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#311984 - 11/27/09 04:29 PM Help for my son abused by stepfather
LMBrim Offline


Registered: 11/27/09
Posts: 5
Hi, I am hoping that maybe here I can find someone who can offer some advise or general help. My son was sexually abused by my husband (stepfather to son)from the time he was 12 til 16. He came forward to me this spring when he was 17, but was too afraid to prosecute. He went into counseling, but said that he would recant because he did not want to make this public and thought stepfather would hurt either himself or me. He refused counseling over this summer. I confronted husband who admitted abuse. He was told to get counseling but that if my son ever felt he could go to the police I would stand by son. Husband waited until my son turned 18 in October and then he left the home. My son is now feeling safer and would like to go to the police, but is afraid that nothing will happen to his stepfather. He thinks that this will only enrage the stepfather and make him want to hurt us in any way he can. I am divorcing my husband and my son feels that this man will make that a mess and we will be left with nothing.I need some positive advice to give him that prosecution & conviction is possible and that he will be ok. Does anyone have any statistics for these cases or support groups in the Toledo, Oh area or any info to help me help my son.


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#312019 - 11/27/09 06:42 PM Re: Help for my son abused by stepfather [Re: LMBrim]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
LMBrim,
I am terribly sorry this has happened to you both. I would only suggest that you get a lawyer and present your story and see what the laws are in your state. A civil suit if nothing else might keep him from leaving you with nothing and get you some justice.


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#312022 - 11/27/09 06:52 PM Re: Help for my son abused by stepfather [Re: LMBrim]
catfish86 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 821
Loc: Ohio
First of all, thank you for believing your son. There is a lot of baggage in coming forward with this. I was unable to as an 8yo boy. Although my mother was able to rescue us, she never really knew what the perp did to us. The perp died unpunished with other young boys in the home. Someone still in contact with the guy said he collected em like strays. I grew up in slums also which put me face to face with a lot. I will give you some unvarnished truth.

First of all, even if you don't go to the police, there is danger for you. Fact of the matter is, if you do not go to the police, he will abuse again. The abusers tend to do it until they are locked up. From the fact that he was able to hide it from you for so long shows he is capable.

Second, if you do go to the police in this situation, there is a chance the police will view you as positioning yourself for a divorce. That is NOT A REASON to avoid the police, just a reality you have to face. It is very likely that the more evidence and willing a witness you have, the more likely you are to be believed. In that vein, ask your son if the stepfather ever took pictures or did things in a room where a camera (web or other) was present regardless if it was turned on. You should snoop computers, FLASH DRIVES (especially ones with passwords), videos/DVDs, etc. You'd be surprised how often these perps record or keep souvineers. The police can also review his records for child porn. It is VERY LIKELY that he has child porn. One easy trick is to set windows to show "hidden files", if you need more infoo on this, PM me and I will help you.

Third, anyone afraid of going to prison, especially as a molester, is dangerous to everyone involved. I don't know your attitude on guns but the police are only minutes away when seconds count. All the patriotism aside, they will not truly protect you. You should obtain a Concealed Carry permit. Contact your sheriff (I am an Ohio resident), you can get a temporary immediately until you can take a class. Buy a handgun, the largest caliber you can handle and conceal ANYWHERE it is legal. My personal favorite is the Ruger LCP which is very small and concealable, shoots the .380 ACP which has enough stopping power but is only accurate at 20-30 ft depending on you. Then, go to a range and practice at least once a month and although your son is not eligible for a CCW, he should know how to handle a gun if he is at home alone. But also stress to you son in doing so that HE still has a life ahead of him, don't throw it away by taking revenge yourself, the police will still arrest and charge you or your son for assault and it always seems you will get hammered.

If your son is forceful in pressing this, the police will take him seriously. I can't stress 2 points to you enough, if you do not go to the police, it is likely another child will be abused and you are still in danger.

Now some other issues you will face. A common mind twist of abusers works on the fact that an abused child's body will respond to stimulation. That means (excuse me if this hurts or is gross) your son likely experienced erections, orgasms and probably enjoyed some or even all of the contact. THAT DOES NOT MEAN HE WANTED IT OR CONSENTED! You may face that question from your son himself and you must not let it slide unopposed (but be understanding and patient in confronting it, not belligerent).

Another thing is that, although every effort is likely to be made to keep your sons name out of the public eye (and newspapers are generally a LOT more cooperative with this than they used to be), it is a possibility others will find out. He should be prepared for it. Obviously, everybody knows Shawn Hornbeck was sexually abused when he was snatched and held for four years. Nobody other than complete idiots would ridicule him for this.

A good counselor can be essential with all of this. When I recovered memories of my abuse that were surpressed for 34 years, I had to tell my wife because there were obvious signs that something had happened to me. She accepted me and was understanding when I said I didn't need counseling. Well, she did ask that I see the doctor about my problems (I was unable to perform). After discussing some of my meds which can cause that, I also disclosed what had happened. When I speak, I close my eyes, wince and cringe and my breathing changes. I told him I didn't need counseling. He looked at me and said, I remember you broke your leg playing sports a couple years ago, while you were laying there did you ever consider just going home and setting it yourself. I gave him a look like he was stupid. The doctor said, Exactly, you have been injured every bit in your mind as if your leg is broken. Don't think you can heal from this without help. I have been going to counseling and with a loving, supportive wife, I am recovering to be able to function.

Another thing to be very aware of for your son and counseling: Lines have been crossed with him that should never be crossed which creates confusion on a number of levels. Although almost all abusers were themselves abused, it is not true that all abused persons become abusers. BUT, the number one difference in the two groups is that those that become abusers did not seek or get help.

In any event, I will be praying for you.



Edited by catfish86 (11/27/09 06:55 PM)
_________________________
God grant me
The Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

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#312033 - 11/27/09 08:02 PM Re: Help for my son abused by stepfather [Re: catfish86]
DJsport Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1742
Bravo to you for supporting your son.

I agree with catfish the lines and many of them have been crossed for your son so things will be crazy for awhile.

Freedom stated it better than I could. You may need to take the lead in prosecution. With your sons benefit in mind but realizing it will be for your good to.

We are here to support you.

Peace,
DJ

_________________________
Live to your fullest potential

Never make someone a priority if your only an option

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#312097 - 11/28/09 02:42 AM Re: Help for my son abused by stepfather [Re: DJsport]
Dusty Boy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/15/08
Posts: 280
Loc: Australia
You have received good advice in the answers already posted. Your son being worried about that man hurting you or both of you could possibly be from him threatening your son directly or by insinuation that harm may come if anybody finds out (I went through that). This is something your son can not get over on his own, you did the right thing by confronting that man and saying that you support your son. You have shown strength so continue being strong and show your son you are not afraid of this man and that may ease his mind and may encourage him to take the next step.
You would not have married this man if you knew what his intentions to your son were, so try to clear your head and think what signs you missed, perps are sneaky but if he insisted on picking up your son from sport's, ------ your son reacting in a negative way to him, ---- or him wanting to spend alone time with your son then you can add your support and become a witness if your son decides to prosecute. But more importantly you can validate your son by voicing your doubts on these signs (validation was important to me). You have hindsight now do make the most of it.
Another thing you can do is start making inquiries about good therapist's that deal with CSA and survivor groups. You could also do with some therapy yourself, on how to help your son or to just have support this will be a trying time for both of you. Maybe get your son involved in therapy that way, (my son in law went to marriage counseling to help my daughter but refused to go to deal with his problems, he is now addressing his problems).
Another thing is documentation - dates, times and locations, like what date did you confront him, where and what time or what part of the day, also what was said. If your son tells you anything, asap document the details, keep a file on your computer and a back up on a usb drive or in a note book.

Dusty


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#312101 - 11/28/09 04:27 AM Re: Help for my son abused by stepfather [Re: Dusty Boy]
king tut Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 2466
Loc: UK
I don't quite agree with catfish in some respects, although yes it is entirely possible that the abuser may abuse again until he is locked up this should not be used as a reason to guilt you into thinking that it is your duty to go to the police. I don't want to cause a massive debate on this. It is important that you take the steps important for your sons recovery first and foremost, and although there is social responsibility in reporting this you should never feel forced or guilted into doing so. It must be your sons free choice.

Also catfish suggests many intrusive questions for you to ask your son. Be careful not to cause harm to your son by doing this. You are a loving mother but at the end of the day it is very easy for you to get your words or phrases muddled. In fact often the most well meaning things said can be taken in a bad way by a person who has been abused- just because you probably do not quite understand the full emotional turmoil of his situation. Instead, it would be a better idea for a counsellor to approach your son with these questions- you would approach the therapist and make clear that this is the purpose so that confidentiality situations are layed out before sessions begin (that the info is being acquired for a purpose).

Now, sure, if a man fears getting put away he may be irrational- but i don't think it is good to work yourself up over this becoming afraid and arming yourself up with guns and rocket launchers as catfish suggests (i'm so sorry catfish i am not having a go at you just that you wrote most of this stuff). How would that help? this kind of situation happens all the time, people are always under investigation and at least i haven't heard of any situation where the abuser comes back in irrational revenge to get pay back- that is not very likely- how many times have you heard of that happening?? I can't pretend to know about the police in your area, but don't be afraid. Maybe the abuser wants you to be afraid? don't let him have that power over you, abuse is all about power.

I will make a note here. It is important for your son to see that abuse is about power. It is sexual, sure, but it is about the power and control the abuser feels over the child. (we can have a debate about this and i could write a couple of essays to "prove" this but for now i will leave it floating). So the point relevant here is that your son can feel empowered by convicting his abuser, and not only that but empowered by fighting through the fear of the abuser. It is about "breaking the power of the abuser". There are many people who's abusers are long dead, who died maybe 20yrs ago, and still the abuser holds this great power over them. Affecting our day to day lives in many ways. It is not their fault, it is part of recovery to get through this. Standing up and not being afraid, not letting the abuser to control your life even after he is gone (by forcing yourself to the shooting range every day) is part of recovery.

So back to what i was saying. There is no point blowing it out of proportions (along the wrong vector- sure this will probably be the hardest thing your son has to ever emotionally face in his life- but many fears are only fears- it doesn't make them unimportant, but you need to act as his "regulator" in dealing with these very difficult things). I also think buying a handgun is a silly idea. Two reasons, this sense of danger is hopefully simply a sense, and a feeling of safety can not be bought with a gun. In fact, some people have moved countries to try to escape the memories of their abuse only to find that actually feelings do not have a (purely) geographical basis- they can not be run away from, but must be dealt with and worked through. Furthermore, you can live a normal life, this isn't the end of the world, you don't have to start going to a shooting range or build a bomb shelter in your basement. That's bad advice.

These family cases don't usually go into newspapers at all, they are held confidential. The case of Shawn Hornbeck was a public case from the beginning because he was abducted and a great search took place with him returning many years later- followed by consenting TV interviews and documentaries. This is not like that. I think Catfish was just demonstrating that it is not such a social taboo anymore to be a survivor of abuse, but i thought i would just make the analogy clear. Rest assured that services these days handle these cases very gently and confidentially.

And maybe i am being picky, but although "Although almost all abusers were themselves abused, it is not true that all abused persons become abusers." is true, the following "BUT, the number one difference in the two groups is that those that become abusers did not seek or get help." is not a statement of accuracy (not 100% so), it sure often is the deciding factor for some.

Lewis

_________________________
"...until lambs become lions"

I love you, little lewis, and i will never leave you. We are the same. You brighten my day, and i will make sure that i brighten yours. Hugs and kisses.


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#312102 - 11/28/09 04:35 AM Re: Help for my son abused by stepfather [Re: king tut]
king tut Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 2466
Loc: UK
So now back to your post.

You are asking for statistics. I think that is not the most perfect way to go. You can try to reassure your son that his father will get prosecuted. But the fact of the matter is you don't know that. Don't make promises or hint at promises that you can't keep or he will hate you for it. He may have to go through all of this emotional difficulty of the court system and his father may walk free, or will get a very short sentence. Any sentence, in my opinion, for child abuse is not long enough anyway.

You want to be able to tell your son that everything is going to be ok? Again, it is about phrasing. You can't do that. You CAN tell your son that you can't promise that everything is going to be ok (because you can't- be truthful), but with work and time you may be able to make progress on this together and hopefully find some justice. You can't give your son certainties, only possibilities, which is why statistics seem appealing, but ultimately uninspiring and damaging to his sense of worth if the case takes a turn for the worse.

That being said, i don't know the statistics, and if they are very good maybe it could be used as a STARTING point in helping your son build up his confidence for the court system. You could PM (private message) KEN SINGER on this site who may know, or better still inquire locally in your area at your law courts.

So lets get down to the basics of it, you want to assure him that "prosecution and conviction is possible". It may be possible, it depends on the evidence found. The fact that your husband already openly admitted the abuse to you means he may be more susceptible to pleading guilty even with little evidence. "Prosecution and conviction" may be about punishing the abuser and stopping him from abusing again, but more importantly it should be about what your son can gain from it in his healing. When you get down to the detail of it, although it would be a grave injustice to take him to court and he gets away with it (and damging to your son), many of the things your son needs for his healing: the sense of empowerment and opening communications and getting help, would be obtained even from a failed court battle. But that situation shouldn't arise since a legal asdvisor will advise you whether or not to take it to court- probabilties of conviction etc. I'm not saying that going through the court system would be a good thing, it would be difficult for him even though things are in place now to make it easier for young people to cope. It is a big decision, but it is ultimately his decision, and not one that he has to do alone. There are resources. This site is a good start, but there are legal advisors that can give you a clear idea of what to expect and review your case and tell you if they think you should take it to court.

There are also books made just for this purpose. There are books for young survivors of childhood sexual abuse going through the court system- what to expect, how it will go etc. Maybe some people here have some suggestions- maybe you could post a question in the book section of this site? i know i have looked at a few but can't recall the titles.

For your son there are many books which are listed on this site (i think there are links from the homepage) on recovery and many people would probably like to suggest some. Your son could also visit this site.

There is a sub-forum on this site in which you could ask about survivor groups in your area- it may get more attention that way.

Lewis

_________________________
"...until lambs become lions"

I love you, little lewis, and i will never leave you. We are the same. You brighten my day, and i will make sure that i brighten yours. Hugs and kisses.


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#312112 - 11/28/09 08:49 AM Re: Help for my son abused by stepfather [Re: king tut]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Check out the statutes of limitations laws in the state/province where the abuse took place. That will give you an idea of how much time you have to initiate legal action (civil or criminal).

Most importantly, abusers are bullies. Like all bullies, they threaten and intimidate victims until the victim fights back. He has so much more to lose than you and your son do. He can lose his freedom, reputation, job, etc. The laws are certainly on your side and you have much more power than you think you might.

It may help to speak with someone from a local sexual assault counseling agency or even domestic violence program to get additional support.

The ball is really in your court and you have more power than you think.


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#312116 - 11/28/09 10:01 AM Re: Help for my son abused by stepfather [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
catfish86 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 821
Loc: Ohio
King Tut makes some good points. Rape and sexual abuse really are about power and control. In my own case, my abuser is long dead. I am regaining a sense of control by researching the family tree, online property records,etc and will eventually travel to the site of my abuse. No, there is nobody left to shoot or beat up or even give the finger to (although peeing on his grave has occcurred to me). My wife has questioned why I want to do this. It is so that I, as a rationaly adult that he could not now do this to, will be able to be there and own that. I did turn out OK and survived.

Please also remember on the gun that King Tut lives in the UK where citizens are not even allowed to own proper kitchen knives much less guns and you can be arrested and charged for intimidating a mugger if you resist. Rocket launchers are illegal for private citizens to own in the US and also quite cumbersome. I am not suggesting you go Clint Eastwood and go on a shooting rampage. Even if you don't get a gun or a concealed carry license, part of taking back power is taking appropriate precautions. Making sure your son has a cell phone, installing an alarm system, if you are opposed to guns are valid ways of doing this. Also, pursuing criminal and civil action, although there are no guarantees, are a way of regaining power. Ken Singer is right, abusers are bullies.

Also, I did not suggest you interrogate your son, but doing an evidence collection effort is necessary if you intend to go to the police. Asking if pictures were taken and if child porn was displayed could produce some of the hardest to refute evidence. As you son feels comfortable or that it is necessary to share details, it is important that he have someone to listen. Feel free to refer him to this site. The professionals and survivors here understand his turmoil in a way that is rare.

_________________________
God grant me
The Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

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#312373 - 11/30/09 10:16 AM Re: Help for my son abused by stepfather [Re: catfish86]
LMBrim Offline


Registered: 11/27/09
Posts: 5
Thank you all so much for your replies. It is still so hard that I cried reading them and replying back....but it feels good to be here. I so want my son to "be alright" eventually and you give me hope. I understand about the power and control. My husband was always jealous of my son and remarked lots of times about how my son always came first and "oh your precious boy" . There is a part of me that feels that he abused my son because of this as a way to prove that he held the power, not I or the "precious" child. Lord only knows what actually goes through the mind of an abuser, I don't get it.
I AM afraid that this will look like "posturing" for the divorce. I am not a scorned woman looking to lash out and hurt him.....but sooooo afraid it will look that way. With no PROOF of the abuse except for my son's story, and the fact that he is 18 now, I feel that it will make prosecution harder.
I have an appointment with lawyer #1 tomorrow to talk mainly of the divorce, I have tried to find aggressive lawyers that can help in each area. I am hoping that they will at least charge him with something and he will have to fight it in court and there will be some record of it so someone else may not ever have to feel this pain. I also hope that my son can get something out of reporting this to the police, so that he knows he doesn't have to let people use & abuse him and get away with it. I have had a really hard time finding any resources here in Toledo,OH or nearby as far as a support group or a good counselor that is experienced in this. My son also only felt comfortable talking to a female therapist (whether or not that will change I don't know), but it kind of limits my chances of finding someone to help him. He also at this time is refusing to go to counseling.
My husband is a concealed weapon carrier. He has always got 1 or 2-loaded with 1 in the chamber guns on him at all times....at dinner, watching tv,in the bathroom....all the time. In addition to knives. He made the statement to me when confronted with the abuse that he would never go to jail, he would take out as many as he could on the way, but he would never go alive. He has stated things like this many times through the last few years and other people including his family have heard this. His own uncle believes that he could go "off the deep end". He wants me to get a gun as well. I have changed all the locks, garage codes, safe combination....as well as all the separation of accounts & stuff needed for the divorce. I got my son & I cell phones and his father (my 1st husband) has been a great source of support, so I have done everything I can think of to reassure my son that we are behind him all the way.
I do believe that prosecution of the abuser will benifit us both, even though my son doesn't completely see it that way. I want this man punished for what he did to my child. I want him to think twice before he attempts to do this to another child.
I have racked my brain daily to try to understand where I missed the signs of this. My husband normally could care less to have spent any time with my son, so for this to have happened for 4 years under my nose is incredible to me. For me to have been with this man in a loving relationship while this was going on makes me feel completely stupid and ignorant. And to not have been able to protect my son from this makes me feel like the worlds worst mother.
I am hoping that by trying to prosecute this abuser and hopefully getting some justice (cross fingers & pray here!)and moving forward with our lives that we can somehow get some closure. I am also hoping that I can nudge my son here to this sight, so that he can maybe talk to some teens going through it and those of you with some years beyond it to know that he will be alright.
Thank God I came across this site, and Thank God for all of you.
Bless you,
Laura


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