Step dad cop is sexually abusing her

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: From a 15 year old girl: i don’t know if this is wrong
current_problem: ok um… i just got a knot in my stomach thinking about this and i’m embarresed but i’m also really confussed if it is ok. Well what happened is that my step- dad touched me. He touched my breasts and my other area and rubed my lips. I don’t know if he is allowed to do that i dont know, i feel so stupid. he just kept rubbing me and feeling me and this is the 2nd time it happened. I don’t know what to do about it because i don’t know if its ok or if i should tell. I know its not rape or sexual abuse but i feel disgusted. i don’t want to think about it. but i can’t tell anyone i am too afraid if thats what i have to do. He is a police officer so no one would believe me. and my mom talked about divorce before because of marital issues but then changed her mind because of money. She says life would suck if he was not in her life. that we would have no money and that she loves him. I don’t want to ruin my mom and sister’s life because of a stupid non- important thing. I can live with it right? touching me is not so bad it could be worse right? And i am only 1 person i should think about everyone else. difise came to our house once because he hurt my sister but we lied. i kind of wished we hadnt cuz i dont like him. but im afraid of what will happen if he leaves. my mom would hate me also. i have bad dreams and am afraid of everything. I use to sleep on my moms floor because i was so afraid to be alone. i was afraid of being kidnapped or murdered and i was also afraid for my mom to be alone with him because he has guns in the house. but i stopped sleeping in there because my mom got mad and wanted privacy and alone time. Now i dont sleep well at night. Am i just over reacting. Maby he wont do it again rigt? should i just forget about it? what do i do?
Thanks, this is the only place i know of to ask this.

A: I’m so, so very sorry that you are dealing with all this. Yes, it is sexual abuse. No, it is not a stupid, not important thing. You are not making too much of this. You are not over-reacting. This is not your fault. Yes, you do need to tell – but you need to tell someone you trust and who can protect you. No, you will not be ruining your mother’s and sister’s lives. Your stepdad is the one ruining your family. Your sister has already been hurt by him. He is hurting you. He doesn’t love and respect your mother enough to leave her children alone so he is also hurting her. You already know that lying and covering up for him doesn’t make him stop. Guys like this rarely stop. It’s just going to get worse. He has guns in the house. He’s dangerous.

Your mother sounds scared. She may be angry at first when you tell because she is so scared of being alone and poor. But once she gets past that, she’ll have to look at the painful fact that someone she thought loved her turned around and hurt her children. Most moms in this situation then get angry at the right person — the guy who did it — instead of the child who finally told.

So let’s figure out what you can do: You need to think about who would be most likely to listen to you and believe you. Most schools have at least a few people who are trained to know what to do in this kind of situation. If the school has a social worker or a guidance counselor, that might be the right person. If you feel confident that the mom of one of your friends would help, you could also talk to her about calling DYFS. You could also make the call yourself to the hotline at the Division of Youth and Family Services at 1-800-792-8610.

Professionals know that just because someone is a policeman doesn’t mean that he can’t also be doing something very, very wrong.

This has to stop. Please gather up all the courage you can and find a way to let DYFS know what is going on. Then please write me and let me know how you’re doing. I want to know that you’re ok.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Jan 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). Step dad cop is sexually abusing her. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/01/02/step-dad-cop-is-sexually-abusing-her/