Children who have been sexually abused are often confused, ashamed, and confused about their own safety, says a child care provider who was once abused.
Kristen Goss is an autism specialist at a Los Angeles-area child care center and has been working with children with autism for the past seven years.
Goss has worked with children and families for many years.
She says many families have a hard time dealing with the fact that their child may have been abused.
GOSS: We get a lot of kids who are like, “I’m not safe in the home,” and I’m like, that’s not true.
I know that sometimes we don’t have the ability to be there for them and they feel they can’t speak up.
So that’s one of the challenges for me.
And then they have to deal with the shame and the stigma that comes with that.
GASS: That is a very difficult issue.
GOSKINS: So I think one of my biggest challenges is that we often feel so ashamed and that we don, you know, have that ability to speak up about that.
And it’s really hard to know where to start.GOSS: I think for a lot, the idea of speaking up is to say, “You know, I can’t do this, but I’m here for you.”
It’s hard for people to talk about this stuff.GASS: Yeah.
It’s also very hard for me to go out and be an advocate and advocate for these kids.
GINS: Because I feel like it’s kind of my job, I feel that I have to protect them.
GOST: I do worry about the fact I’m not going to be able to speak out, you get the feeling that it’s just not going away.
It kind of creeps in.GOST: The stigma of it is like, oh, well, that was your fault.
But it’s not.
I feel really guilty.
I’m really sorry that I was able to be around them.
That’s not something I feel good about.
GUSS: And it really does have a really negative effect on these kids because they feel like they have no one.
They feel like if they speak up, someone else is going to get hurt, and they think, Oh, I don’t feel safe.
And they think that if I say something, I’m going to hurt them.GOTH: And I think it’s actually more difficult for kids to get support because they’re so afraid to come forward, because they don’t want to hurt anyone.
GSS: There’s this idea that if you don’t speak out and speak out about this, that you’re somehow not telling the truth, you’re not telling your truth, that maybe you’re lying.
And I actually think that this kind of fear, this sort of thing, is a lot more harmful than anything else.GOSKIN: I remember one time when I went to the store to buy some baby wipes, I was in line, and I was really worried about what they were going to give me.
The clerk said, “Oh, we don.
You’re a mom.”
I thought, Oh my God, I didn’t know that!
GOSS-GOSH: The first thing I told him was, I never heard that from the store manager.
It was my son’s name.
GOTH: I thought I was just going to sit down and tell the truth.
GOSH: And he just laughed.
And he’s like, What is it?
GOSS (CONT’D): Well, I told my husband, “No, no, I think that’s a big mistake.”
And he said, Oh I don.
I think he thinks you’re being stupid.
GOMPS: It’s like he thought you were going in there and he said it in the worst possible way.
GOBST: I don and I have had people come up to me in my office and say, I hope you get a diagnosis, I really hope you do.
Gose is a child advocate at Child Protective Services, a child and family advocate who worked with a mother in her 30s who was abused by a priest for more than 10 years.GOMPS (CONT): I mean, there’s so many people who feel like there’s nothing they can do.
You know, this is like the worst kind of silence that we can have.
I mean people don’t talk about these things.
You don’t hear about them.
You get it from the media.
You never hear about it from any of the experts, but it’s like there is no way to do anything about it.
And there are so many reasons why it is so devastating, and if you can just start talking about it, it could really be really good.
Goss-Gosh: And you know what?
It is a good