Rafael Núñez | September 18, 2015 at 08:37 am
Emma Charles thought that she and her family were living a normal life. But then she discovered that her husband had been sexually abusing their daughter Tamsin since the age of ten. Twelve years on, Emma recalls that devastating day and the traumatic events that followed
In many ways, we were an ordinary family – mum, dad, two kids, a Volvo in the drive. And in some ways we weren’t so ordinary. As a ship’s engineer, my husband Daniel worked away from home for up to four months at a time. But I never for a moment dreamt that we were extraordinary – until
It started out fine, that Tuesday in December 1996. Our younger daughter, Claire, 13, was at school, and I was looking forward to spending some time with Tamsin, who had just broken up for the holidays. At 15, she was a weekly boarder at a specialist school for high-ability dyslexics.
We chatted about what she was going to do. That was when the first hint of discord arose. Tamsin and I squabbled, like all mothers and daughters. But that day she was impervious to reasoned argument. She began making hurtful personal attacks on her father and me, something she had never done. At bedtimewe kissed goodnight, but for the first time we parted with a coolness between us.
The following evening, I was in the living room when she burst in, flung a piece of paper at me and stormed out. ‘I have to leave or he has to,’ she had written. ‘And you seem to need him. And f*** you, you probably won’t believe me anyway.’ She was talking about her father – telling me that he had been sexually abusing her for the past five years. In the seconds it took me to absorb her words, my world came tumbling down.
I found her down the road with her dog. ‘Come home and tell me about it,’ I begged. She looked into my eyes and must have been reassured by what she saw. ‘He won’t leave me alone,’ she cried. ‘He’s always feeling me up. He brushes against my breasts so I know it’s not accidental, but he could persuade someone else it was.’
Hope blossomed in my mind. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding, an over-tactile father who would have to learn to respect his daughter’s personal space. ‘Has he ever touched you between your legs?’ I asked. ‘Last time he was home on leave,’ she sobbed.
Tears were falling from my eyes as I looked up the number for social services and picked up the phone. I just knew I had to do the right thing.
Daniel and I had been married for 18 years. I was 27 when we met, working as a medical photographer; he was a year older and at college, studying for his Second Engineer’s certificate. He was tall and slim with auburn hair and blue-grey eyes and a full beard and moustache. And he was gentle, laid-back – all the things I wasn’t. Within a week, I had decided he was the man with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life. We married the following year.
I hadn’t wanted children. It was Daniel who felt that we wouldn’t be a ‘proper family’ without them. Tamsin was conceived two years after our wedding, and Claire came along two and a half years after that. As it turned out, I loved being a mother and Daniel was good with the girls as babies. But as they grew up, he changed. His own parents had been authoritarian, and not reluctant to use a belt to hit their children. He, too, resorted to smacking and violence.
One incident in particular stands out. When the girls were seven and four, I noticed ‘fingertip’ bruising on Claire’s arm. I really went for Daniel, threatening to kick him out if he couldn’t control his temper. He was angry with me for taking him to task; but when he realised I was serious, he backed down and apologised. Over and over again, we talked about what was reasonable behaviour and over and over he agreed with me. But his efforts to improve never lasted long.
Why did I stay with him if things were so bad? Well, they weren’t bad all the time. Mostly, we had a good family life. I knew the harm that divorce causes to children. I still loved Daniel and I thought we could make it work. Until that day.
Daniel was in the Far East when Tamsin wrote her devastating note. Social services set up an appointment for the following Monday. Meanwhile, I had to address another horrible thought. Gently, I asked Claire if her dad had ever touched her. ‘He used to come and give me back rubs,’ she replied. ‘But I liked that…’ ‘Nothing else?’ I asked. ‘He asked me to take off my T-shirt, but I just said no. And once he tried to give me a tummy rub, but I wouldn’t let him.’
It was becoming clearer now. Claire has always been an upfront child. Whenever anything was worrying her, she would come and tell me. If only Tamsin had been the same.
I’m not going to describe Tamsin’s statement to social services. Listening to her engraved pictures on my mind which I still have trouble banishing today. The police also took statements and arranged a medical examination. Several weeks later, Daniel was arrested as he stepped off a flight from Jakarta. DC Barbara White from the sexual offences unit called later to tell me: ‘He’s admitted everything. It’s a very credible confession. He wants me to tell you that he’s never raped Tamsin, and he’s never been unfaithful to you with anyone else.’
I cried my eyes out. Even though I was convinced Tamsin had been telling the truth, still a tiny part of me had hoped it was all a mistake.
Daniel was bailed, with strict conditions not to approach either Tamsin or me. I had imagined that he would be feeling crushed and placatory. I was soon to discover how little I knew him. Within a few days, a letter from him arrived informing me that his mother was bitter that I had not kept our troubles ‘within the family’. So that was it. I was to be blamed for reporting the abuse. This was my first experience of the denial which abusers use to protect themselves from acknowledging the harm they have caused. Who is protected by dealing with such matters within the family? Only the abuser.
Child sex abusers do not believe that what they do is wrong. They convince themselves that the child wants it to happen as much as they do; indeed, it is not uncommon for them to blame the child for leading them on. It is in this denial that the danger to other children lies. If an abuser does not believe that what he does is harmful, he has no reason not to do it again.
Of course, we as a society are also in denial. We warn our children about ‘stranger danger’, but the truth is that the vast majority of abused children are abused by relatives or close friends. We would much rather objectify offenders and think of them as shadowy figures, totally unlike those we know. Until we stop burying our heads in the sand nothing will change. This is the bottom line. And one abused child is one too many.
Rafael Núñez | September 17, 2015 at 07:30 am
A new YouTube video that has been watched 10 million times in two days shows how willing teenage girls are to meet a stranger they have only talked to online. A 22-year-old man masquerading as a 15-year-old boy named “Jason” adds three girls as friends on Facebook. Within three days, the girls agreed to meet him. “She said OK I’ll be there in five minutes,” he said, referring to one of the girls. Coby Persin, a YouTube prankster, came up with the pedophile experiment and enlisted parents’ help on Craigslist. Each thought their child would never go through with the meeting. “God I hope she doesn’t open that door,” the girl’s mother said. “She won’t do it.” (more…)
Rafael Núñez | September 11, 2015 at 11:17 am
What is considered pedophilia? What are the causes of pedophilia? Pedophilia can be considered as an abnormal or unnatural attraction for minors involving the fantasy and acts related to sexual activity with children. This type of practice is not approved by one of the parties involved. According to the Dutch neurologist Dick Swaab, pedophilia can have different causes:
The problem may be due to brain tumors in the temporal cortex or the hypothalamus of a patient; it can be result of a brain surgery to cure epilepsy, brain infections, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and various types of dementia or brain trauma. However, these cases are rare. Probably in most cases, there are genetic causes as well as the interaction between sex hormones of the fetus and the brain before birth.
A Clinical Trial. All brain studies have been performed with small and unrepresentative samples of pedophiles because most of them know how to control their impulses, do not commit crimes and are either under study. To end with the taboo in that research will probably provide information about the real factors of the problem and about the best way to control impulses and prevent relapse. Thus, much suffering would be prevented for everyone involved.
Other Data. There is a myth that women are not involved in this type of child sexual abuse, however, this is obsolete. Child sexual abuse is often reduced to the cases of mothers who abuse their own children. The victims are mostly girls with an average age of six years. This is usually caused because of poverty, lack of education, psychological problems, psychosis and addiction.
Numbers are also alarming: between 5-25% of girls and 5-15% of boys suffer some form of sexual abuse, usually before the age of 11. Most of these abuses are committed by friends or relatives of the victim. Most of abusers are men and 5-10% are women.
Rafael Núñez | September 10, 2015 at 02:33 pm
Rafael Núñez | September 9, 2015 at 01:53 pm
WOODRUFF, SC (FOX Carolina) -A Woodruff mother has been charged after deputies found five children, including a paralyzed girl covered with insect bites, living in a filthy . Crystal Lawson, 35, has been charged with five counts of unlawful neglect of a . Spartanburg County deputies visited the home on Snowmill Road after receiving reports of the home and children’s conditions from a family member, investigative reports state.
Rafael Núñez | September 8, 2015 at 01:12 pm
Tamara Zeno and her husband, Tony Zeno, are behind bars following child abuse allegations.
Tamara teaches English, speech, and drama at Cyril High School in Caddo County; Cyril Superintendent Jamie Mitchell said Tamara has been a model employee for the past three years.
However, her stepson paints a very different picture of her, alleging she hit him with a golf club.
Police are investigating what happened inside a southwest Oklahoma City home, where a 10-year-old boy was visiting for two months over the summer.
That’s where his father, Tony Zeno, and stepmom, Tamara, live.
The boy actually lives with his mother in Colorado. She says he came home looking thinner, and had horror stories to tell about his stay in Oklahoma.
“Obviously, things that cross the line of what a parent can do as far as disciplining a child,” MSgt. Gary Knight said.
The boy’s mother called police in Colorado.
The boy told investigators Tony Zeno choked him, and Tamara Zeno zip-tied him to a chair and forced him to sleep like that. He said the couple also forced him to swallow peroxide and soap. He even said Tamara hit him with a golf club.
Colorado police started an investigation.
The Oklahoma City police report does not say if there is evidence that matches his story.
“I had no idea there was anything like that, most of the people in the neighborhood seem like really nice people. I’m really shocked,” neighbor Tom Johnson said.
Tony and Tamara Zeno were interviewed Tuesday at police headquarters where officers arrested them.
They’re facing multiple charges, including child abuse and child neglect.
As for the boy, he is safe at home with his mother in Colorado.
Superintendent Mitchell said Tamara is still employed with Cyril Public Schools, and substitutes are covering her classes.
He told us he’ll make a decision about her job there once they learn more from police.
Rafael Núñez | September 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm
A Granada judge investigating a complaint filed against 10 local priests and two laypeople for pedophilia has ordered the first arrests in the case.
Three priests, all believed to be members of the ultraconservative group known as Los Romanones, and a layperson were detained on Monday and taken to National Police headquarters.
Among those arrested is Father Román V., the alleged head of the group
Rafael Núñez | September 4, 2015 at 12:05 pm
Retired judge Sir Anthony Hart is leading the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) probe, one of the UK’s largest inquiries into physical, sexual and emotional harm to children at homes run by the church, state and voluntary organisations.
Its seventh module, expected to last until November, will focus on allegations arising out of St Patrick’s Training School and Hydebank Young Offenders’ Centre in Belfast, Rathgael Training School in Bangor and Lisnevin Training School in Newtownards.
Rafael Núñez | September 3, 2015 at 11:57 am
Some signs of child abuse are more obvious than others, but all children require us to be aware.
Possible Signs of Physical or Sexual Child Abuse
- Behavior changes such as fear, anxiety, depression, aggression or withdrawal, not wanting to go home, or appearing afraid of certain individuals
- Overly sexualized behavior or use of explicit sexual language that’s inappropriate for the child’s age
- Changes in sleeping patterns including frequent nightmares, difficulty falling asleep. Both may result in the child appearing tired or fatigued