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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5804
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi. I will tell you more when you answer, but the subject is

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Hi. I will tell you more when you answer, but the subject is child sex abuse (of my child by another). I hope you don't mind.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


Can you tell me more about the situation? If you can, details such as ages when the abuse occurred, any treatment the victim and perpetrator has had, the symptoms or problems the victim has now and what the current situation is helps a lot.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hello Kate,

Yes, I'm sorry not to have told you more in the beginning, I'm a little embarrassed for my son. He was 3 at the time, the other boy 12. I assume you would call it abuse, he was made to touch the other boy to produce an erection, on several occasions over a period of about 4 months before it came to our attention, and he was very upset about it. Unfortunately nothing was done at the time as my husband and I were not sure what to do about it. The other boy was a friends son, who he loved, and would do anything to please him. We had to stop seeing these friends, but kept things as friendly as possible.

He has low self confidence a poor self esteem, and has not had a girlfriend to speak of. He has been a victim of bullying all through his primary and middle school years, being very shy and introverted. Now he struggles with concentration and has no focus for his future. He did well at school but now is failing at college. He gets upset easily and has mood swings.

I don't know if what happened back then has any bearing on the way he is now, and he probably won't remember it anyway. I'm trying to look at things from all angles. He hasn't shown any signs of inappropriate interest in porn as far as I know.

What I think I'd like to know is, what does that sort of thing do to little children's psyche? And if left as we did, are there long term effects. Are some of his insecurities possibly because of what happened then? Is it possible for this to have a bearing on his sexual orientation?

Many thanks for your input.

Thank you for the information. I am glad you told me, and I'd like to help.


What the other child did to your son was sexual abuse. Anytime a child is used sexually whether it is through touching or actual intercourse, it is considered abuse.


It is unlikely your son recalls the abuse. At age 3, most children have what is called childhood amnesia. Most people cannot recall their lives before age 4. It is a naturally occurring amnesia, not a repression by your son of the abuse. If your son was affected, you would see more acting out from him. However, if you feel he would benefit from an evaluation, that would help rule out any issues. To find a therapist, ask your doctor for a referral. Or you can search on line at


What your son is struggling with now most likely has to do with something else rather than the abuse. The bullying at school may have caused him to feel bad about himself and may affect his ability to learn and his confidence. It sounds like he may also have depression. Mood swings and lack of motivation are two very common symptoms of depression.


Therapy would help. Also, if you feel your son is open to self help, he can try to work on his issues at home. Here are some resources to help:


Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You by Richard O'Connor


Talking to Depression: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your LifeIs Depressed: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your Life Is Depressed by Claudia J. Strauss and Martha Manning


You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.


Try the on line resources and see if you feel the information fits what your son is experiencing. And if I can do more to help, please let me know.



TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your response. I'm glad that there are unlikely to be lasting effects from it. I will talk to him carefully to find out more about how he is feeling, I hope he isn't too depressed. I will certainly find him a therapist.
You have been very helpful.

You are very welcome!


I think with some therapy, your son should do much better. The self help material may be very helpful to him as well. Depression at this time in his life is common with all the changes and pressures.


Please let me know if I can do more to help. If you would like to request my help again, just put my name in front of your question so other experts know that we are working on something together. I would be glad to answer any other questions you might have.


Take care,


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX course. I haven't overlooked the other links and will certainly put those forward to him too. It is such a shame to think that he may be depressed so young, my heart strings have been pulled many times when I have heard about what he has had to put up with at school, picked on because he is no good at sport, and used to fall over and cry a lot. Or intentionally wound up to get a reaction because the kids know it will be worth watching. Even as recently as a year ago some-one stamped on his school bag knowing there was an apple in the front pocket. When he realised what had happened, and all his books were in a mess, he got the smashed apple and rubbed it in the hair of the boy he thought had done the deed. That boy, 2 years older and much stronger, took him outside and started punching him up against a wall. I was called to take him to the ED for X-rays, but he was just scraped and bruised. I think I may have been over-protective of him as a young child but I'm glad in a way that he retaliates to a certain degree, though he wouldn't have fought back, he was too scared.

I am very happy to have talked with you. I will be pleased to ask for you again if I have further questions.