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Rape and Abuse If you or someone you know is being abused in any way and you need support or advice, don't hesitate to reach out to us here.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Imaginary Offline
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Is my friend being sexually abused? - May 11th 2009, 06:32 AM

Hello. This is going to be an epically long post, so go to the bathroom before reading. Okay? Okay…

I hang out with this girl, who smells rotten and doesn't bathe. She has told me that she used to self harm, which is a sign of abuse. She almost always wears long sleeves, though she has told me that she doesn't have any scars (I've seen her in short sleeves and can verify this). Perhaps bruises may be why she covers her arms.

On the few days that I have seen her without a sweater, she seems awfully excited to show her arms (I'm only mentioning this because it could be that she's happy that there are no marks visible).

She doesn't have a lot of friends, which I realize can be due to a lot of things, but it's a sign of sexual abuse.

Her room is filthy, it has food festering from months (sometimes years) ago and is to be treated as an obstacle course. This is strange to me as, while the rest of the house is in an unorganized (but somewhat clean) condition, the parents don't seem to care about the sanitation of her room, even though I have witnessed both parents enter it.

Her father seems controlling. He always has the television on, but my friend reports that she can not have the volume on the one in her room above that of a lone chirping cricket located inside a sealed jar. His general presence makes things slightly tenser.

This could be a personality thing, but she also seems very hesitant to sit beside her father in the car, and enthusiastically gives shot gun to me. Having never known anyone that prefers sitting in the back, I feel the need to enter it here.

She is not confidant, or friendly. She always seems strangely distant from her father, as though he's trying to keep her in his control and she's pulling against his tight, sticky grip (please note that I have noticed this prior to my mother's inquiry into her possible abuse).

She reminds me of me when I was younger and thought (as I still do) that I was molested. It seems like a sign to me.

I noticed this a while ago (but forgot my observations, because as anyone who knows me is familiar with my inability to remember jack shit), but it was brought to my attention again by my mother, who had also found that her questionably existent hygiene was suspect given that her family is not poor and in fact moderately well groomed. My great-aunt (who was also sexually abused) said that she exhibited the same behavior and odors during that period in her life.

I can't think of a single thing to counter the above points. So my questions are: How do I go about asking if she was abused? Do I bring up my own verisimilar abuse? I'm assuming that holding a flashlight in her face and screaming "HAVE YOU BEEN ABUUUSED!?!" would be tactless, so any subtle suggestions would be appreciated.

Oh and, who would I contact? My mother said that we should probably tell the administration at her school (the principle is nice, according to my mother) and Child Protective Services, which I think is logical, but if anyone knows something else, please inform me.

And (how) should I tell her about me telling CPS and the school? It's kinder to tell her before hand I think, but I want to be sure (this is assuming that there actually is abuse). Should I say that regardless of what she requests, I am going to tell the authorities? Or allow her to continue living with her (presumed) abuser.

If she says that no abuse has ever occurred, how should I precede? I know there are ways of detecting lying, but unfortunately I don't know how adept I am at it, and some physical anomalies might prevent me from perceiving them. What are some things even a malfunctioning chimp like me couldn’t miss?

If she says that no abuse is occurring presently, but that it has taken place in the past, how should I precede? Does is depend on the abuser at the time?

How am I to find out who abused her? If it was/is her father, then of course she should be removed from her house immediately (I believe). But if it was Joe-Suckass-Shmoe from Germany who was tragically bulldozed in 98', what should I do? She may lie or refuse to disclose the tosser's identity.

Should I (on some aspects) keep my perfect nose out of her businesses (for example, is it necessary for me to tell the CPS who the abuser is if I can't get ahold of the information)?

I know this is long, but I want to be thorough. Thank you, all help is appreciated.

P.S. If my bad, sparse humour offends anyone, sorry, it helps me cope.


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Re: Is my friend being sexually abused? - May 11th 2009, 02:52 PM

Ok....Your questions and answers;

I can't think of a single thing to counter the above points. So my questions are: How do I go about asking if she was abused? Do I bring up my own verisimilar abuse? I'm assuming that holding a flashlight in her face and screaming "HAVE YOU BEEN ABUUUSED!?!" would be tactless, so any subtle suggestions would be appreciated.

I would, personally, ask if there was anything wrong. I wouldnt flat out ask if she has been abused, but I would make it clear to her that if there is ANYTHING wrong, you will be there to support her all the time, and if she needed to confide in anything you will be there.

Oh and, who would I contact? My mother said that we should probably tell the administration at her school (the principle is nice, according to my mother) and Child Protective Services, which I think is logical, but if anyone knows something else, please inform me.

I would definately agree with your mum, the admin team at school & the CPS


And (how) should I tell her about me telling CPS and the school? It's kinder to tell her before hand I think, but I want to be sure (this is assuming that there actually is abuse). Should I say that regardless of what she requests, I am going to tell the authorities? Or allow her to continue living with her (presumed) abuser.

This is a difficulty, Im afraid, you will have to make your own mind on this one...as I only read the situation & am not experianced in anything like this...you will have to talk to your mum & decide what to do yourself. Weigh up the pros and cons. Go with your heart not your head.


If she says that no abuse has ever occurred, how should I precede? I know there are ways of detecting lying, but unfortunately I don't know how adept I am at it, and some physical anomalies might prevent me from perceiving them. What are some things even a malfunctioning chimp like me couldn’t miss?

If she says she hasnt been abused, then you should carry on as normal....but...with a bit of an open eye. Not too often ask your friend if there is anything bothering her. Just be a friend....look out for signs, sadness, scared, etc

If she says that no abuse is occurring presently, but that it has taken place in the past, how should I precede? Does is depend on the abuser at the time?

Just be there as a friend....maybe get a counsellor to help her with her abuse of the past.

How am I to find out who abused her? If it was/is her father, then of course she should be removed from her house immediately (I believe).

You can only find out by her....you're friends & if she tells you it was/is her father then yes, she should be removed from the house.

But if it was Joe-Suckass-Shmoe from Germany who was tragically bulldozed in 98', what should I do? She may lie or refuse to disclose the tosser's identity.


Its not up to you. Like I keep saying, its your friends choice....you just have to support the decision she makes & keep stuck by her side.



Should I (on some aspects) keep my perfect nose out of her businesses (for example, is it necessary for me to tell the CPS who the abuser is if I can't get ahold of the information)?

Its really up to you, do you want to get involved, do you want to help. I think you do, but you have to be suttle. Just, like I said, above...tell her you will be there friends untill the end.



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Jamie
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Re: Is my friend being sexually abused? - May 11th 2009, 03:01 PM

Hey,

This is a very complicated situation - on the one hand, you want to do what's best for your friend but on the other hand, you don't know enough about her situation at the moment to help her. Before you do anything, I strongly suggest you talk with her to get her side of the story. Obviously don't approach her with the flashlight But go up to her calmly and tell her you're worried about her, you're concerned something might be going on and you've noticed the tension in her house, etc. It might help if you told her that you've noticed the similarities between her behavior and your aunt's, to lead into the question of whether or not she's being abused. Ask her if there's anything she needs to talk about and let her know you're there for her.

She may or may not tell you anything; if she does, it's a sign that she trusts you quite a bit. If she tells you that yes, she's being abused, talk with her about reporting it or trying to get out of the situation. Tell her if she's afraid to report it alone, you could be there with her when she goes to report it - it can help to have a familiar face in a scary situation, it can be comforting.

But here's where things get tricky - while these are all signs of abuse, yes, it doesn't mean there's a 100% chance that abuse is occurring within the house. There could be explanations for each of those signs pointing away from the abuse. So that's where it becomes complicated, because you can't know for sure what may or may not be going on unless she tells you for sure.

If she doesn't mention anything about abuse but you feel she may be hiding something when you confront her, or if you're extremely concerned about her and you're almost certain she's being abused, I'd advise you to speak with either her principal or a guidance counselor at her school, or contact the police or child protection services and get them involved [though I'd say to approach her school first]. It very well may be that she's afraid to tell anyone what's going on at home - her father may have threatened to cause her harm if she told, she might be afraid of what might happen if people find out - there could be any number of reasons. Talking about abuse can be a scary thing, and it's not the easiest thing in the world to do. Keep that in mind when you speak with her.

Either way though, I think the signs are cause for some alarm and it's better safe than sorry. If she doesn't tell you anything, go to her school and tell them exactly what you've told us here. It would be illegal for her school to ignore a report of possible abuse so you wouldn't have to worry the situation would be ignored.

You're a great friend by being worried about her and wanting to help. Let me know if you want to talk about anything, my PM box is always open. Take good care of yourself.



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Re: Is my friend being sexually abused? - May 11th 2009, 06:36 PM

Thank you for your help. However, there may be some difficulties.

I'm moving soon, to a far and distant land. And I've never been inclined to have any heart to heart conversations with her. I don't really know how to be close and supportive.


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