For the past four years I have received letters from survivors, parents, people working in the field of child abuse, family members of survivors, high school and college students who were told to read my book for class or were doing a research paper and used my book as a reference. There are those who contact me who are still living in silence.
Today I received one of those letters from a mother whose letter sounds so familiar to what happened in my own family.
I recently read your book, Stolen Innocence. I can’t believe how closely it relates to my daughter’s experience. She is eleven and was also sexually assaulted by her older cousin. It happened on at least 2 occasions that she has spoken of. We confronted his family and got no where so we contacted the police. She has been through counseling and since he never admitted to it, we have no contact with that side of the family. She no longer sees her Grandmother or any of her cousins whom she was very close to. We are doing everything we can to move on and protect her.
Is there any advice you can give on how to deal with any flashbacks she may have in the future? I am sure it is on her mind, but when I try to talk with her, she does not want to talk about it. I feel our family has moved on and this is in the past. It is almost like all of the other people have died since we have no contact with them. Our family, which includes my husband (her father) and my son all support her and love her deeply. She is also surrounded by my side of the family which includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a cousin. She is surrounded by love but has lost a lot of people in her life that she cared about. So, this is something else she is dealing with.
I have read that you had panic attacks and even considered suicide. I know there is many times where she says to me, she just doesn’t feel good and I have no idea if this is related to what has happened.
Like you, she first thought it may have been a dream but since it happened again she knew that it wasn’t. I know this will never go away for her but I want her to live the best life she possibly can. She is very bright, a great writer, singer and dancer. I am so proud of her for telling us. I just want to be sure we are doing all the right things for her.
Thank you for writing your book. I have spoken to her of this book so she does not feel that she is the only one this has happened to. I know that she feels that way because she has expressed that. Maybe, you can recommend something for her to read?
I have given this mother the contact info of a Children’s Advocacy Center in her state to see if they have any groups of girls close to her daughters age that have experienced the same thing. I told this mother that her daughter not wanting to talk and be open about it is completely normal but I also told her do not let her drift away and hold everything in. She may not want to talk about it because she is ashamed or feels no one can understand. Which is why I told this mom that it may be best for her daughter to connect with other girls her age that know what she has gone through. Often your best friends do not understand when you try talking about this with them because they have not experienced it. My hope is this daughter can get to a point where she knows she did nothing wrong and while her entire family turned on her just like my own family she is not at fault.
I told her mom when she feels the time is right to give her daughter my book it may also give her a sense of understanding that she is not in this alone and others can relate.