Posted by: shona | 2011/11/07


A woman friend has come forward now with allegations that when she was a toddler a family member of 13 or 14 put her hand on his penis. No other interference took place. I feel interference like this is different than when an adult man interferes with a younger person, from the aspect that the " young boy"  was probably unaware of the implications of his actions? hormones running high etc. I do feel that the victim perhaps suffers the same as when the perpetrator was an adult man? Surely one cannot approach the grown man now and take it up with him?.. something he did when he was 13 or 14?, an adult man doing things like this should be punished sure, am I correct in how I feel about this? I feel we should get help for the victim but leave the now grown up man alone?

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Our expert says:
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So this is a very late allegation against someone in your family ? After all this time, why has she "remembered" this ambiguous act ? It might have been accidental or harmless, especially from another child. WE dont know what hppened, as memories are highly unreliable, espciallyof things that happened when one was a toddler.
I wonder whether she might have been reading one or more of the dangerously misleading and factually inaccurate but populafr books which give false information about childhood sexual abuse ?
Such books often lie, suggesting falsely that a wide range of symptoms which actually have dozens of possible causes are "proof" that one has been abused (untrue ) , misrepresenting the accuracy of ANY memories of very early childhood, and give out false information about the supposed benefits of "remembering" such events, in various quack therapies. If sher had no memory at all of this event until recently, then this is probably a false memory ( see False Memory Syndrome ). Real trauma is never forgotten, even if we choose not to think about it for extended periods.
Don't assume that anything bad happened. If she urently wants encouragement, ask her when and how she came to decide she remembered these events. If this came after reading a book, article, of seeing a film, or in therapy with someone other than a fully qualified specialist psychiatrist or psychologist, encourage her to see a proper expert to explore that is actually bothering her. The current perverse fashion for Confrontation would probably be bad for both of them.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Pippa | 2011/11/07

Hi Shona,

This sounds like innocent child experimentation. When you are young you play ''Doctor, Doctor'' and look/touch each others privates. I think if it went further, then it would have been a problem. I was touched by an adult man, who clearly knew what he was doing and what he wanted from me. The teenager boy probably does not even remember the incident. I agree with you, get help for your friend, leave the guy alone. I think it was a harmless incident and your friend should pass it off as such.

Reply to Pippa
Posted by: Flower | 2011/11/07

I agree with you. I don''t think it was the intention of the 13 year old boy to cause harm. I wouldn''t confront him as an adult now.

Reply to Flower

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