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#456420 - 12/08/13 11:18 PM Mom seeking insight from male survivors
amom Offline

Registered: 12/08/13
Posts: 2
I am hoping some male survivors can help me know how I can most help my five year old son. In other words, what would they want their parents to do if they were our son.
Here is the situation. There were two times he was molested. They were both by the same seven year old. The boy is in our carpool, close neighbors, church, school but only wanted to play with my son within the last two weeks. The first time was inappropriate behavior in the church bathroom during a scout meeting and the second was in the 7 yr olds bathroom and involved oral genital in a way that I don't believe is age appropriate "doctor play". Women friends with molestation in the family have agreed with me. These were within seven days of each other. I was going to tell you what exactly happened but don't know if that is offensive to people here.

In both situations the boy told my son to go where no one would find them, secret meetings and he only wanted to play with him. Luckily the mom found them in the second meeting and mentioned it o me, I talked to my son and he disclosed what happened to him. I have a counseling apt for us in a week. I understand that technically because of the age difference they are not likely to call it molestation t my son has peed his bed 5 times and 2 daytime accidents since the first occurence. When we talked about it he said the boy would try to do it where no one no one would see and the idea of having the boy apologize (which a neighbor social worker suggeseted to both parents in our dual meeting))our son asked if we could go without him. We bought the book red light green light boundary setting book and read to kids,5 yr old was listening intently, older bro asked if we really thought they needed learn this. My dh said yes, one in six boys have to deal with someone trying this. Our 5 yr old then spoke up and said I had to deal with this.
Bottom line, we want to help our son as much as possible, what would you suggest? I spoke with two girlfriends who had sex abuse from their fathers in their families and they both felt the need to treat it as abuse, as do we. But I wanted help from the male survivors. What do you suggest? I think I have two really good counseling places that specialize in kids and such issues. What else? How about over the years as he enters puberty, adulthood etc? Thanks.

#456438 - 12/09/13 03:33 AM Re: Mom seeking insight from male survivors [Re: amom]
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5972
Loc: Sunnny, South East USA
A mom, you are in a precarious, but ultimately rewarding place. Let me help you understand, primarily, your role needs to be as his support. He is five, he needs to be confident in the decisions you AND HE make. You can empower him through your determination.

This is what I would have wanted:

First, tell law enforcement authorities, period. This site is filled with survivor's parents and siblings and friends that were told but did nothing, or worse, tried to label it as "exploration". There is a child you know that is being or has recently been sexually abused.., AND your son is being abused. You have a witness to the act in the woman that found the older boy abusing your son. Make the authorities act. You want to press charges, you want to bring your witness to testify.

Right now.., therapy, therapy, therapy. Be involved, ask questions about how the therapy will progress, and invest time and intelligence into that process. If it is progressing, let it be. Stabilizing is progress even though there seems to be little progress. Therapy can also be a trap, it may not be the first one who sees him.., nor the second, nor the fifth.

Then, make sure your son knows, through late night talks, through the inevitable acting out and the afternoon epiphanies that you love him without reservation and that you will absolutely not tolerate breaking, breaching or broaching the firm, clear boundaries you put forth. He will break them once, maybe twice, but you will not tolerate repeated offenses, then mean it. How long? Well, I am 45 and still need my mother.

I was 6 when my older sister abused me for four years. She was 4 years old when a landlord molested her. We both needed a a great deal of help we did not get... I miss her.

MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

#456440 - 12/09/13 03:50 AM Re: Mom seeking insight from male survivors [Re: amom]
gettingstronger Offline

Registered: 09/24/13
Posts: 317
Loc: Virginia
Hello amom,

I'm REALLY glad to see you caught this right away! The sooner it's dealt with, the better, believe me. It's great that you already have a counseling appointment scheduled, and better yet, with someone who apparently knows how to deal with these situations specifically. If I may offer some suggestions:

First, reassure him as gently as possible (and frequently,) that what happened is NOT his fault. He is not responsible in any way whatsoever for what happened. Also reassure him that he is not in trouble and he has nothing to worry about.

Second, if he shows anxiety about either "rocking the boat" or getting the other boy in trouble, I would downplay the specifics of that. Reassure him that the other boy did something he should not have done, and it could take a little while to get things sorted out, but don't speculate about "punishments," etc. that others in this situation could face. I mention this because a lot of survivors are reluctant to say anything for fear of getting their perpetrator into trouble. Five may be a young age for this worry, but it's important that he see he's doing the right thing by cooperating fully and trusting you. If you do press charges, there's no need to go into lots of detail with him about what that means.

Third, I would keep him in counseling as long as his counselor deems necessary. Depending on his temperament and other factors, the effects could pass relatively quickly or take longer. Only his counselor will know how long that will take. Thank heaven you caught this right away, so that could help speed healing.

Fourth, I'd keep him close, especially with your husband and any other male "father figures." They should also reassure him that what happened is not his fault, he is not in trouble, and so on, again in the most gentle way possible.

Finally, remind him over and over that you love him, that you're glad you know the truth about what happened, that he can trust you to watch out for him, and that he's still the boy you know and love that he was before this happened. Again, keep all of this low-key. No raised voices, no harsh accusations about the other boy, and no threats about what's going to happen to the other boy because of this.

This is my take, both as a survivor and as a parent. Best wishes as you work through this and get it behind you.


Edited by gettingstronger (12/09/13 04:03 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity

#456452 - 12/09/13 01:52 PM Re: Mom seeking insight from male survivors [Re: amom]
amom Offline

Registered: 12/08/13
Posts: 2
Thanks for your insights. I appreciate them. I just shared them with my husband. Here are my other concerns.
1) They go to the same school. I have an appointment with the school to set up a safety plan tomorrow. Is that enough? Is it better to move all my kids to another school? So far I haven't had the boys at school the same day except once when I went and played lunch and recess (which the boys share) and stayed to be a "mom helper" in the class.
The boys father really tried pushing that we not disclose anything to the school because their son would be stigmatized etc. I felt like he was trying to manipulate us. Our boundary is keeping our son safe and helping him build the ability to set boundaries. Now, his wife is again working with us instead and it is much better: she is keeping her son home and missed church notifying us first. How far do we take this? Switch schools, move so they are not backyard neighbors involved in the same youth groups etc? Or have vigilant watch when they are in potential same places? Meaning either my husband or I become his scout leaders etc. My kids have been great friends with the next door neighbor kids who have never had these issues between our kids and they all look out for my 5 yr old, including him in sledding etc. In other words, besides this issue, my kids are really secure in the home and neighborhood with the next door kids as their support system. My husband and I take this seriously so we are willing to make the changes or vigilance needed.

2)What added concern:
I went to pick up the carpool from school (I left my 5 yr old at home) and picked up the 7 yr old as part of the carpool. On the way home he said "I don't know why but ever since kindergarten if I tell a kid to do something they just do what I tell them." I spoke and said that was wrong and we can ask kids to do something but we never tell them because that takes away their freedom and is manipulative. He gave me big eyes and said another boy told him he wouldn't be his friend if he didn't take his place in school line. Then my daughter and I said that was wrong and against the golden rule. It makes me wonder if he was saying this to me as a type of confession or a statement that he had way too much power or just talking. I believe something had happened to him to make him know so much sex stuff at such a young age but I am also very wary of that attitude that he showed.

3)Thanks again for your insight. I really do appreciate getting the understanding of what is going on inside him. What I want to understand is what he is going through that maybe he can't verbalize or describe. That is what you can offer that a therapist won't be able to offer as much: what pain and burdens and suffering he has? When I know what he is probably dealing with internally then I can help him the right way. Is it shame? Confusion? Unempowered? Last night he was sleeping in his sister's room and I heard him tell her he gets scared at night. I heard her teaching him to think of his favorite type of animal and all the wonderful things he loves about that animal and that is how she goes to sleep at night. It was beautiful but these are things that I can't always remember from a kids perspective.

Thanks again, I know you have suffered, I am sorry for it. I only wish to prevent more of it.

#456459 - 12/09/13 03:19 PM Re: Mom seeking insight from male survivors [Re: amom]
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5972
Loc: Sunnny, South East USA
These are thought provoking questions in a difficult time of your lives, I am thankful you considering these.

On the topic of moving, I would offer that perpetrators and their offending victims are everywhere, hence one in six. You will probably not be able to move away from them. Too, the ability to be manipulated has already been taught to your son, he will carry that everywhere. Bullies and perpetrators can pick that out of a crowd. The advantage here is that some of those influences are known to you, that you can have a measure of security in that understanding as long as you find a balance between that awareness and supporting/protecting your son. Make a plan to "move" away from the abuse by creating boundaries and teaching(inculcating) those in an affirming manner to your child and to your family.

With the seven year old: An abused child that has offended is best analysed by a professional. He will struggle with all variations of psychosis, it is imperative that he begin therapy, that is not your call, but it is yours to monitor in the safety of your child(ren). Including that child in the activities of your son may create hardships for your son. Whatever he processes now has the "fisheye" of being controlled and manipulated. How much or how little involvement should be a conversation, as gettingstronger states, with " No raised voices, no harsh accusations about the other boy, and no threats about what's going to happen to the other boy because of this.". Understand what he wants, but his getting his way all the time may create an enabling environment. A child needs challenges in every other area of his maturity, this situation may teach him to be cautious, yet strong enough to be forgiving, even merciful.

Appropriate, global maturity is the goal you will need to be aware of in his development. Age appropriate activities, thoughts, feelings, sociality.., there is a wonderful "guide" by Freud's contemporary Erikson called psychosocial development. It helps to get a perspective on where a child is in his development. Be aware of his progress, give him his quiet times for maturity, ask when he is ready to answer, continue to teach him all the other things parents teach.

I would offer as well the group CODA, Co Dependents Anonymous. While their structure is domestic relationships it may help you to learn valuable tools about how to work with your child and then give him the space and time he needs to process, then be able to evaluate his progress.

My best to you and thank you.

MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

#456488 - 12/10/13 02:18 AM Re: Mom seeking insight from male survivors [Re: gettingstronger]
une.vie.d.espoir Offline

Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 178
Loc: Quebec-Canada
Hi gethingstronger, I realy very appreciate what you share whit amom.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Edited by une.vie.d.espoir (12/10/13 02:19 AM)

#456736 - 12/13/13 06:24 PM Re: Mom seeking insight from male survivors [Re: amom]
Lenny Offline

Registered: 07/19/13
Posts: 20
Loc: Kansas
In my experience the affects from abuse are experienced when it is kept a secret and when there is no counseling. Your approach and attitude is spot on. There is an open dialog between you and your son, your seeking counseling and you have talked to the offending boy's parents. You are taking steps to educate yourself and your family. Adult sufferers feel isolation and shame because steps were not taken to address the abuse. Good work and I am proud of you for doing what is in the best interest of your son.
No one can make you feel inferior without your permission
Don't take anything personally
It's not the event, it's the meaning applied to it

#456738 - 12/13/13 07:03 PM Re: Mom seeking insight from male survivors [Re: amom]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
I'm rarely in F&F, but glad you brought up the topic. First, you're an amazing mom! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You and your family are the best source of comfort, support and encouragement your son has. One of the best messages you've already given to your son is simply, "I believe you."

My next thought is kinda sticky since it involves school and church. Where are the offender's parents in all this? My opinion - and it's just an opinion - is easily said since I'm not in your situation nor am I a parent. Your family needs to make it crystal clear the offender's actions have crossed the line and you will do whatever is legally necessary to make certain it doesn't happen again. The offender's parents (and their friends) may not like it, may attempt to gloss it over to reinforce their denial, but imo your family needs to put its foot down. That's a tough one.

My opinion again, fwiw, is that this includes the carpool. Granted, the offender is only 7, but I'd have immediately advised his parents he would not be part of it, nor would you have any contact with him. If you're inclined - and this is on the cusp of not "minding your own business" - you could make it clear to the parents that under the circumstances counseling for his son, too, is mandatory.

Bring in the school and church? Absolutely. (And, I hate to be the one to say it but I've been down this road with these institutions, get a great attorney to cover yourself). Police? Yeah, that's an option. I think, however, it should be discussed with an attorney who specializes in these situations (NOT Uncle Joe who does wills or a real estate attorney).

Obviously I'm madder than hell about this whole situation, so you'll just have to bear with and take my comments with a grain of salt if I'm less than objective.

#456758 - 12/14/13 03:12 AM Re: Mom seeking insight from male survivors [Re: amom]
saint-of-Lost-Causes Offline

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 57
Loc: Michigan
I wish you were my mom! You seem like you have a great handle on the situation!
We accept the love we think we deserve!

#456776 - 12/14/13 07:01 AM Re: Mom seeking insight from male survivors [Re: amom]
pufferfish Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA

Both boys need good counseling. At their ages, probably a few sessions would accomplish what 100 sessions would accomplish if they didn't get counseling until they're 35 years old. They need good counseling by someone who knows how to do it. Don't mess with someone who is not expert. This is not the place to go with 'cheap'.

The boys need to be kept apart or it will be repeated. There is no need to inflict guilt or damage on the boy who originated the abuse. Somebody has molested him, and it may be ongoing. He needs help or it will be like a cancer in him.

Your boy needs to be gently told that 1) It won't happen again. 2) It is not a good thing to do. 3) His life isn't ruined. 4) If it does happen again then tell you so. 5) He should NOT pass it along to another boy. Additionally, you may need to make sure that he as enough healthy male relationships with healthy adult males and maybe male children. He may have some residual memories until they fade.

Wetting the bed is something that usually happens. I did it also when I was 4. My mother explained firmly to me that I was not to do that anymore and I didn't. However, she was too harsh and it caused me further guilt feelings.

My story of abuse at age 4 is called pufferfish story part 1.

It caused a lot of damage in me, including dissociative disorder. It went on for 7 or 8 months. It was not at all good.

Early and effective counseling can probably forestall permanent damage. But, as I said, get somebody who knows what they are doing, even if you have to drive 100 miles.


Edited by pufferfish (12/14/13 07:04 AM)

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