Posted by: Ask Arden | October 11, 2009

Sexual Assault

What do you think would get in the way of a child, teen or young adult sharing with her Mom that she was just raped?

A child, tween and teen can be easily intimidated and threatened especially if the perpetrator is someone they know, like an Uncle, Grandpa, a boyfriend, neighbor,  a sibling or a parent.  I have heard this from patients and students of mine, “If you tell,  I will kill you and your family, no one will believe you, you are overly sensitive and dramatic… Sometimes that’s all it takes to keep tight lipped. The incident(s) can go underground especially if it happens more than once.

When I routinely ask in my practice have you ever been raped, pressured to do something you did not want to do some responses of those that have been traumatized has been, “I don’t want to go there,  I feel like I am out of my body, and I don’t know. 

Many times with my bulimic,  anorexic  and self mutilating patients, after a considerable period of time with me, once they develop trust, share that they were pressured to have un-consensual sex with their boyfriends. The eating disorder serves the function of distracting, numbing them by refocusing them on appearance,  food and weight control.

The reluctance to share the gory details of the rape(s) is so understandable but that is the only road to recovery. Feelings of low self worth, body hatred, shame, humiliation, feeling dirty, enraged, hurt and periodically disconnected, get in the way of functioning to one’s potential. It literally kills one’s spirit. Some females feel not quite alive.

Specifically with our daughters how do we arm them and how do we know if our daughter was raped?

 We want them to feel the world is their oyster. Yes,  but we also want them to come and talk with us especially if something awful happens. As Moms we need to be warm, approachable, and able to hear some information that could blow us away.

If we see and feel our daughter acting somewhat out of character that she is behaving more testy, sensitive, moody, angrier than usual, as Moms we need to say something to her.

A conversation starter could hypothetically occur in your car with the music on. Honey, I am concerned about you. You don’t seem to be yourself lately. What’s going on with you sweetie?

Open ended questions and comments of support would be the direction I would suggest. You may be surprised that she shares a bit. Don’t expect it all at once, unless the time is incredibly right.

If she doesn’t want to talk at all I suggest you say something like, When you feel like sharing anything, because I feel you are not yourself, my door and heart is always open.

The other approach, which I briefly spoke about in the WGN TV segment was that Mom needs to do a bit of snooping especially if she suspects something dicey going on. If she finds some entries in her daughter’s journal that pin point something sexual that was not consensual, than Mom you need to bring it up. Expect initial anger and your daughter feeling intruded on, all understandable.

Again position yourself coming from a place of love and wanting to help her. It’s worth her anger, that will pass, but the pain of an undiscovered rape won’t unless it’s shared!

Take a look at my first posting about my angel, a 14 year old, who will inspire those of you that have been raped and sexually molested to step forward. 

Looking forward to your comments on both Sexual Assault postings.

Blessings to you all.



  1. Great article Arden, very well written and I totally agree!


    • Thanks Vanessa. I really value your feedback. Looking forward to connecting with you for a guest blog when you return from traveling.

  2. you go my auntie good work will call u later its your angle

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