He loved her and she loved him
His kisses sucked out her whole past and future or tried to
He had no other appetite
She bit him she gnawed him she sucked
She wanted him complete inside her
Safe and Sure forever and ever
Their little cries fluttered into the curtains
–Ted Hughes, Crow, 1972
She loved him. Soooooooo... much. She couldn’t live without him, no, she wouldn’t survive without him. He was always there for her, showering all his attention on her. He made her feel special. He treated her like a princess. She could do anything for him.
She had no one except him but she wasn’t lonely. She didn’t need anyone else. Her dad was the only one she wanted in her life. Her teachers at school looked at her with worry in their eyes wondering why she wasn’t like the other kids in her class. Talkative, boisterous, lively, playful, she was not. The teachers knew her as a quiet, mature, soft spoken girl who did exceptionally well in her studies. But they couldn’t help but sense a quiet sadness in her. There was a calm deadness in her eyes which no one could decipher. She didn’t talk to anyone, she didn’t have any friends, she just paid rapt attention to the teachers when they were teaching, made notes and did what she was told to do.
She was unlike most teenagers but she was still a child inside. She needed protection, security and a haven where she felt safe and secure. It was home after all. Her mother had died 2 years back of cancer. So, she only had her dad. He had loved her mother too, she knew that but now he loved her just like he had loved her mother. He was everything to her.
I love my dad, what will I do without him, I have no one else. She thought to herself as she walked home back from school. She had a lot of work to do at home. She had to clean the house, wash the dishes, cook for the both of them and then get ready. Reaching home she put down her bag and started her daily chores. She was just 13 but the daily chores were not a hardship for her, she wanted to do them because it made him happy. If things were not to his liking he would get angry with her and even hit her. But that was her fault, she knew what and how he liked things, so it was her responsibility to work hard and do things his way.
Once she was done, she took a shower with the shower gel her dad had newly bought for her. He had read about it in some magazine somewhere, about how a shower gel was better than soap and made the skin so soft, tender and smooth, so she used it every night, it had a beautiful fragrance too.
She came out of the shower and got dressed in her nightie. He would be here anytime now. He was a workaholic and spent a lot of time at the office. She then went to lay the table for him. She had already eaten. He had told her he didn’t want her to wait up for him and remain hungry. She smiled. He was so good to her.
Well as usual the table looked beautiful with her dad’s favourite crockery, cutlery, fresh flowers and the food that he liked. She took a final glance at the house to make sure everything was perfect and then went to her room. She took off the covers from the bed and folded them neatly and kept them in the almirah. He didn’t like clutter. Then she took off her nightie and naked she got into bed with just the quilt over her, waiting for him to come home …to her room…to her bed…to her…
Some facts about sexual abuse
One of the most shocking and reprehensible experiences is to be sexually abused by someone who was ordained by God and society to protect you.
Some parents have used their authority to force, trick or coerce their children into having sex with them. Although the girl child has suffered a great deal, it is important to note that the boy child suffers too.
When the child’s physical boundaries are violated, his or her mind is also violated. The insidious nature of the mental abuse can be explained by using the analogy of the reactions of a deer when its eyes are exposed to the headlights of an oncoming car. The deer becomes so disoriented by the blinding light that it jumps toward the car instead of away from it–so it is with the child who has been sexually abused. Once abused, the child believes his or her body is something that others control.
Such incidents are reported in the media, but few really believe they are true. In March 2005, a case of a businessman was jailed for raping and making his daughter pregnant. He started having sex with her when she was nine years of age, and continued until she was 22 when she escaped from home.
Some father-child defilement cases registered are because of family breakdown. “They are common among single parents, where a mother leaves a child in her father’s care for a long time,” a psychologist says, adding that this kind of abuse has increased due to moral degeneration. “It is happening and sometimes by the least expected, smart and much respected people in society,” he said.
Generally, something will happen and the father will become extremely stressed. He will then be drawn to his daughter, the only one he believes loves him, and he will sexually offend against her. After this first incident, he will be disgusted with what he has done and swear to himself he will never do it again. Sexually offending is a way he releases the stress he was under but then when he realizes what he has done his stress level increases again because he has to deal with what he has done. The stress continues to build and build and then he ends up offending again. This cycle continues.
The father has maladaptive ways of coping with stress and his boundaries are blurred. Often alcohol can also blur boundaries; often when he offends the second time and so on, he will have a drink of alcohol. Most offenders are not really drunk when then offend, however, they drink enough so it can be used as an excuse. The father may drink more after the abuse as a way of coping with the fact he has sexually offended again.
Once the father has offended against his daughter he will work very hard a creating a relationship with the victim to try to ensure she doesn’t tell. He will work at continuing to distance the relationship between the daughter and everyone else.
The father may use verbal or physical threats to get the victim to keep the secret or he may make promises of buying her things or taking her on holidays etc.
You also need to educate your child (age appropriately) about sexual abuse. Here are some of the warning signs that sexual abuse may be happening. Now please note these are just common indicators, just because there may be signs showing through doesn’t mean sexual abuse is happening. In the same way, sexual abuse may be happening without any of the warning signs.
- Difficulty sitting or walking
- Torn, stained, or bloody underwear
- Genital/anal itching, pain, swelling, or burning
- Genital/anal bruises or bleeding
- Frequent urinary tract or yeast infections
- Pain while urinating
- Sexual Transmitted Disease
- Chronic unexplained sore throats
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss/gain
- Frequent stomach aches
- Frequent headaches
- Frequently tired
- Low self-esteem
- Avoidance of people
- Sexual advances or inappropriate touching
- Sexual drawings
If you suspect sexual abuse, seek help immediately, do not wait.