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#68291 - 01/05/07 11:20 AM What's normal?
womanwithquestions Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/05/07
Posts: 3
Loc: Upstate New York
I don't know who to ask about this, and I'm hoping someone here can help. At what age should a boy no longer sleep in the same bed with a male relative when another bed is available? Also, I keep reading that a sign of sexual abuse is age-inappropriate knowledge of or interest in sex, sexual organs, etc. Since I don't have children, I have no clue what is age appropriate and what is not. Where can I find out more specific information? Thanks.


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#68292 - 01/05/07 01:55 PM Re: What's normal?
Nobbynobs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 1286
Loc: Toronto
Hi WWQ and welcome. I'm not sure of the answers to your question about the signs of abuse, although I think one of the admins should have a resource for you, but to answer your first question, as a father be extremely uncomfortable with any male relative sleeping in the same bed as my son. At any age. Curling up on the sofa with grandpa is one thing, but in a bed? No.

Hope that helps.

_________________________
When you go up to the bell, ring it! Or don't go up to the bell.

- Mel Brooks

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#68293 - 01/05/07 02:54 PM Re: What's normal?
sweet-n-sour Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Dear Womanwithquestions:
"At what age should a boy no longer sleep in the same bed with a male relative when another bed is available?" This is an excellent question and one that even if you find an answer to outside of this forum, I hope that you will share with us.
Just smack dab after my H's disclosure this past summer, I had learned our young son was involved in some "discovery" type of play with his friends. I'm sure most can relate to the timing of this and how H and I reacted. I immediately consulted the pediatrician and he assured me that what had occured was typical for that age. Once H and I began therapy I also ran what had happened past the therapist and he agreed with the pediatrician. Just after speaking to the pediatrician however, I did notify the parents of the boys that were involoved suggesting that more adult supervision was needed. In addition, I wanted them to be aware just in case one of the boys was being harmed by someone older and in turn acting out with their friends. One of the mothers admitted that her son had knowledge far beyond his years about s^# and that she had consulted her pediatrician regarding this issue months prior to him befriending my son. I'm not sure what the situation was; but by the end of the summer she withdrew her son from the school that he and my boy attended and has done her best to keep our kids from playing. I just pray her motivation was not to prevent any further questions that I might ask regarding this. The best I can do at this point is keep my eyes/ears open and if there is any further suspicion, speak to child protective services. There is not much any of us can do about the yesterday's in life, but I'll be darned if I'll allow any child to be harmed in the light of today.
Thanks for bringing this up Womanwithquestions.
Sincerely,
s-n-s

_________________________
"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

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#68294 - 01/05/07 03:15 PM Re: What's normal?
Nobbynobs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 1286
Loc: Toronto
I was in a Toys R Us one time and a woman came in with two little boys. She was wearing enormous sunglasses but they were unable to hide the bruises around her eyes. Everything about the way this woman and her children were acting screamed that they were being abused. The boys wanted to go look at the trucks and that, but she had to steer them away from the "good" toys to the section where they had the stuff that was being sold at liquidation.

And I did nothing. All the people whispering behind her back to each other did nothing. The Toys R Us employees did nothing. She bought her two cheap little toys and left without saying a word. This, in a store that prides itself on making children happy. We all sat there like cowards and did nothing.

I still feel an overwhelming sense of shame about that day, so I know how it feels to suspect that a child you care about might be being abused. I just wanted to let you guys know how glad I am to hear that you are taking an active role in helping out the kids around you.

_________________________
When you go up to the bell, ring it! Or don't go up to the bell.

- Mel Brooks

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#68295 - 01/05/07 04:21 PM Re: What's normal?
sis Offline
Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 195
Loc: Arizona
WWQ,
Being a female survivor and having males in my family who are also survivors i believe everybody is suspect and nothing would surprise me. If you are getting a fealing that something isn't right, as in an older man sleeping with a child, especially when there is another bed available, then follow your gut feeling and if you believe that there may be something going on then it is your responsiblity to do something. Please do not turn your back on a situation that needs attention, especially when it involves inoccent children. Yes, one of the signs of sexual abuse is inapropriate knowledge of sex and acting out sexually. Also you might see a strange attachment between the abuser and the child. Pay attention!!!
I may be stretching here but also if you do have a situation on your hands and you have a child disclose anything to you then you make it your job to find that child a safe place to be away from the alleged abuser. Abusers threaten to hurt and often do hurt there victims so they will be afraid to talk. Children need to trust that somebody cares and will help them. I agree with nobby but i want to take it a step further an abuser dosn't have to be a male. A female can be an abuser too. so, as far as any one sleeping with a child, that situation needs to be investigated, period and appropriate boundaries set for the safety of the children. Sometimes god sends help for the children through other people if they would just open there eyes and not give up when the going gets tough and the going does get tough when you are faced with this type of situation. People would prefer to act as if nothing is happening and if they finally agree that yes, something is happening then it's not that bad. That attitude is crap. Child hood sexual abuse (CSA) is the worst form of child abuse with the worst life long after-effects than any other abuse. If you want to learn more then read some posts from some of the survivors here, it might give you an understanding of just how horific CSA actually is. Thank you for having the guts to ask questions and i hope this helps. light and luv, cathy


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#68296 - 01/05/07 04:24 PM Re: What's normal?
beccy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Wow, that's such a good question!


it's a difficult one to answer too.....there are certain men AND women in my own family who I would always trust to share a bed with my own children, really whatever their age. I know for example that I would always be able to trust my mum, dad, brother and sister. I know they would never ever even dream of doing anything wrong/inappropriate, or misshandle any possible awkward situation. Other than my own situation/feelings on this, I really feel I cannot say any general answer. Nowadays i find myself mostly suspicious of everyone and anyone, so i suppose knowing the truth with any given person, can be a difficult thing to achieve. it's so hard to get a child to talk too and so ensuring total safety is a stressful thing.....


I hope that you can find truth/solution to this for the child it is you're worried about.


peace
Beccy


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#68297 - 01/05/07 05:31 PM Re: What's normal?
ScottyTodd Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
WWQ - Sorry you've been placed in this situation; however, now that you are there the first suggestion I would share is to gather information such as: (1) going to http://www.stopitnow.com which has several answers to the questions you ask; (2) you may try researching through Google or other search engines the topic "male childhood sexual abuse"; (3)you may want to try http://www.SaferSociety.org for books, pamphlets, etc. There are several other options you can use to gather the information you need. Please keep posting and let us know how things are developing for you. BTW - what is the age of the child and the age of the person with whom they share the bed? Relationship (ie. brother, uncle, etc.)?

Howard

_________________________
If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

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#68298 - 01/05/07 08:41 PM Re: What's normal?
Hauser Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
I would like to give a concrete example of what I think any of us would think IS appropriate so that it may offer a better perspective of this grey area:

I was visiting a good friend recently and his 6yo son passed out while sitting on my lap curled up with a blanket and watching TV with me and his Dad. That was cool cuz he's barely heavier than a cat you know? But there is NO WAY I would sleep in a bed with him, ESPECIALLY without even his Dad being around.


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#68299 - 01/05/07 09:32 PM Re: What's normal?
womanwithquestions Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/05/07
Posts: 3
Loc: Upstate New York
What a great help all of you are! I appreciate your thoughtful replies. It seems as if the rule is to have a high index of suspicion (never a problem for me) without jumping to conclusions. I will check out the recommended resources.

A little more background and a few more questions: The adult in this case is the grandfather, and the child--let's call him Nicholas--is my 8-year-old nephew. Nicholas's parents are divorced but get along well and live close together, near Nicholas's grandparents. Thus the child shuttles from one household to another, including his grandparents' house, depending on his parents' work schedules, holidays, etc. He is well cared for and loved at all three homes, and there are no drug or alcohol problems in the picture.

So why the worry? To start, it seems as if Nicholas is too old to be sleeping with his grandfather. During his visits, Grandma (sometimes? always?) sleeps in a spare bedroom, where I think Nicholas should be. I know that Grandpa and Nicholas are close--the grandparents have taken him on trips and really helped raise him--but this makes me uncomfortable. (And one responder said that an "unnatural attachment" could be a red flag.) After all, age 8 1/2 is awfully close to 9, and 9 definitely seems too old for a child to be sleeping with an adult when space is not a problem.

Grandpa was himself molested as a child. I don't know how long it went on or how extensive the abuse was--only that the abuser was a male teacher and that it happened more than 50 years ago. I read that it's a myth that abused children repeat the cycle, but that most abusers were themselves abused, so I'm not sure whether this should be considered a risk factor.

As for the knowledge of/interest in sexuality issue, Grandpa is having surgery to widen his urethra, and he apparently explained the procedure to Nicholas. Was that necessary? Grandma is amused that Nicholas is "fascinated" by the idea that they're going to "drill a hole in it," which suggests that Nicholas is continually talking/asking about it. Is this normal? Again, it just makes me uneasy.

Finally--and if you made it this far, thanks!--both parents are aware of everything I outlined above (except that I'm not sure Nicholas's mother knows that Grandpa was sexually abused), and they seem fine with the sleeping arrangements and so on. I'm in another city hours away, so I'm getting only a partial picture. Is it fair for me to draw ANY conclusions based on what little I see?

A few last questions: If Grandpa were a pedophile, would I have seen a pattern of this over the years--attempts to put himself in contact with children, etc.? And is it true that pedophiles don't or can't have healthy adult sexual relationships? He is in a decades-long, happy marriage, and in the past Grandma has mentioned their active sex life (don't worry--not in any detail and in an appropriate context).

I'll be visiting Nicholas, his father/stepmother/mother/stepfather, and the grandparents soon. If I can speak with Nicholas alone, what can I ask him to find out whether my concerns have any validity without giving the impression that I'm making accusations? For the record, I'm close to Grandpa and have no personal axe to grind here. I even feel guilty about my suspicions, but I don't want to ignore them.

Thanks again.


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#68300 - 01/05/07 09:45 PM Re: What's normal?
Hauser Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
Somehow the subject of proper boundaries need to be discussed with the boy. I'm not going to try to articulate what you should do with this additional info, but my GUT feeling says that that boy needs to know that it's ok to say "No" if he's uncomfortable and that if someone does certain things (like touching private parts etc) that he needs to tell his parents. That and to not blindly obey someone just because they're an adult.

WWQ, In my time here I've come to realize that one of the worst problems about childhood sexual abuse is that MANY parents FAIL to teach their children about proper boundaries/touch and that if something DOES happen, TO TELL.

Has this boy been taught this in this regard, do you know?


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