4 thoughts on “When Mom Doesn’t Believe, Validate or Protect Her Daughter When She Has Been Sexually Assaulted/Abused

  • February 13, 2018 at 4:29 am

    Thank you, Katherine for publishing this important article!! I wish my mom had seen this years ago. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I wish this were required reading for ALL soon to be parents –yet how pathetic is it that such a thing should have to be “taught!” It SHOULD just be a natural instinct to protect and believe one’s child. I was never blessed with children but from a very young age even I knew this.
    I do want to point out that although you got the general feeling and message of my comment re: my mom, you did not “quote” me. In fact, I probably won’t quote myself at this moment because I am too tired to go back and look up, copy and paste my original comment lol.
    One thing that was said to me exactly (and not in a mean way–my mom has never been mean–but rather in a sad, dejected way) was “I’ll never be happy again because of this…”
    She also said something like I have two young kids to take care of but you’ll be out on your own soon (I’d just turned 17). She said she believed me but she loves us both and can’t choose. She was a wonderful mom in many ways such as always saying she loved us and still does to this day, buying our needed or wanted items before her own, playing with us when we were younger, valuing education, attentive to illnesses and life in general as far as food, school, manners, chores, homework, holidays and birthdays etc. She has always had a great sense of humor and our friends loved her too. BUT, she TOTALLY “missed the mark” when it came to protecting me from her then husband, and ESPECIALLY failed AFTER I finally dared to seek help because THEN, I could no longer tell myself “mom didn’t know.” The betrayal was deep and intense once she knew–and did nothing which essentially allowed the abuse to continue. Even when my then stepfather’s father came to our house the day after I told, with a gun and threatening to shoot me, mom put me in the nearest room with a lock (the bathroom) and then stood in front of the door saying “you’ll have to shoot me first” while other relatives got him out of the house, mom stayed. I was underage still so I did too.
    You are right in that the damage it does is incredible. To this day, I have doubts as to whether she truly DID believe me because how can you believe your child who tells you something so horrific and then that night, climb into bed beside the person who did it?
    Maybe you and I should write a book together–you do the therapist part and I do the survivor part, including the court case, my abuser’s recent death etc. Like you have nothing else to do, LOL!!!

    • February 13, 2018 at 8:51 am

      Thanks so much for writing. I apologize that my quote wasn’t exact. Unfortunately, I have a bunch of stories from clients and readers that bunch together in my memory. Each story however, deserves it’s own accurate telling. You are a very good writer and could and should write a book!

      You do a heartbreakingly beautiful job of detailing the nuance that I think so many people might miss. The love that your mother showed you and the way she put you and your sibs first in all but this one way.

      While I don’t know her, I have heard many client’s families who have bought into the myth that all sexual misconduct is somehow the woman’s fault. This keeps them stuck because they blame themselves. Not protecting your children, I don’t know if I can ever fully understand. Again thank you for your commentary and sharing your story so well.

      • February 13, 2018 at 8:41 pm

        I can imagine that when you work with so many people–and then also get comments in response to your articles, sometimes things DO get all bunched together in a sense! No worries, as I said, you did get the gist of her reaction.
        My therapist has said I need to get in touch with my anger at her for not protecting me. I have said for years “I don’t HAVE any anger” and I have believed that — until recently.
        I know even up until my former stepfather died recently, my mom thought nothing of going to his house that he and my (half) brother shared and on holidays, the whole family would gather there. This would include my mom’s current husband who she’s been married to for about 20 years now. If that wasn’t bad enough, when she would drive the hour and a half each way on Saturday or Sunday each weekend, she’d ask/expect me to go with her AND I was so shut down that I eventually started going fairly regularly SOLELY to see my sister’s kids because she’d bring them over there so everyone could visit at once. I finally got brave enough through therapy to tell mom that it’s ALWAYS been uncomfortable and triggering for me to go there just to be able to see my siblings, niece and nephews as well as her and that I wasn’t going to do it any longer. She said she totally understood–but then would turn around a few weeks later and ask me again. I feel guilty even for that because as an adult now, I should have been able to say no and set a boundary from the beginning! And not doing so probably contributed to the family’s denial and sense of “it wasn’t that bad.” They never SAID those words to me but that has long been the impression they give. No one talks about it and once, I got brave enough to ask my mom if she wanted to know what happened because she never asked what he did, how long it lasted etc and she said she couldn’t handle hearing that because it would crush her. Yet I had to LIVE it!
        Thanks for your kind comments on my writing. It has been a “saving grace” for me for a long time now. I started writing poetry as a kid and have written many–as well as some specifically commissioned one’s I was asked to read at weddings, an anniversary celebration and for the birth of a child. I’ve also written a play specifically for a Valentine’s banquet put on by a church and have had a few minor publications.

  • March 13, 2019 at 9:24 am

    I feel so helpless. I am a grandmother now and been watching my granddaughter full-time from 6 weeks till 3 years old. I saw signs of abuse but until recently realized and reported the abuse of my daughter’s husband and the father of my granddaughter. My daughter says I am crazy and thinks somehow I wanted this to happen. I am afraid for my granddaughter s safety. He is mentally physical and sexual abusive to her. How can I help her and my daughter to get help and be safe from him? I reported it but still she defends him threating me with a law suit for false allegations. For me I will never regret speaking out and I hope someday soon she will take steps to keep her daughter safe. It is simply a horrible loss for me and still I know the suffering goes on.


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