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<p>My daughter (3.5) has said some things in the past few days, and played in ways that make me suspect possible sexual abuse. The person she has mentioned and indicated is her dad.</p>
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<p>We are separated but not divorced, still own a house together and share childcare. We have no extra money for paid childcare...we work opposite shifts and he watches them while I'm at work. Yesterday I spoke with a friend who works with kids and she recommended I call CPS or the police today, and find someone else to care for DD and DS this morning while I'm at work. So they're at my sister's house.</p>
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<p>I have no idea what I'm supposed to do, even for the next week or so, in terms of childcare (not to mention my own mental health). My daughter had talked about "games" she and her papa were playing and I asked STBXH about this (without some details that would reveal them being inappropriate), and he denied ever playing anything like it with her, and then started asking who I was leaving them with while I "ran around doing whatever you do." My kids are only ever babysat by their aunts, their grandparents, us, and two close friends of mine who I have known for years. I told him that I was concerned and wanted to have her be interviewed by a trained social worker to further evaluate it, and to not worry about childcare this morning. I didn't accuse, just said since she had mentioned him I thought it best to have them go elsewhere at least until we speak with someone about it. He totally agreed about the interviewing, etc. and then kept saying that if anything is happening to our daughter that he will make me pay for it and that I will be the one responsible. I just ended the conversation.</p>
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<p>The things my daughter has said/done <em>could</em> be just her being at an age where she's somewhat preoccupied with "private parts" and since she has the language for them, could be just talking and playing. She has been self-stimulating a lot over the past several months and I try to either ignore it or gently redirect it, but her papa is extremely uncomfortable and often yells at her to stop. So, she does get lots of attention for it, albeit negative, as well as when she runs around naked.</p>
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<p>But, I can't not take it seriously and am horrified by the fact that I would not be completely surprised if it were true. My STBXH has been emotionally abusive and controlling with me and our children for a long time and was abandoned/neglected/abused as a child by family members, although I suspect he has not disclosed the full extent of that abuse.</p>
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<p>I don't know what I'm looking for from this community, maybe just empathy, I feel really ashamed to talk to anyone IRL about it and I just can't believe this is happening to our family. Whether or not it's true, I can see it severely impacting things. Especially if answers are inconclusive, which they're likely to be, because how can I leave them with him if I just DON'T KNOW if he's abusing them? And of course, if it's not true, my STBXH will unjustly have his relationship with his children threatened.</p>
 

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<p>i'm sorry.  do you need help finding someone to evaluate your dd?  it might be nice to have her seen by a therapist / social worker / psychiatrist whatever - someone who specializes in child sexual abuse - who can then give you their assessment of dd which you can take to the police or cps, as well as being able to advise you as a parent.  that person might be able to help you make a plan for yourself and your children, might be able to connect you with childcare or other resources, or just help you through it emotionally.</p>
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<p>:hug  i'm sorry you are dealing with this.  the only advice i have is to act, immediately.  whether you find someone to evaluate dd, or go to cps and let them figure out how to have her evaluated, or just report the suspected abuse to the police and let that unravel according to whatever their system is.  ultimately, it probably doesn't matter exactly what you do, as long as you do something, right now.</p>
 

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<p>I don't want to "point the finger", 'cause I could be wrong, but my first instinct in reading the original post was, but it seems to me that the Dad is more concerned about making sure the blame lay with the Mother, as opposed to concern for his child who might have been abused... but that's just my perception...</p>
 
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Jesus, how horrific. <img alt="hug.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug.gif"><br><br>
I would call CPS asap. They are trained to investigate these kinds of incidents. Especially with such a young and impressionable child, it's really important that the person interviewing her is trained--because asking leading questions or 'suggesting' things is really easy to fall into and can lead to false reports or just make her story convoluted or include details that aren't true even if the original story was true. If this is true, you want to make sure that her version of the events is as untainted as possible.<br><br>
CPS will also be able to refer you to the best early child therapists for victims of sexual abuse.<br><br>
eta: I really want to make clear--I'm not saying young kids lie about sexual abuse. Just saying that interviewing them about the abuse takes a lot of skill and should be left to professionals.
 

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<p>All I can say is you're absolutely doing the right thing by calling CPS. As her mother, it is your sacred duty to protect her, and you're living up to that duty. There are a lot of women over in the surviving abuse forum whose lives would have been a whole lot different if their mother had picked up on the red flags that they were being sexually abused and taken steps to protect them.</p>
<p>Especially when you've been the victim of the head games that are emotional abuse, it can be dangerously easy to minimize or deny red flags. And with sexual abuse, you often don't have blatant in your face proof, you just have red flags, and you have to act on that.</p>
<p>I know what you mean about how there's a part of you that's not totally surprised about the abuse taking place. Listen to that voice and protect your daughter.</p>
<p>There's no shame in taking steps to stop abuse -- there's only shame in looking the other way and letting it go on.</p>
<p>Wishing you all the ferocity and strength you need to protect your baby girl.</p>
 

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<p>Having a trained person evaluate her is going to be so important.  I don't think you should worry about the situation being inconclusive until you cross that bridge.  It's amazing what people that work with these situations day in and day out can tell by working with a child.</p>
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<p>Where I live they actually have a center totally dedicated to children that have been sexually abused.  They have interview/medical rooms, therapist and doctors.  Perhaps you have something like that in your community?  You could call and ask them for advice on where to take her or if she qualifies to be seen there.</p>
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<p>I would like to throw a few things out that you did not ask for, so please feel free to disregard.  I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse.  I just want to say how important your words are going to be as she goes down this path.  For example, when I asked my Mom what she would do if someone was touching me, she said she would kill them dead with her bare hands.  I was totally HORRIFIED!  I was old enough to know that would a) put her in harms way and b) end her up in jail.  Which means I wouldn't have my Mama any more.  I never mentioned it again.  I have trouble with people that say if a child is sexually abused that their whole life is ruined.  Really?  Ruined?  I'm not saying my life has been easy, nor am I saying it's not that big of deal - because it IS!  What I'm saying is the power of words is an incredible thing.</p>
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<p>If she really is being sexually abused, after she's removed from the situation, therapy will be important as well as your support.  Try to keep your horror and anger at the situation separate from your child.  The one time I mentioned it to my Mother - as a child - she was so upset and I, of course, thought she was mad at me.  I literally thought she would be mad at me if she knew the truth.</p>
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<p>I'm just rambling, so I'm going to stop.  Just some thoughts......</p>
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<p><span><img alt="hug.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug.gif"></span></p>
 

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<p>I think you are doing the right thing in having her evaluated and I would make sure this happens IMMEDIATELY. As in, the following business day if possible. You need her to be evaluated before ANYONE can say anything to try and alter what she says (and I'm not just talking about on purpose; she could just overhear you or someone else talking about it and that may affect it). And try not to say, "I think/know her father is doing this." Instead, try to keep it along the lines of, "She has said some things that concern me and I'm not trying to place blame but feel that it's best that she be checked out to be on the safe side." ...you don't want to come across as TRYING to "get him" so to speak. If for some reason they find that there is no sexual abuse (whether the findings are truly accurate or not) you really don't want to come off as having made an outrageous claim just to "get him" or to make yourself look better for the divorce or anything along those lines. Ya know?</p>
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<p><span><img alt="hug.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug.gif"></span></p>
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<p>I am so, so sorry for you. When I was a child I had a close friend who was being sexually abused by her father. I know it's not the same seeing as I was the friend and you are her mother, but I do have some kind of experience. For years I blamed myself because she told me about it (in age appropriate words like "my daddy kisses me down there")...but I now of course know that I was too young to know enough to say something. I knew something wasn't right about it, but I was too young to understand just how wrong it was. At any rate...it did affect me. And I have not seen her in years (we lost touch about a year after all this went down), but her mother was amazing. When she found out (dad told a friend who called either mom and/or the authorities, my memories are hazy) she immediately took action. She didn't play around. I don't know the details of what all she did, but I knew that all of a sudden they weren't staying there and pretty quickly moved into their own apartment. She took her daughter and their three other children. And she told my parents so they would know (just in case he molested me, which he did not). I really wish I could get a hold of them to this day to see how the girl (now a woman) is doing and also to tell her mom how much I respect her.</p>
 

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<p>Such a hard place to be. 3 year olds are not always the most reliable, and they feed off of adults very readily sometimes with information. Not to say that nothing happened, but it has happened before that people were falsely accused due to children's inaccuracies.  I would definitely look into it though. Much love to you and your family.</p>
 

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<p>I think you have recieved some great advice but no one seemed to mention a physical exam in addition to a psychological assesment.  Wouldn't that also be an important first step and crucial to do immediately?</p>
 

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<p>I hope you're doing okay today. Also, if calling CPS feels daunting to you, you can also take your daughter to her regular pediatrician. They'll initiate the reporting process for you.</p>
 

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<p>Thanks all, for your kind words of advice and support. It has been a rough week and seems that it will continue for some time. At this point, I have contacted our local Child Advocacy Center and the police, who filed a CPS report on my behalf. I've spoken with two therapists, a police officer and the detective who is now assigned to our case, and a CPS worker. My daughter has an appointment on Monday for the forensic interview and there is a no contact order for their dad until this has been investigated as much as possible. Depending on the results of the interview, we will go from there.</p>
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<p>I'm doing ok, but I can tell that I'm in a bit of shock and not fully experiencing emotions right now. I'm functioning, which is what I need to do right now. My STBXH was the caregiver while I work, 28+ hours a week, and so my most immediate challenge is to quickly set up alternative childcare. We have no extra money and so I'm counting on friends and family. Thankfully I have a big, active support network and I have faith that it will be taken care of. The Advocacy Center provides short-term counseling as well as education both for myself and my daughter--education about body safety for her, as well as counseling if this does turn out to be true, and of course for me in terms of how to parent her through this. I also have my individual therapist who I'm seeing weekly and who has been helping me through our divorce process, as well as our local Alanon support community, which has really been invaluable and I'm sure will continue to be.</p>
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<p>My daughter seems to be doing ok and, I think, doesn't even know that all this whirlwind of different babysitters in the last couple of days has anything to do with the conversation we had on Tuesday night. I don't think she even fully understands that what she described was not ok, since I did my best not to react strongly and just asked her really non-leading questions and then dropped it when she changed the subject.</p>
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<p>Unfortunately, I have unintentionally made this all more complicated. Part of our mediation agreement states the days when my STBXH is supposed to come to the house to stay for the kids, and he is not supposed to be there on the other days per our agreement. On Wednesday night I went out with an old friend/boyfriend of mine who ended up staying for awhile after the babysitter went home, while my kiddos were sleeping. In hindsight I can see that my inviting him into the house that STBXH and I still own together, before our divorce is final, was maybe lacking in foresight and respect for STBXH--but my thinking at the time was that I was so f*ing stressed out and numb from being mama/exwife/etc in the midst of all this chaos and drama, and all I wanted to do was relax and have fun for a few hours. I totally did, this man is really sweet and I have known him for literally half of my life, so while it moved pretty quickly, he is far from a stranger and it was a totally mutual, unintoxicated evening. Kids were asleep and oblivious the whole time, and it was all great until STBXH WALKED IN THE DOOR at 1am, finding that old bf was here with me. Horrifying, for obvious reasons, but also because it let me know that STBXH is likely driving by our house on a regular basis, checking to see if I have people over. He has NEVER come by unannounced on a night other than our agreed upon nights. He left after confronting us and was clearly irate and, I'm sure, hurt. I feel horrible that he saw that, but also feel that our marriage ended awhile ago and that we have both been free to see other people or do whatever--I would be horrified to find him with someone else too, but just for the awkwardness of it, not because I have any lingering desire to be with him or think that he is still obligated or committed to me. That said, he apparently had another understanding or is intentionally trying to manipulate the situation to make me look bad (which is my suspicion, since he has clearly been "checking on me" and I think looking to "catch me" in this situation.) I am, if nothing else, sorry to have given him some ammunition. After leaving our house he went to MY PARENTS house and told them in detail, which has resulted in my mother not speaking to me and my father calling me irresponsible and selfish. My parents are quite religious and I think STBXH knew they would be upset by the idea of me seeing other people--I think they really believe I should be celibate until the event when I remarry, if that happens. It really feels like they have been very forgiving of STBXH, who cheated while we were still committed to each other, has been emotionally abusive for a long, long time and who has demonstrated paranoid and controlling behaviors on numerous occasions and NOW has potentially been caught sexually abusing our 3 year old, yet they are "horrified" by me being with someone before my divorce is final on paper. I'm willing to take responsibility for having poor timing/location, but am still at a loss in some ways because the only reason ANYONE is hurt by my decision to be with this other man is because STBXH was STALKING my house after we've been living separately for 2+ months and estranged for almost a year. At this point I just have to not care what my parents think and know that I was a good, honest and faithful wife to STBXH and still have never lied about anything to him. I am confident that I am also a good mother and that my kids were not in any danger--they were and are completely unaware that anyone came over that evening.</p>
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<p>I'm grateful for this forum, to help me process it, to hear others' experiences.</p>
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<p>Soooooo, drama. I am just taking this one day at a time, which I suppose is the best and only thing I can do.</p>
 

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<p>Hugs, I don't think, with the details you provided, that you did anything wrong. </p>
 

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<p>Oh jeez. He's acting like a true textbook abuser. A controlling, stalking, jealous, intrusive abuser. He literally conducted surveillance of your home and BROKE IN when he found out someone else was there.</p>
<p>My advice to you? Change the locks.</p>
<p>I'm so sorry you're going through this, honey. I've been through something really similar, not with suspected sexual abuse of my child, but with suspected but not 100 percent clear cut physical abuse. As someone who's been there, I can tell you up, down and side to side that you are doing the right thing.</p>
<p>You do feel kind of numb at first. You go into pure action crisis mode, where you just do the things that you have to do without giving yourself time to feel emotion. It's a survival mechanism that gives us incredible strength in the most critical times. It lets us be fierce in protecting our babies. After a few days, you'll probably crash. I just suddenly, desperately needed a nap. Reach out to your support network. Let them help you -- you deserve the help and support of your community in this incredibly difficult time.</p>
<p>And make no apologies about who you're dating now that you've split up from your abusive, cheating ex. This is America in the 21st Century and you are entirely in your rights to date whomever the hell you want. Just make sure they're not cut from the same cloth as your ex.</p>
<p>Good luck, and keep staying strong. Your baby girl is lucky to have you for a mama.</p>
 

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<p>You are a grown woman. You are allowed to have a date or an evening out or whatever you want to call it. The kids were in bed, you did nothing wrong. STBX on the other hand, stalked you, freaked out and I'm sure flipped his lid (disorderly conduct?) and then tattled on you to your parents. I'm pretty sure that any unbiased outsider would see far more wrong with STBX's behavior than yours. I agree with Mama Jen. You do need to change your locks. Things are obviously getting heated and you now know that he is doing drive by's and stalking you. What would keep him from coming back with a weapon at this point? Protect yourselves and your babies, Leave if you have to, but definitely guard your safety. And honestly, if you do end up going somewhere else, don't tell your parents. I'm sure you probably already knew this, but they have an obvious agenda that does not include your safety or well being.</p>
 

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<p>IF a stay away order is in place and he walked in the home when the children were there then do you not have grounds to have him arrested?  I think changing the locks and having the police pick him up would be a good idea.  As for you parents, you can't change them, but I wouldn't feel even a little bit bad about it.  Good for you for finding a way to give yourself a moment of joy with a supportive partner.  You have to stop looking at him as someone you feel sorry for.  Until further notice he is the enemy.  Do everything you have to, to protect both you and your children. </p>
 

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<p>I have not read all of the posts but had to comment as I have been through this. 2 yrs ago Thanksgiving my then 8 yo pulled me aside and told me she had something to tell me but was worried I would not believe her. She said that when she was 4 or 5 she was molested by her dads (my dh) cousin.  I of course didn't want to believe her but I called the police and they told me NOT to talk to her about it at all so as not to plant things in her mind. A appt was made at a special facility and she and I talked with trained professionals and they found what she said to be truthful. ( In some cases they want to do a physical exam but beings the abuse happened several yrs ago that was thankfully not needed in our case) The cousin was brought into the police station for questioning and told the same details that DD had reported and has been going through therapy as has my dd.</p>
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<p>It is scary I know first hand but it is important that you call someone whether it is cps or the cops it doesn't matter. And don't talk to your daughter anymore about anything. You can listen if she needs to talk but just listen.</p>
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<p>If you have any questions about anything you can pm me.</p>
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<p>Hugs and good luck. I felt so depressed when I found out that what dd had told me was true but she is almost done with therapy and is doing amazing and the therapist thinks that she will have a great future because for one she is a strong kid and for second I believed her and acted on it. I was so worried that it would not be true but I can not tell you how thankful I am that with shaking hands I dialed the phone.</p>
 
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