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moomoo

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I have just finished reading the 'sticky' post about child abuse...

This is because today when my partner was dropping the kids back to their mother the youngest girl said that their stepfather often wore a sarong with nothing underneath and allowed it to drop off.

She also said that he deliberately 'flashed' them (his bottom)

I was not in the car when the child reported these things, but I do believe the child.

The older girl was denying everything - telling the younger girl to shut up and that it wasn't true.

I am quite concerned.

About a year ago the littlest girl reported that the stepfather was 'flipping the bird' to them - their father confronted their mother and apparently that put an end to the behaviour --- and now this has come up.

I am interested to know what you guys think.

I am thinking about talking to the girls myself - making sure that they have told their mum what is going on.
At this point it really is her responsibility right? She is on the front line so to speak...

I hope you guys can help me understand this situation better so I can help my stepdaughters.

Thank you.
 

David Baxter

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That's one possibility, depending on your relationship with their mother, but it might have negative repercussions for the child.

In most jurisdictions, it should be reported to the Children's Aid Society / Child Protection Services for investigation. Some areas make that mandatory. My advice would be to strat there, frankly, if the child's report seems credible to you.
 

Daniel

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I am thinking about talking to the girls myself - making sure that they have told their mum what is going on.
At this point it really is her responsibility right? She is on the front line so to speak

The problem is you really don't know the mother, and there is no way for you to verify that she takes the appropriate actions in an immediate manner. If she has some unhealthy emotional dependence on the guy, she may throw the whole incident under the rug, even if she was inclined to overcome some of her initial denial. So I would agree with reporting it to the Department of Children and Families (or whatever it is called in your area).
 
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moomoo

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Thanks for your responses, I'm so glad you're available to help me.

I was thinking that if their mum doesn't address this behaviour properly then it would be time to take the matter further -- ie call the professional agencies in...

It's important to my partner and myself that we don't over-react and frighten and hurt the children more.

I don't know their mum well at all but I do think she deserves a chance to put things right.

Right now the behaviour by the stepdad is fairly mild (right?) -- I am unsure what it means to be honest.
I know he is being inappropriate - but I know this person even less well than I know the mother!

The main fear that my partner and I have for the girls is that the sexual behaviour will escalate...

I am hoping he will back off once he knows at least one of the children is reporting him, but of course the children both told about the 'flipping bird' incident and although he stopped that behaviour it didn't stop the new allegations...

Trouble is I am not knowledgeable about this type of abuse, at this point I just hope their mum will step in.
 

Daniel

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Personally, I would definitely report it. The mother does not have the professional skills to investigate/uncover past or potential sexual abuse, and it seems very unlikely she would dump this guy.

Flashing is certainly not rape, but a person accused of flashing a child needs to be professionally investigated. On a related note:

A 40-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday in Huhudi near Vryburg for allegedly exposing himself to his 16-year-old stepdaughter, North West police said.

Spokesperson Immanuel Reetsang said on Wednesday that the girl had returned home from school on Monday when her stepfather followed her to her room.

"The girl went to her bedroom upon arrival from school and her stepfather followed her, he touched her breast and private parts and allegedly showed the girl his private parts," Reetsang said.

The girl managed to get away and went to the neighbours who called the police and helped her to open a case.

The man will appear in the Vryburg magistrate's court soon on charges of indecent assault.

IOL: News for South Africa and the World

So concerns for future sexual abuse do seem rational, and I think it's better to be safe than sorry.
 

Daniel

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Also:

Children living in stepfamilies or with single parents are at higher risk of physical or sexual assault than children living with two biological or adoptive parents, according to several studies co-authored by David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center.

Girls whose parents divorce are at significantly higher risk of sexual assault, whether they live with their mother or their father, according to research by Robin Wilson, a family law professor at Washington and Lee University.

"All the emphasis on family autonomy and privacy shields the families from investigators, so we don't respond until it's too late," Wilson said. "I hate the fact that something dangerous for children doesn't get responded to because we're afraid of judging someone's lifestyle."

Abuse more a risk in non-traditional families - USATODAY.com (November 17, 2007)

Failure to report known or suspected cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation is a criminal offense. Keep in mind that, if you are a service provider, failure to report known or suspected abuse can result in losing your job and/or possible legal action. When in doubt, report it; it is always better to err on the side of caution.

State of Florida

"Reasonable cause to suspect abuse or neglect" does not entitle the prospective reporter to weigh the evidence and make a determination of whether or not abuse occurred.

MEA - Legal Resources - Duty to report Child Abuse

When in doubt, report.
 
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moomoo

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Well my partner rang the kids mother. ( I know you guys said to report, and we may still - but we felt it was best to discuss things with the mother first)

It did not go well, to say the least. (DH tape recorded it)

She was incredibly defensive, saying that they are all often naked.

They said they all walk naked (including the kids) from the bathroom to their bedrooms.

She kept saying that my partner had "A problem" that he needed to get sorted out.

THEN she put her boyfriend on the phone who also kept saying that DH had "a problem" and "issues" and that if DH took his accusations any further that he would go to the school where DH works and ruin his life.

BM was in the background the whole time going on about what an idiot my partner is...

Boyfriend finished off with a tirade of abuse and hung up...

Then they called twice, DH didn't answer. So boyfriend left a message...

In it he said that DH was gutless, had no balls, didn't know how to take care of his family and that he was a very weak person.... He also said that if DH had any balls he would meet him (boyfriend) face to face and fight him "like a man"

Bear in mind that DH is a 5th Dan in Karate and a 1st Dan in Judo, weak is the last thing he is... In my opinion a weaker man would give in to his impulse to fight when provoked.

DH is in control of himself 100% of the time. That is true strength in my opinion.

But I digress.

I am totally shocked by the response - I though BM would be sensible at least.

These are very low-class people, I feel sorry for my stepdaughters.
 

David Baxter

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I'm sorry you had to go through all this but really this is exactly why it is generally better to report concerns to the CAS and let them handle it.
 
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i speak from experience it is easier to deny accusations about someone you love being inappropriate than acknowledging them and having to do something!

calling her was giving her the choice do you want to deal with this and the consequences that it brings or do you want to get mad and deny it and just go on with your life! said that way it doesn't seem to be such a hard question to answer but in my case i was the little girl that went and spoke to my principal and my school counselor about the incidents and they called home to ask if everything was okay at home! had they called child protection services the turn out of those events would have been different! and much more constructive

i am not saying that the mother is doing anything bad her reaction is normal in some situations but the thing is believing that you are putting your children in a tough situation is pretty hard so it is evidently easier to deny it and confront those who say anything about that possibility
 

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