Monday, November 20, 2006

A Second Child Molestation Story on Dr. Phil Aired Last Week

I am blogging about this to continue a communication of mainstream TV shows addressing the topic of child molestation. It is my goal to play a small part in sharing information about child molestation and child abuse of all types in order to raise society’s awareness that this really does happen, to help parents prevent their child from getting abused and also to spread information about treatment and the aftermath that victims and families go through.

On November 17, 2006 a Dr. Phil show that aired was called “In-Laws Dirty Secrets Exposed”.

That title was not exactly fitting to the content, in my opinion. The whole hour was dedicated to this one story and the whole thing was wrapped up in one episode. This is the second story of nearly identical content on the Dr. Phil show in the last two weeks.

In this episode it was revealed that a mother-in-law doesn’t like her son-in-law. She did not like him before he married her daughter. The married couple has one child aged three (a daughter) and the mother is six weeks pregnant with a second child right now.

The mother expressed she does not like the discipline methods of the son-in-law. Her daughter is in agreement with her husband’s methods.

A relative reported seeing the father have the daughter on his lap and put his hand up her dress and doing a rubbing motion. The father denies this. The relative provided those details to the state’s Department of Children and Families (or whatever they call that department in that state). The one who phoned DCF was the mother-in-law. The mother-in-law stated she heard this eyewitness account and phoned an 800 number and was told to report it and not to tell her daughter or the son-in-law that she was doing that. A man in the audience who was working on the case (from DCF) said that it was the right thing to do.

There is an investigation still going on with DCF for this case.

Dr. Phil hired an expert in lie detection to give the father a polygraph test. He ‘passed’ the test, indicating he did not abuse his daughter. Again, the mother of the child has no suspicions about this.

As the story unfolded some information came out. Dr. Phil suspects the mother-in-law was over-reacting to these allegations because her own daughter (the mother on the show) was sexually abused at age 11. The story unfolds that the daughter was molested in some way by a male relative. The daughter says she told her mother. The mother claimed she never knew the details. The daughter said her mother said to “keep it in the family” and to not tell anyone else. The mother denied saying that. A social worker used to visit the family. The daughter said she didn’t tell as her mother said not to. The mother denied that. Lastly, the mother knowingly put the daughter with this male relative again when the girl was 13 and she was molested AGAIN. Nothing was done after that either. The mother seemed to me to be in denial as she was changing her story to say she never knew what happened then later said she knew she was molested yet did nothing. Then she said she wanted it to be kept in the family and to let the family handle it yet later she said she never said that.

So anyway the show was not that sensational in nature. It was a sad story to me because the woman who was molested twice at age 11 and 13 appeared to not have healed from that experience. It was obvious her mother was not addressing the situation properly. At least (hooray), Dr. Phil gave her heck about knowingly putting her daughter in harm’s way with that man, which really, there was no excuse for. I was also happy, of course, to have heard that it doesn’t seem according to the polygraph test that the girl was really molested.

As I said earlier this month another story was done where a father was accused of sexually molesting his daughter from her second birthday to the present, and she is three years old now (three an a half, actually). That was drawn out into a three part show and in that show the father failed the polygraph test. I blogged about part one and two of that show, here and about the conclusion/part three, here if you are interested in knowing more about those shows and reading what I had to say about them.

Both of these Dr. Phil show situations used lie detector tests (polygraph tests) to try to help determine if sexual abuse of these young girls had taken place or not.

Lastly I am surprised that there is so much in the media about child molestation lately! Last year Bill O’Reilly started talking about it a lot. It has been featured on recent Dateline NBC shows and also a recent Oprah show. Perhaps this topic has finally tipped, to borrow a phrase from Malcolm Gladwell.

If, as a parent, you want to learn more about this topic and about keeping your kids safe, the best source of information I can give to you would be to read the book “Protecting the Gift” by Gavin de Becker. This book reveals signs to watch for in potential molesters (common traits they have), signs that a child is presently being groomed for molestation or is already hiding the secret that they were molested, what to tell your children, how to teach yourself and your children to trust their intuition about other people and lastly signs and symptoms that abuse has already taken place.

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Amanda said...

I'm really glad that you decided to write about this subject. I think Protecting the Gift should be required reading for all parents.

christinemm said...

Amanda I completely agree with you, every single parent should read "Protecting the Gift" before their child is born, or if not then, before age three (the age at which most sexual molestation can begin, according to that book). If not then, then right now, no matter what age your child is.

For those who have not read it the book also addresses teenagers.