Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Why not him?

At bedtime one evening last year, my then 5 year old daughter told me that her dad had been abusing her, I won't go into detail but it was horrific and my brain just melted. I didn't know what to say or what to do or how to react to her.

I called the police who came to speak to her with 2 social workers, they introduced themselves to her and told her what they were there for. My daughter was embarrassed and shy. They spend at most 20 minutes with her asking her questions, but she kept evading the subject and saying it was too rude and she doesn't like saying rude words. They said she could use another word that she felt better with but all she would do is stick her finger in my mouth and say suck the blood out. One of the officers asked me if she's always like this....because she kept trying to change the subject and show them her toys. That really bothered me.

They left and closed the case. That's the end of that.

The next day she told me more details about her dad. I called Social services this time. They came to visit again and I had to give a detailed interview, they asked me about my finances, about my relationships, about my childhood, they asked if I had been abused as a child (I haven't) They kept asking my daughter who sleeps in mummy's bed, they asked her that a lot. I had been split with her dad for 3 years and have been single ever since, so obviously my daughter has never known anybody to be in my bed. But they kept asking and she kept telling them nobody unless she was poorly then she slept with me.

They asked if they could interview my parents, so they interviewed my dad about my childhood, whether I was happy, how was his relationship with my daughter and they also confirmed to me that they had checked their records and they have no record of me being involved with Social services before and no record of abuse. Yes I know, I told you this....All the time I'm wondering why my daughters voice isn't being heard. They said maybe she'd overheard somebody saying something. She knows exactly who her Daddy is and she doesn't have any knowledge outside of cbeebies and reception school. The things she said are detailed and disgusting and her little face when she told me was one I had never seen before...shame and trying to get me to be OK with it.

They interviewed my 14 year old son, they checked with his school and asked for a record of his attendance and behavior. They checked my daughters school for the same reports. Because you see if they had had a lot of time off school then this 'doesn't look good'. They both had great school records. They said maybe she has seen something in my son's room. I explained that although they love each other, they really don't like each other that much. She is not allowed in his room and she is like my shadow, she doesn't leave my side at home. Again, I told them she said it was her Daddy and she knows exactly who her Daddy is.

They asked my daughter if it really happened or she made it up, because it's OK if she made it up she won't be in any trouble. She told them it really happened but she still won't go into detail with them. My daughter then starting having a tic, it started in her mouth and nose and developed into a head shake, a year later it's still going but back to the nose and throat noises.

I asked if he was being interviewed they said no, they had called him to let him know but he had demanded a meeting with her and that I be there, she said he just wanted to ask me if I really thought he would do anything like that. Of course I didn't think he would do anything like that, if I even had an inkling she wouldn't have been around him. She said do I really not want to meet him. NO!

He made a lot of false allegations about me being mentally unstable. They had to be investigated. When I was pregnant with my daughter I had depression, the hormones were too much and yes, I did have a problem with my mental health at that time, but once she was born and my hormones went back to normal, I was fine. This was a massive focus for the 'investigation' and they asked me to sign to release my medical records. I did.

They asked for my daughters records too, I said I had bought her to the GP on a number of occasions when she was little because she always said she had 'sore bits' and she held onto her poo. She was scared to go to the toilet.

Social services also told me that her father now has a heroin addiction and she was angry at him for not disclosing that information earlier.

Then nothing.

I called the social worker almost daily, I want to know what's going on, what do we do next. What about my daughter is that it? I can't believe I have been under investigation and nobody is hearing my daughters voice.

I got a report detailing the investigation, which said when asked about her dad she went silly and purposely changed the subject or said silly things. It advised that as she is no longer in contact with him and is safe, they are closing the investigation. But he has said he is going to contact a solicitor because he wants custody and that they suggest I contact a solicitor too. That was that.

Obviously I haven't told many people because I don't want people to talk about her or think differently of her. The same cannot be said for him. I have people stopping my family and asking why I made this up. He has told anyone who will listen what an evil person I am.

He has moved to the same area as us. I fear going to the shops in case we bump into him, I run through every scenario possible but I still don't know what I would do if I were to see him. He hasn't tried to contact us which I feel is an admission of guilt in itself, but he did send a note in a xmas card saying he doesn't hold a grudge.

My daughter was abused by her own father, yet I was the one under investigation and my daughter has not had any justice. We are being victimised by people who used to be our friends but now believe his lies. We were let down by the police and let down by social services.

I felt a bit weird having 2 officers and 2 social workers in my house, so how can a 5 year old girl be expected to feel comfortable sharing information that she's kept secret for as long as she can remember. Why was my whole family under investigation but he wasn't? why isn't my daughter believed and given the time and resources to work with her to make her feel safe enough to disclose to them? Why is there no support for children who have been abused or non abusing parents? Why does she have to live with this for the rest of her life and feel like nobody believed her?

Why us and not him?

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3 thoughts on “Why not him?

  • Meg Underdown says:

    It sounds like they asked too many leading questions, unlike the way I was taught over 20 years ago. She should have been allowed to use anatomically correct dolls, not use words. Have you been in touch with children’s ombudsman or is it only Wales has one?

  • Jenny says:

    I am so angry for you and your Daughter and feel so sorry for her, keep looking and finding people who will support you, there are many feminist groups and organisations and charities that could put you in touch with people and the Ombudsman is a good idea, overworked local authorities have to listen if you make noise, above their heads and all around them.

  • Anon says:

    I felt so upset reading your story. It seems very easy for a man to say that the mother of his child is mentally ill and that colours everything she says. When will social services, the police, courts realise that this is a common tactic of abusive men, to impute a mental disorder. Maybe, if agencies looked beyond this smokescreen ( for so often it is), then they will see what it is hiding. I really feel for you. I wish there was something I could do.