My 3 Year Old Was S.xually Abused By Our 12 Year Old Neighbour
My family and I were at a party at our neighbour’s house. My daughter Dara was having fun, playing with our neighbour's 3-year-old son Timothy and his elder brother John who is 12. They were out of something, so I decided to accompany my neighbour to the supermarket.
When we got back from the supermarket, I asked Timothy to call Dara for me but when I saw Dara, I instantly knew something was wrong. When we came to the party, Dara’s shirt was not tucked in. However, when I returned from the supermarket, it was neatly tucked in. I decided not to raise an alarm as my husband was not present there. I casually asked the younger son Timothy about Dara, and he said he had not seen Dara and John for quite some time. Larry (My neighbour's husband) dismissed it, saying the two kids were playing hide and seek.
I continued to act normal, but as soon as I got home, I shared her concerns with my husband Tunde. But instead of being shocked, my husband shared that even he had had a similar experience. A few days back, my husband and Dara were in the neighbour’s house visiting. Dara wanted to use the toilet, so Larry enlisted John’s help.
They did not reappear for some time, so my husband and Larry went looking for them and the two appeared from around the corner. My husband felt this was odd, but then, children end up doing weird things.
Both of us reached the same conclusion that something fishy was going on. So we decided to talk to Dara. She was reluctant, even afraid at first, but what she revealed made me almost throw up. Dara confessed that she had kissed John on his lips and he had touched her ‘here’, she said, pointing towards her private part. She revealed that it had been going on since she started school and had to stay in their house after school.
Sadly, there was not much we could do legally speaking, except speaking to John’s parents about it and whereas we just wanted to get our daughter as far away as possible from John so we moved to a different location when our rent expired.
It is sad because we had already gotten close to our neighbours, they were like family to us, research shows that children that s.xually abuse other kids have also been s.xually abused in the past or are being sexually abused by someone. So what of John, where did he learn such from and why does he think it is okay to do s.xually things to a 3 year old at his age?
Child abusers are often in the ‘inner circle’ of trust of a family. The way they do it is by ‘grooming’ the child or the parents. In most cases, children who have been trained to differentiate between a good touch and bad touch, raise an alarm when something happens. However, the clueless ones are often vulnerable to the abuse.
Sexual abuse is seen most commonly in children who keep to themselves, do not interact much with others, who are generally shy. The abuser may also gain access to a child by winning a parent’s trust. It is easier to do so with single parents. So, the best way to avoid abuse is spot signs of grooming and teaching your child to differentiate between good and bad touch.
Here are the 3 signs of grooming
- Gifts and toys. If you spot an adult taking an unnatural interest in your child, you should be suspicious, even if he/she is a close friend. The telltale signs are a gift at every visit and the amount of time spent interacting with the child. If you feel uneasy about an individual in close contact with your child, keep a close watch.
- Secrets. It is difficult to spot, but if you look for it, you may notice your child keeping a secret. Children are often not very comfortable keeping a secret, so you need to spot their unease. If you are suspicious about a particular person, but not sure enough, you need to talk to your child. Ask him/her how his/her day was. Then, lead the conversation to the child’s interaction with the person. “What did uncle/aunt say?” Lastly, keep on reiterating that there are no secrets in the house if someone is touching the child inappropriately.
- Guilt. The child is often guilted or even threatened to keep quiet. This is how abuse is repeated. There is a sudden change in the mood, bouts of anger or crying, and the child becomes even more reclusive. Do not dismiss this as ‘just a part of growing up’. It might warrant a talk.
Mamas and papas, please be vigilant about sexual abuse.
Names have been changed to protect the identity.