Would YOUR child ever tell you if their babysitter molested them?
Do you have enough trust built with your child that he or she would immediately report to you that the babysitter “touched” them “funny”?
Many children who are molested by a babysitter don’t report this crime until years later, and still many others—you can be sure—bring this secret to their grave.
Why don’t some children tell their parents the babysitter molested them?
Let’s assume that the victim is old enough to tell Mom or Dad that something bad happened, that a touch on their body made them feel uncomfortable.
“Some kids who get molested by a babysitter are afraid to report this to their parents because they blame themselves for what happened,” says Carole Lieberman, MD, a forensic psychiatrist, expert on bullying and author of Lions and Tigers and Terrorists, Oh My! How to Protect Your Child in a Time of Terror.
Why would a young child blame themselves for such an awful thing?
This is rooted in the parent-child dynamic, the environment the victim has been growing up in.
Certainly, a 15-year-old babysitter who’s new to the family can’t possibly wield more influence than the woman who’s been raising the victim since infancy.
Perhaps in the home environment, the victim is often getting blamed for mishaps or made to feel responsible for bad things that happen, or is made to feel defective by a bullying parent.
So when the babysitter commits the crime—it’s second nature for the victim to stay silent.
Dr. Lieberman adds that the molestation victim can “also feel humiliated and ashamed, even though it’s not their fault. And they are afraid that the babysitter will deny it and the parents won’t believe them.”
How disturbing that a child could actually think their parents would never believe them—that their parents would take the side of a babysitter whom they may have just met the week before! Whose fault is it that the victim thinks this way? Not the victim’s!
When my niece was five, she was fondled by her 14-year-old first cousin once-removed.
He had just pulled down her pants when she bolted and reported this to her parents, who were in another room of the house. She believed her parents would believe her. And they did.
There are five-year-olds out there who get violated more seriously than my niece did—violated by a babysitter, maybe a cousin, a neighbor—who would be fearful of reporting this to the very people who are supposed to protect them: their parents.
This reflects the parents’ failure to be trustworthy to their child, to present themselves as strong and heroic.
A young girl should see her mother as her hero, someone who will always go to bat for her yet also teach her how to pound a home run.
A young boy should worship his dad and see him as a powerhouse who will protect him while also empower him.
Sadly, some molestation victims fear their parents more than their assailant!
Yes, there really ARE parents who will blame their child! Or they’ll just shove everything under the rug and pretend nothing happened—and the victim knows this ahead of time, and hence, will never report that the babysitter molested them.
Dr. Lieberman analyzes the psychological impact of world events, as a guest and/or host on all major media outlets. Her appearances include “Larry King Live,” “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Entertainment Tonight,” CNN and Fox News.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.