To begin this journey

If you are unfamiliar with how a child comes to be extremely dissociated, please read the Forbidden Topic blog beginning with the first post. Go at your own pace. You will grasp the concept in about ten entries, faster than reading several books. If you skip a post, you may miss one of the building blocks of total understanding.

When it makes sense to you that a child constantly exposed to sexual trauma may (and hopefully will) dissociate, you are as ready as you may ever be to absorb the ramifications of the messages included on this page.

The world of pedophilia is ugly. If we don't see the larger societal picture, this reviled segment will continue to flourish.

Please read "Pedophiles Know Dissociation


Child predators use double language to thwart "telling"

Through my work with both adult and child survivors of early childhood abuse, it has become apparent that child predators insidiously and calculatedly use a double language. Innocent or preposterous terms are used by the predator while abusing a child or placing a child in an abusive situation. A young child has no language for such acts and so uses words and terms of the abuser.

One of my clients was a pre-school boy in the primary care of his biological mother. The biological father and his wife were concerned about odd behavior when they had custody for the summer. I was asked to meet with "Tyler". During one of our sessions (which were always play therapy), I used the term "time out" for a toy. I set the toy aside on a chair and told it that it was in "time out" for five minutes. Tyler's reaction was atypical behavior. He appeared quite agitated.

During the next session, he announced he wanted to play "time out". I watched as he enacted yelling and strange behaviors with dolls. Since I was unable to understand what he was trying to show me, during the next session I asked him to show me using sand tray (a form of play therapy) what happened when he was in "time out". He was quite verbal at age 5. He explained that "time out" was when he, his mother, the live-in boyfriend, the boyfriend’s teenager son, and a toddler half-brother had to be naked. Mommy, the boyfriend, and boyfriend's son, touched him and made him do things he didn't like. He demonstrated with dolls the positions he was made to be in and showed me what the adults did to him, even imitating their voices as they told him to do certain acts.

Child abuse had not been suspected prior to the sand tray disclosure. The bio father and stepmother (now the boy's adoptive mother) confirmed that when they had used the term "time out" with Tyler, he had an extraordinarily terrified response. We realized just how deceptive a tactic that was. When Tyler visited his safe parents, he would tell them his mother or Franklin (mom's boyfriend) had put him in time out. The natural response was "Why? What did you do wrong?" The response served to reinforce messages that Tyler was somehow bad for being in time out and shouldn't tell any more. But he did try to tell. Thank goodness.

I filed a report immediately after the session where "time out" became known and the bio father was able to have emergency custody granted. The judge listened to my testimony and honored the knowledge, much to my great relief. So how do we fight this? A child tries to tell and no one hears. An adult hearing a child tell something that seems innocent needs to notice behavior and emotions of the child reporting. Is the child frightened by telling you? If so, it should be reported. Let the child-trained interviewers find out what the phrase means. At least it might help get more children out of dangerous situations. In another situation, the predator referred to himself as “the PE teacher” and the activity as “physical education”. The child’s mother noticed her son’s great aversion to the school’s PE teacher in two separate schools. An innocent PE teacher could have been accused of being a molester because of the predator tactic.

I had my own personal history of having the word “exercise” used. I can imagine when I may have tried to tell my mother, "Daddy made me exercise when you went out". Her response would likely have been, "Exercise is good for you." If abuse is happening in the bathroom, particularly the bathtub or shower, a child may have very scary meanings for “washing hair”, shampoo, etc. A commenter on one of my blogs disclosed her little girl, in court, said, “Daddy had a bottle that shampoo came out of” to describe the penis.

Tyler, whom I spoke about above, had terms such as hammer and jackhammer to describe a penis. I taught him the correct terms using anatomically correct dolls. When he told me Franklin put a jackhammer up his butt, he was able to show me with the doll that a jackhammer went with the penis. These terms are strategically designed to prevent the world from ever knowing.

We, as concerned adults about the safety of the children, need to start listening very differently. First we have to learn not to dismiss if a child tries to tell us something in a serious manner that seems unusual. An adult hearing a child tell something that seems innocent or outrageous needs to notice behavior and emotions of the child reporting. Is the child frightened by telling even though the words seem innocent? Children don't typically go out of their way to tell an adult of some inane activity. A good response might be, "When Uncle Joe washed your hair, was it something you liked or was it scary?" That's all you need to know. A professional who works with abused children should take over with regard to disclosure. Report your suspicions of abuse to the appropriate agency in your area.

A further example of the length pedophiles will go to make the child sound unbelievable is use of names of people who have died or names of living relatives of the child in the victim's presence. Over the course of many weeks, 5-year-old Tyler's story surfaced. Numerous times he referred to "Franklin's mother".

During the custody hearing, the defense attorney cited some of my documentation where Franklin's mother was mentioned. He asked me if I would be surprised to learn that Franklin's mother had been deceased for a number of years. Knowing that underworld, I responded vehemently that the child knew SOMEONE as Franklin's mother as a tactic to make the abuse appear unbelievable. The judge granted full custody to the safe parents.

The first time Tyler relayed other children were present and played the same games, he told me their names. When I conveyed the information to the bio father privately, he indicated the names went with Tyler’s young cousins who couldn't possibly have been in the state where the child had been abused. After realizing "Franklin's mother" was a tactic, I was able to ask Tyler if the names he had given me for the other children made to play the games were the same "John and Mary" who were his cousins. He felt safe enough to tell me that they were not and described the differences in detail. This is where knowledge of the predator mindset is critical. The bio father naturally would have questioned the veracity of his son's report of that incident. It made perfect sense following the court hearing.

Child predators use whatever personal information they have on the child to make the victims appear as liars. It’s time we started adapting a new strategy for protecting the children—one that takes into consideration the lewd and shrewd mindset of the predator.