Home » Ask the Therapist » Relationships » Sexuality » Was My Daughter Sexually Abused?

Was My Daughter Sexually Abused?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

I think my daughter was sexually abused. I took her to a doctor,unfortunately too late for physical evidence. Doctor and I talked. They didn’t feel that daughter’s behavior (my 3 years old) was that of one that was sexually abused.

They said she seemed too friendly. She wasn’t sticking objects in her vagina, constantly masturbating and overall said it would be pretty blatant. Daughter does however seem jump on streaming water and spend sometime there. She did on one occasion balance a pencil between her labia, but didn’t proceed to penetrate herself. I talk to day care and they said her play is normal. She never does any thing sexual.

I ask her if someone touched her she says yes. I dont want to talk about this with her. I don’t want to make her believe it happened if it didn’t.

The amount of redness and dilation I saw seemed abnormal. She expressed discomfort when sitting. I know for a fact she didn’t have diaper rash. I know I made a mistake. I was in shock. I am afraid of what I would have done if I had taken her to ER that day and they would have confirmed my suspicions. I also notice she seems afraid of teenage boys to adult, no little boys, or not old men.

It’s tormenting me. I havent been able to sleep for months. I don’t know if reporting it now will even matter since there is not any evidence and she can’t talk too well. What do I do? Do I report it later? What if she remembers later?

Was My Daughter Sexually Abused?

Answered by on -


Since whatever did or didn’t happen is months ago, reporting now is unlikely to be helpful — unless you have strong evidence about who might have hurt her. If that ‘s the case, it’s never too late to get police involvement. But if you don’t have that kind of evidence, your focus should be on doing what you can to understand and protect your daughter now.

The daycare people are correct. What you report is within the range of normal. Little children often find that standing over streaming water or touching their genitals feels good so they will explore those feelings now and then. Kids who are abused, on the other hand, often get obsessive about it.

I think there are two things you can do to help ease your own torment. First, make an appointment with a counselor who is experienced with family issues and young children. You neeed a sounding board for your concerns and some support for dealing with your own feelings.

Secondly, you can inoculate your child to some extent from future abuse by teaching her about “good touch” and “bad touch” and making sure she understands that only her caregivers and medical people are allowed to touch her private parts. There are good children’s books available to help you. Keep the conversation matter-of-fact and friendly. Make sure she knows she can talk to you about difficult things without getting you terribly upset. She needs to know you are there for her if she ever needs you.

As much as we might want to, we can’t protect our children 24/7 but we can help them (even at age 3) begin to understand how to protect themselves.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Was My Daughter Sexually Abused?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Was My Daughter Sexually Abused?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 25 Aug 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.