Carol Perkins via Crowdrise
April 14, 2011
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Please join me in contributing to The Children's Center for Hope and Healing's Blue Ribbon Campaign to help stop child abuse. On behalf of children in Northeast Georgia, thank you for your donation!
Here is one of our success stories:
When “Brooke,” first brought her daughter “Allie,” to therapy, she was distraught. The guilt of having a young child who was sexually abused is unimaginable. She was plagued with thoughts of “Why did I allow her to go on that play date?” “Why did I trust that family?” and “Shouldn’t I have known?” Her child hurt and, therefore, she hurt. She loved her child with all her heart.
To make matters worse, Allie’s father, “John,” refused to speak about it. He wouldn’t say a single word to even acknowledge that it had happened. John thought the whole family should just “forget about it.” He didn’t see the need for therapy. He thought that therapy was something that only people who were weak needed and he wanted to teach his daughter to grow up strong. He thought Brooke was just being whiny and needy. He didn’t understand her need to talk about it. “Bad things happened sometimes,” he would say, “life’s tough.”
As the months progressed, John wouldn’t take Allie to therapy. He wouldn’t ask her about what she did in therapy or talk about why she was there.
Brooke felt no support so Allie’s therapist referred Brooke to our Women’s Service’s therapist, Dr. Susan Collins, and Brooke began to meet with Dr. Collins. Initially, Brooke was incredibly anxious and upset. She couldn’t clearly articulate what she felt or needed. The whole experience was very overwhelming for her. As they went through her emotions and began to process them in therapy, Dr. Collins was able to help her to articulate to John the importance of his presence and participation in Allie’s recovery. Brooke was able to tell John that it might not matter now, but that if Allie got to be a teenager and she looked back on these events, that she might wonder if the sexual abuse had affected John’s feelings about his daughter. She might think that his absence and refusal to talk about it was because she had done something wrong or that she was “dirty” in some way. For Allie’s sake, John began to engage. He came to therapy sessions a few times. He began to ask little Allie about how she was feeling, about what happened at therapy, and about how things were going.
Through the support of our Women’s Services program, this family was able to work together to help Allie to recover from the trauma she experienced. With the help of Dr. Collins, Brooke was able to articulate what her family needed in a way that John could hear.
The therapists at the Children’s Center for Hope & Healing work as a collaborative team. Many of the referrals in the program are within the agency from one program to another program. Because the agency is able to serve the child who is the victim, the parents, and—in cases where the offender is a child—the child who has offended, the agency is uniquely positioned to work with the entire family.