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Girl and her kid are so dangerous

Dear Fiona, I've become friendly with a girl who has an 11-year-old daughter and one evening this woman confided why she'd left her husband.

She said she could've lived with his abuse of her but suspected he was also sexually abusing their daughter but had no evidence. She also had a boyfriend who she suspected so she left him too.

I felt sorry for her and said we'd help her when we could. Her new job involves some night shifts so we said we'd mind the child but now really regret it.

She acts really sexually with my husband and tries to do things to him when she doesn't want to go to bed. She acts like some mini Lolita and seriously comes on to him. I'm thinking these men weren't actually abusing her and she's just too developed for her age? Should I tell her mum my suspicions as we're concerned my husband will be blamed wrongly next?

Concerned Neighbour

Dear Concerned Neighbour,

Have you a modicum of understanding about the implications of your ‘suspicions’? Sociologist Finkelhor identified ‘traumatic sexualisation' as being a behavioural manifestation of childhood sexual abuse.

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Behavioural indicators include a wide range of hypersexual behaviours, avoidance, or indulgence in negative sexual encounters. The abused child's sexuality is formed in a developmentally inappropriate, dysfunctional fashion. They learn to use sexual behaviours as a strategy for manipulating others into satisfying developmentally normal needs, such as wanting to stay up later.

Tragically, this behaviour is considered to be one reason why some children are preyed upon by numerous sexual offenders. Paedophiles often misinterpret this sexualised behaviour as an invitation or as evidence of the child's compliance.

There's a possibility that her mother has suffered childhood abuse also as it's frequently multi-generational. Abused children frequently become adults who enter into dysfunctional, abusive relationships and may be unable to protect their own children. Thankfully however, she's had the strength and intuition to leave these abusive men.

Discuss what you've witnessed but don't relay your suspicions.

Support her in seeking counselling.

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