Q: My cousin’s husband’s brother has done time for having sex with his stepdaughter. My cousin and her husband don’t sleep together but their 4yr daughter has been sleeping with the father. He often secludes himself with her. My concern is that he might be having sex or something of that nature with the daughter. What can we look for as signs that this may be going on. The husband is very physical and emotional abusive. This has been going on for over a year. There is one pedophile in the family; could there be 2?
A: I understand your concerns and would be concerned myself. However, I don’t have enough information to really advise you specifically. Just because there is one pedophile in a family, it does not implicate anyone else. However, you also say that he is physically and emotionally abusive and that there are obvious marital problems. These can all be red flags.
I would personally suggest having a serious talk with your cousin about your concerns for her daughter and for her. In terms of what you might look for: overly sexualized behaviors, withdrawal or emotional regression, new aggressive behaviors, urinary tract infections or other problems in the genital area, obvious knowledge about things a 4 y/o shouldn’t know, etc. You may want to do some further research in this area. There are age appropriate books for kids on good touch/bad touch that you could read to the child.
If you have serious concerns, I would suggest calling Child Protective Services in your area and make a report. You can do this anonymously and let them be the ones to investigate. You could also let the child’s pediatrician know your concerns so he or she could be alert to any signs. I hope this child is safe and I thank you for your question.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Nov 2007
Counts, H. (2007). I have concerns about possible sexual abuse of a child.. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/11/01/i-have-concerns-about-possible-sexual-abuse-of-a-child/