A look behind the scenes

An awkward situation

We look back at an intervention by Nicole along with a colleague from the field. The case involved a report of sexual abuse.

The sexual abuse came to light because the little brother reported at school that his sister kept hurting him. Both children are very young, but this signal was immediately taken seriously by school. In conversation with the girl, she very honestly and emotionlessly indicates that she is indeed hurting her younger brother. The reason is unexpected and shocking. She herself is not so sure why she does this. She doesn’t want to do it either, but thinks she is hurting her little brother because her father is hurting her. She explains, again emotionlessly, that she has been sexually abused by her father for a very long time. The girl effortlessly named all the details of events. Then the vice squad gets involved and starts the forensic investigation.

In conversation with her parents and brother, it soon becomes apparent that the girl is not believed. The girl’s safety obviously cannot be guaranteed in the home situation so the girl is immediately placed with a neutral acquaintance. The girl let everything come over her awfully calmly. The next morning, the acquaintance taking care of the girl decides she can no longer care for the girl. The acquaintance has too much on her mind herself and wants to be there for the girl’s parents as well. This is of course a legitimate choice, but it is tough to deliver this message to the girl because another rejection in these circumstances is very distressing. We decide we need to protect the girl from these unintended destructive forces and are going to place her in a neutral, professional place. When we tell her this, somewhat reluctantly, she responds very understandingly. She shows no sign of disappointment, anger or sadness.

Both parents consent to placing the girl elsewhere, but, like her little brother, persist in denial. They cannot imagine that this could have actually happened and show no empathy toward her. At such a moment it comes in how lonely the girl must be, regardless of whether it actually happened or not. If she is not telling the truth, it is equally very sad. Somewhere the scary feeling creeps up on you that the girl is not believed because of her stoicism, but is telling the truth nonetheless. That keeps you busy. She is still so young and vulnerable. If you work at CIT you have to be able to let go quickly because it is short-term assistance. The next crisis often announces itself. It’s short and intense and most of the time we don’t know how it continues because other assistance takes over. In this case, feedback did come after some time. The father confessed and was arrested. There is much concern for the girl who still has a long way to go. What particularly touched me was the lonely road she had to travel at such a young age. Her strength to choose for herself is admirable. What a brave girl.

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