Stopping The Cycle Of Abuse

Dear Sara,

My father sexually abused me when I was between eight and twelve years old. He told me he loved me and gave me lots of presents and made me promise not to tell. I knew it was wrong but I loved my Dad. I felt angry and ashamed at the same time. Eventually, I forgave him so I could get on with my life. I have two girls now ages six and eight and I am really concerned that my Dad could molest them. I watch him constantly when they are together. What’s the best way to protect them?

Dear Jessica,

You are off to a good start in that you are being vigilant when your father is around. You could also warn your girls that it’s not OK for anyone to touch them in their private places and that they should tell you right away if someone touches them in any way that makes them feel uncomfortable. Your next step would be to have a private talk with your father. Let him know that his acts against you were criminal offenses and if he touches either of your daughters or any other child that you know of that you will have him prosecuted for his sexual abuse of you. People are reluctant to prosecute their family members because they don’t want to cause trouble or are ashamed. Even if you have forgiven your father his actions will still have an effect on you for the rest of your life. You didn’t do anything wrong. You were a trusting child and he was a child molester. Do whatever you feel necessary to protect your girls including keeping them away from their grandfather.

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