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Child Abuse

Admitting Child Abuse

06/25/2001

Question:

This is difficult for me to write, but I need an answer from a professional. When I was 13, I found an adult movie in my brother`s room and watched it. It had girls kissing each other in the genitals. I wanted to know what it felt like, so soon after I did it to a 4-year-old. I knew it was wrong but did not fully understand the consequences of what I was doing. I did it only once but 11 years later I still feel the remorse and guilt from this incident. I am afraid it has affected the child (now a teenager) even though she doesn`t remember right now. She tends to have screaming fits with her parents, and I`m afraid the repressed memory of what I did to her could be a cause of her explosive behavior, although her parents have always verbally abused her to an extent. I am also afraid that she will suddenly remember one day and it will ruin both of our lives. What advice can you give me on this subject, specifically how she could be effected today by what I did and how likely it is that she will remember it? Is there anything at all I can do to help the situation in some way? My pain over this incident is constant and I don`t want her or my family to ever have to feel any of that pain because of me. Thank you for your time.

Answer:

The detailed answer to your question requires more information regarding the family relationships and details about the individuals involved. The one recommendation I can make from the information given me is that you should set up an appointment with a therapist as soon as possible. It is clear that you have many unresolved issues and you need to address these in order to help yourself and the victim. Please follow up with this suggestion and good luck.

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Response by:

Robert Shapiro, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati

Patricia A Myers, LISW
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati