
I guess my point is to try to have that conversation with them. Why do they find it so interesting? This is where Dr. Robin is the expert.
I wish you all the best. Let us know what happens.
L.M. answers from Atlanta on July 22, 2009
I would not see them.Wonder if nephew is touching his sister since your girls are still doing this with the nephew not being there.Maybe your husband should see his brother without you and your girls
D.B. answers from Savannah on July 22, 2009
C A, I have been in your shoes!!! Same exact situation. Here is my story: I had 2 boys from a previous marriage whe I met my current husband. All they know is him as there daddy. When they were 4 & 5, his nephew (who was 12 at the time) called to come spend a few weeks with us. We were ok with it except for the fact that it happened really fast, considering they lived in another state. He came on Friday. By Sunday afternoon, my boys had been molested and sodomized 3 times. The last time, I walked in on the act. I was livid!!! We did press charges (that did not help because he was a 1st time offender).We had to take the boys to counseling for the rest of the summer. Horrible. I know how hard it is when it comes to family, but you really need to do what you have to do when it comes to situations like this, regardless who did it. And with it being the 2nd time around, don't let it slide. We took the boys to a children's advocate that the detective in the case referred us to. They were very helpful to them and to us. It is not the boys fault for what was done to them....they were the victims. I feel your pain and aggrevation. You are the one who lives with your girls and you have to protect them.
We had NO contact with his family for 3-4 years because they felt like all of the boys were experimenting! BULL CRAP! I still am leary when we are around him, even though he has a girlfriend...blah, blah, blah. I can't trust him. Keep the girls away or they will be scarred for life.
C.G. answers from Atlanta on July 22, 2009
I sent a private response and then I saw the what happened part. And I just wanted to say again you are thinking correctly and doing what you know best for those girls. They should never be exposed to that cousin again, and I think I would error in the safe side and keep that whole family away from them especially since the denial is occuring. It only takes a second and something could be said to those girls that they may never repeat that will effect them forever. (meaning even supervised visit with the girl cousin or aunt etc could have a negative impact.) Couseling is good for everyone and if you get one that doesnt "get it" find someone else. Go yourself first before sending the kids or your husband. As sad as it is to see a family break apart, someitmes it is what has to happen. In our case all contact has been cut off and will remain that way forever. Our child knows that he is the most important thing to us and comes before anything or anyone else. And maybe your husband needs to try and see how he is not showing your girls that message. I also hate that because the predator is a minor that other people can not be warned. I understand that law to protect innocent people but I know that other children will be abused and it could have been stopped but the law leaves our hands tied. And especially with the parents in denial it will only make things worse. Stay strong, your girls are blessed to have you.
D.L. answers from Myrtle Beach on July 23, 2009
That is just aweful that you and your girls have to go through that. Of course, your girls dont realize how bad it is because they are following another child. I would feel the same way you do, I would try to avoid getting together with them since you know where this behavior is coming from. The last thing you want is for your girls to show any other children this behavior then the guilt is on you. They maybe family but you should listen to your heart. Good Bless you & your family!
S.W. answers from Atlanta on July 22, 2009
I HIGHLY DISAGREE with the response about counseling not being the best thing. I was molested during a ten year period as a child. When my mother found out, she did not bring me to counseling and continued (to this day) her relationship with the perpetrator. I can never have that mother-daughter relationship every child dreams of because she betrayed me and didn't protect me when she should have. The memories NEVER go away and it affects every aspect of your life! I'm now 27 and seeking counseling and it's the best decision I've ever made! Hope this helps and good luck.