Is She Making Up Her Childhood Sexual Abuse Claim?

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My adult sister claims she was molested by our dad when she was age 7 to 10. I have no memory of this happening to me.

Mom and Dad don’t speak to her anymore. She calls me and cries to me. I’m sick of it.

She has long had problems in school, in the guys she chooses, in the ability to be a productive and happy human being.

She just got her third DUI and she’s been in and out of rehab. She used to be pretty, but now she’s obese.

She’s been going to a therapist for three years and she wants me to go to a session with her. Now, she also says she wants to commit suicide. I said no and she became enraged.

I don’t want to go. I think she’s using the so-called “sexual abuse” as an excuse to not grow up and take responsibility.

Reluctant Sister

Dear Sister,

We understand your sister might feel draining to you. However, sexual abuse, especially by a parent, is rarely used as an “excuse” to fall apart or commit suicide. Like others in her situation, she needs to be believed in.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been studying Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), and states:

1 – The science of early brain development shows childhood trauma seriously impacts it and healthy relationships.

2 – The long-term effects of stress hormone exposure causes children to be more vulnerable than adults to PTSD, anxiety, mood and attachment disorders, memory and learning problems, and other psychopathological conditions.

3 – Neurobiological effects can lead to dysfunctional behaviors and mental disorders.

4 – The highest percentage of childhood sexual abuse perpetrators were reported to be family members or well-known family friends.

5 – It can cause risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, and low life potential.

National Institutes of Health studies show increased alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and suicide attempts, by a 4-12 fold increase.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau report, “Child Maltreatment” by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, shows:

1 – One in five girls and one in 20 boys is a victim of childhood sexual abuse.

2 – Children are most vulnerable to childhood sexual abuse between ages 7 and 13.

Remember, adults do not benefit from reporting their childhood molestation traumas and subsequently, they are sorely under-reported.

Compassion, love, care, and belief in her, may cause the turn around in your sister’s life and help prevent her suicidal ideation. It’s good that she’s receiving professional help.

Your support isn’t dependent on your memories.

You can do hard things. We all can.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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