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Lylarose

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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm choosing to put this here rather than discuss it with friends to maintain privacy. My 16 year old daughter was assaulted 2 1/2 months ago. Im learning everything I can as quickly as possible to try to be a better advocate for her moving forward. There's so much I did not know. For example I didn't know that it's normal for someone not to be able to remember clearly what happened. It's because the brain shuts off awareness as a protective device. Small little things can trigger a memory and bring her right back to the assault out of the blue. The other thing I've learned is not to expect justice. There's rarely any good outcome. The better goal is to focus on my daughter and not her rapist. What I'm looking for is any helpful advice from anyone who has been through this in any way either as a survivor, a parent a friend etc...
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jlm645

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Reply with quote  #2 
I worked for a long time in child welfare and mental health, and many, many of the kids I worked with had extensive trauma histories.  I can just try to hit a couple things, but it won't really scratch the surface.

1.   There is really good research on what trauma does to the brain.  My experience is that learning about this helps kids because they then understood why they are responding they way they are.  What they come to understand is that the responses that don't make sense through the lens of "normal" are perfectly logic based on the trauma experience and how their brain has responded.  The researcher that I learned the most from was Dr. Bruce Perry at Child Trauma Academy.  They have resources at childtrauma.com

2.  Not all therapist are not created equal.  Many are just ineffective, others make things worse.  Find one with training specifically in Trauma Informed Care.  If you go to an appointment and aren't comfortable, try someone else.   Interview as many as you need to- just like you probably did with pediatricians and daycare providers. 

3. As you are already figuring out, recovery is not related to the legal outcome.  There are pushes that victims must fully engage the legal system to heal (not true) or that they owe it to the rest of society to see that through.  I think it is really unfair to place that kind of weight on someone at their most vulnerable moment if the legal system is beyond what they can handle. 

4. Don't try to be her therapist. Sometimes it hard to stay in your role when you want so badly to help, but she needs her mama more than another professional.

5. It sounds like you are getting good direction- understanding flashbacks and triggers, that him going to jail isn't going to change how it impacted her. Just keep being on her side, reminding her that this doesn't change who she is, be patient, be her champion.  She can absolutely come out the other side stronger, wiser, and better.  Being a victim is awful and certainly no one would choose it, but being a survivor can lead to a whole new depth of character that wouldn't otherwise be there.

Very best wishes and my prayers for your daughter and your family as you heal.
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Lylarose

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you. Not having the freedom to just speak to someone when it fills my mind is so frustrating. We have an excellent counselor but her focus is as it should be on my sweet girl. And there's no such thing as an anonymous support group in a small Southern town. What made me choose here is the common life of dance. My daughter is all of yours. She's the same kind of talented, driven, smart, artist with big dreams and a bigger heart. I think having knowledge of what a girl like this is like can help you relate. Again thank you.
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2girls

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Reply with quote  #4 
I am so sorry for you and your daughter! My heart breaks for you both. 

I was raped in college, so I can relate. Please know you will both get past this!! This assault does not need to define who she is or what she will become.

You are already doing the BEST thing by getting her the support she needs by being there for her and getting her counseling!! Counseling is so important! She will need to talk this out-probably for years! Each new milestone may be a challenge for her. Jim645's advice is great!

I did confront my attacker and reported him to the police. He was not charged though. I did feel good that I named him for what he did. When the college got the police report, they expelled him from our college.  He was pursuing a degree in education. I was proud that our college did their own investigation, found he had been written up many times for drug and alcohol infractions and had a less than stellar academic record. He had been written up multiple times in the dorms for disruptive behavior too. In a small way, I got justice. I also heard that he eventually checked himself in to an inpatient drug rehab program. 

She will need a lot of grace. She will be up and down emotionally, so allow her that. I went through a fearful time too. I learned to empower myself and take control of my life. I got a dog to run with (I considered getting a gun, but did research and chose for the dog). My dog helped me get back to my old routine of running. I felt safe with my dog. In a way, I know my experience made me stronger. At times when life got overwhelming, I would think to myself, "I survived the rape. I can get past this too." That was my internal dialogue at times anyway. 

Best wishes to both of you! This is a huge trauma to overcome, but she will!! It sounds like you are a loving mom. 

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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #5 
My heart goes out to your daughter.  I'm so sorry this has happened to her.

My mom was raped (it actually went beyond rape to torture and worse) by her brother from 12-16 years old.  One of her siblings knew and did nothing.  This was almost 50 years ago in a "good catholic family" and she was afraid to tell anyone.  Finally when she was 16 and he was 18 he stopped apparently because he got a girlfriend.  My mom struggled a lot because she felt that she couldn't confront him without hurting her parents and therefore she never got any justice.  It wasn't until my grandmother had passed and my grandfather asked her why she wouldn't hug her brother that she finally told him everything.  He believed her completely and cut his son out of his life but at that point nothing could be done legally.  My mom did get some therapy but being unable to be alone in a room with a strange man is not conducive to getting therapy when there are no female therapists around.  She gained almost 300 lbs thinking that if she was big no one would want to hurt her like that again.  It took her 30 years to get to a point where she could discuss what happened to her without breaking down.  Even today she cannot watch a Chevy Chase movie because he resembles her brother and she has flashbacks.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that your daughter may struggle with the aftermath of this for years to come and she may have flashbacks for no apparent reason.  Make sure she gets a therapist she is completely comfortable with and make sure she knows that you are willing to go with her for goup sessions at any time.  Understand that her moods could shift on a dime and all you can do is be patient until she is ready to discuss what is going on.  Be her mom and her biggest supporter.
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csdancemom

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Reply with quote  #6 
If you can afford it, I would recommend that you seek out a counselor for yourself. It will help you to have someone to talk to since there is no support group and you may be unable to talk about your feelings about this with friends. My heart goes out to you and your D.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #7 
I think alike with csdancemom. This is a terrible trauma for your daughter to recover from and you as well. I hope that you can get some professional help as well. Perhaps a single visit just for you with the counselor could be of help, if not a counselor of your own to speak with. Maybe they can direct you to an on-line support group. Personally, I found my on-line support group for cancer more helpful than an in person group.

Heartfelt best wishes to you and yours!
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crafty1

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Reply with quote  #8 
Lylarose, I'm so sorry this happened. I have no advice to add, but I am adding your daughter and you to my prayers.

Hugs.
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Lunafly

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Reply with quote  #9 
A good friend of mine experienced rape as a teen. I think one of the things that held her back from moving forward was that being a "rape survivor" began to define her. She has even said that in recent years that she felt the label had taken over her life and she sort of lost who she was in that. Having other activities, like dance, will go a long way toward the healing process. Also, I don't know the circumstances that seem to have led to your not expecting justice, but I wouldn't necessarily rule that out. I get that it is a very personal decision, but it's also a permanent one. But I get what you're saying also. If you know it's unrealistic than it's best to focus on recovery.
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Lylarose

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks you for all of your kind words and support. It's helpful just to put in words the awful feelings and anger and frustration. I'm sorry that you all are the ones who had to read my post. It doesn't fit with rhinestones and solo woes and packing up the Dream Duffle but I thank you for indulging my need to just let it out somehow
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jeanne4379

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Reply with quote  #11 
I sit hear weeping for you and your beautiful dancer.  Please know that I am praying for you both.  
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kr12

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Reply with quote  #12 
Sorry to hear this happened to your daughter.  I am sure she feels comfort in your love and support.
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Jerseyboymom

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Reply with quote  #13 
I'm so sorry this horrible thing has happened to your DD. Don't apologize for one second for posting it here. Life isn't all rhinestones and Dream Duffels, and sometimes you just need a place to let it out where no one knows you and there's no judgement and no baggage.

It sounds like you are taking all the right steps to help your DD, and you've gotten good advice here. I have nothing valuable to add, but I admire the way you are supporting your DD and learning everything you can to help her heal. Thinking of you.
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judie

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Reply with quote  #14 
Sending you hugs and comfort, as well as squeezes for strength.

No advice, just vent here all you want, and know that you will not be judged.

Your daughter is our daughter...true words.  

I wish her heart healing.  And yours, too.
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momtodancinggirl

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Reply with quote  #15 
I am so sorry to read this, in these situations it's often worse when it's a peer versus a random attack, but regardless of her situation I hope she finds peace and comfort through her love of dance. Turning to a dance for healing I think could be a way to connect herself to others and share her pain and anger and healing to others without having to talk about it. I can't imagine what you're going through as a mother, but we're here for you!
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Lylarose

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Reply with quote  #16 
Thank you all again for your kind words and thoughts. We are learning a lot as we go through counseling. One thing I wanted to share has been how valuable for my dd to tell her counselor what happened. The burden of carrying the secrets was making her feel so much worse. The difference in her mood and her outlook is so much better now. As much as I wish she felt comfortable sharing all the details with me I do understand why that would be hard for her. What she doesn't yet know is that I can take it. I can bear her burden. Knowing her pain only increases my love and respect for her. She is as blameless and as innocent as an infant and the crime inflicted upon her is solely the fault of her rapist. She has nothing to feel ashamed about and no judgement to fear. Anyone who feels differently has more in common with the rapist than with her. It's so important for parents to know this because the things we say and our reactions to sexual assaults on others that we hear about or see on the news or even tv shows and movies will stick with your daughters. They will be afraid you will say and feel those same things about them if they are assaulted and then possibly never get the help they need to recover. My dd's counselor told me it takes an average time of a year for teen girls to tell a parent. And that's for the ones who do tell. Many never will. Fear keeps her silent Fear of losing your respect and love.
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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #17 
Don't apologize for posting here.  We're all moms and it could happen to any one of your daughters.

Don't be upset that your daughter doesn't want to share the details with you.  She loves you and is protecting you.  Your daughter definitely did nothing to deserve this attack.  She is a victim.  I agree with the others about counseling for you.  You are a victim too.  Your baby was hurt so badly.  Hugs
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BCdancemom

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Reply with quote  #18 
I am so very sorry that this happened to your daughter! Prayers for you both.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #19 
Positive energy to you. Great work supporting your daughter. I am very glad to hear she has a good counselor. Good job mom. It will help your daughter so much in the long run that you have supported and accepted her. I agree if you can visit a counselor yourself it would be helpful. When people we love are hurt, we can develop trauma reactions ourselves and have our own nightmares, anger, and anxiety. If you have any specific questions about normal trauma reactions feel free to PM me. I have seen so many women come out strong from this experience. Know that it is possible. Otherwise wishing you comfort and peace.
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #20 
FYI this post is a year old. Not sure that OP is even here anymore.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #21 
Thanks. Strange how old posts come back to life. I hope they are both doing well.
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Sabrina

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Reply with quote  #22 
Um, what?  How did this post come back to life?  Sorry to hear about this horrible experience.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabrina
Um, what?  How did this post come back to life?  .


It wasn't me this time LOL
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tiptoemom

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Reply with quote  #24 
good grief! how do these posts even get dug up? This posting on old threads just to post is what is so interesting! I don't think that the op hasn't even been back since the original posts.
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