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looking 4 advice

Posted by elephantscry , 30 March 2014 · 41 views

Anyone out there ever file a police report for sexual assault on a minor and take it to court? Are you glad you went through with it or did you regret it?
I am worried about the process of the child having to go through the assault over & over again with Police, Therapists, Attorneys, Judges, Juries and so on. And also that it may take years to convict.
The child will be 18 soon and the assault happened at 15, I just recently found out. I am torn. I know what the right thing to do is, but I also just want to protect my child from further trauma. Thank you for any help you can provide in this situation.

My daughter was abused at age 12.  She talked about it when she was 16 because her best friend was also abused.  The investigation and court process took 18 months.  My daughters case, and her best friends case were split up into two seperate cases. He was convicted and sent to prison on my daughters case.


Her friend was abused much worse by the same man, and because of the severity of abuse the jury said they couldn't convict him without physical evidence because it would be 30 years in prison.


What I told my daughter is the power is not in the decision of the court.  It is the power to stand up and fight.  To find her voice.  To face him head on with family support.  I was prepared for him to walk "free" by the eyes of the court because most cases do not get a conviction where I live.  However I was not prepared and would never be prepared for my daughter or myself to not point the finger at the predator.  I wanted the community to know that there would be a risk involved if their children was near him.  I felt it was my responsibility to minimize any possible abuse in the future if I could.


These are my views, however if the child isn't at the point they can emotionally handle a court case without a complete break, then the child's mental health comes first. 


It is difficult, but I am strong, and my daughter is strong.  A third girl was able to be a witness at my daughters trial, but couldn't go through her own trial.  She didn't have the family support, and or resources, and didn't think she could do it without those things in place.


This man's family at first didn't believe it, and he was allowed to be around his daughters, but in the end the family realized he was a pedophile, so I know some abuse was either stopped or prevented.


Every person we encountered was very considerate in how they approached my child and the retelling of the story.  Telling the story and finding a voice is a very positive healing process when you feel safe.  It's like cleaning out a wound.  Hard and painful, but it keeps the wound clean, and from getting worse.  My daughter now can talk about abuse on a college campus, in a classroom, and even put a sticker on her vehicle that represents a survivor of abuse.  I am so proud of her. 


I have NEVER regretted the process.  My daughter is so much stronger and has years of good advocacy work ahead of her. 


I however CANNOT express enough though that the entire family will need to be in counseling.  This is a team effort.  I could not ask my daughter to do something that I wasn't willing to do.  We made sure the entire family had resources, kept daily life normal, and remembered we would live and have fun.  Vacations to get away from the process was taken.  You don't have to spend a huge amount of money, but you do have to be prepared to take school days off, work days off, and to realize when you need to just give yourself a break.. It's all about the balance and the pace.  Go slow and easy.  Settle yourself in for a long winter so to speak. 


I also have a friend that went through the process and her expectations were completely different.  She thought this man should get life in prison, or die.  We all feel this way but we have to set realistic expectations of what we can get out of it.  My friend's case was thrown out.  It has been years and she can't let go of the anger, or the need to control EVERY aspect of her life.  She has lost so much because she felt she "lost" a second time to her rapist. 


My daughter and I went in KNOWING the chances of prison was slim to none, but our goal was to press the charges, increase community awareness, and to let him know he can't EASILY get away with abuse, that people will face him head on.  The biggest fear of a pedophile is someone knowing they are a pedophile.  They hide from everything in life, and we wanted to expose him, and we did.


If you set this up correctly with your child the process will make her one of the strongest women you will ever meet.  Prepare her, set realistic expectations, use a team effort....everyone gets counseling, set the pace, take breaks, and keep things normal on a daily basis.  Realize that even after the trial it isn't over.  Continue the same patterns of counseling, breaks, and team effort. 


I have yet another friend that went through the court process with her daughter, but did not get counseling for herself.  I can't express the team effort enough.  The mother was left being a mother without resources or outside direction, and the mom made some devastating mistakes. 


Hiding this type of information is NEVER o.k.  The good news is that you can start the process, get this guy within the radar of the system, and then if it gets to be to much you can put a hold on the actual court case.  The attorneys over and over told my daughter that she could go forward, pause, or come back years later to finish.  She had choices, and control.  She chose to keep moving, but if she had needed a mental health break we would have taken it.


Hope that helps.



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