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When is inappropriate sexual behaviour in minors, abuse?

(42 Posts)
mamadadawahwah Fri 01-Apr-05 23:48:00

I know this is a fiercely emotional subject but i wanted to know what you would call a boy of 7 who "forced" himself on a girl of 5? Is it abuse, is it "exploration" is it a power thing? In minors so young, what do the authorities deem it as? This is a case of a friend of a friend of a friend, if you know what i mean. Nothing is being done about it by either parents. Girls parents and the girl are too traumatised and the other side are in denial. Its not a police matter but yet the girl needs some help. Mind you maybe it is a police matter if the little boy was acting out "learned" behaviour. What do you think?

hunkermunker Fri 01-Apr-05 23:51:51

I would want to know how a seven-year-old boy knew what to do - I think that's worrying.

Did he actually do the deed? Poor girl (and to a certain extent, poor boy - there's something very wrong there...)

JanH Fri 01-Apr-05 23:52:06

Not a police matter, no. Social Services, yes. A 7-yr-old should not be behaving like this - he has seen/learned things he shouldn't know about yet - it needs to be dealt with by professionals.

mamadadawahwah Fri 01-Apr-05 23:54:16

Because i am friends with this family i dont want to divulge too much of their personal info. I am party to the whole thing, having been asked for advice and really dont know what to tell them except go to SS. But that might be more traumatising for little girl. I dont know i agree that the little boy should not have those "behaviours" at that age. Anything could have happened to him.

Caligula Fri 01-Apr-05 23:56:28

When you say he "forced" himself on her, do you mean he actually raped her?

If that happened, then it is extremely abnormal behaviour in a 7 year old, and imo his parents have no right to be in denial about it. I wouldn't call it abuse, because he is far too young to be held responsible for his behaviour, but if this really happened, it's not just the little girl who needs help, he obviously does too.

sparklymieow Sat 02-Apr-05 00:12:45

My SIL has just gone through this with her DD2, a 10 year old forced himself on her when she was 8 (2 years ago) he didn't manage to get it in, but niece ia very tramatised by it. SIL went to SS and a SW came and saw them. As far as I know, nothing has happened to the boy yet. We all think its learnt behaviour too.
My DS is 7 and he has no idea about sex yet, I find it scary that a child the same age would know about it TBH

starlover Sat 02-Apr-05 11:11:33

Another take on this... I used to look after 6 children, the older 5 were boys.
At one point when the little girl was about 2 her next 2 older brothers (4 and 6) were very curious about sex. Presumably having heard about it in the playground, or asking where she had come from...

They found it all hilarious, and we had much talk about "sexing" people during meal times! however they had NO idea of what it really meant, or any "sexual" feelings regarding it.. all they knew was that a daddy puts his willy in a mummy.

I had them in the bath one evening when the 4 year old asked if he could "sex" his sister! I said no, and explained that we don't do that to brothers or sisters. But later that evening found the 3 of them in the bedroom playing at "sexing" each other!

In this case it was merely exploration. They wanted to know what it was all about.
So my point is, that there ARE reasons why a boy of child would know the ins and outs of sex.

A lot of children get over-enthusiastic with hugs for example.... maybe this is just taking it one step further. Children don't always know when to stop.

Of course, I am not saying that it is always this innocent. It would depend on the situation.

At the end of the day it is up to the parents involved to do something about it. If the girl is really that traumatised, and if they believe that there was some kind of sexual intent on behalf of the boy (which I personally find hard to believe)... then they should either have gone to the police or social services.

mamadadawahwah Sat 02-Apr-05 19:20:46

starlover, you will remember the terrible case of jamie bulger. If young boys can murder a toddler, they can surely sexually "assault" a girl younger than them too. Time to get into the real world. The intent of a 7 year old boy to "force" himself upon a child younger than he may not be due to his own sexual "awakening" but the effect of someone else having "awakened" him, ie. him being abused. I think once that door opens for a child, all kinds of things could happen. So, yes i agree it probably was not a result of the boy's sexual "intent", but the result of someone elses actions upon him which he then projected onto the little girl.

In this case, i am stuck in the middle and can provide no advice but for the parents of the girl to go to S Services. However, they fear their little one may be more traumatised due to the lousy track record social services has. At the end of the day its their decision i suppose. I just wish someone could tell me what to say to them.

JanH Sat 02-Apr-05 19:28:18

Could the parents ring NSPCC/Childline/some other private child welfare agency to begin with? (Not that I agree that Social Services would traumatise her, we only ever hear about the cases that go wrong, there are thousands of others.)

Socci Sat 02-Apr-05 19:36:49

Message withdrawn

stitch Sat 02-Apr-05 19:42:57

i dont think the issue here is whether the boy actually managed to get in her or not. its a power issue. andif the little girl is as traumatised as you say, then the boy knew what he was doing was wrong. in this instance he is not an innocent. he is probably acting out behaviour he has seen somewhere, or, and i hope this is not the case, has been done to him. either way, i think he needs some serious help. and punishment. i dont know what though. but i think the majority of seven year old boys would know when they are doing something that is hurting a younger child.
from what i remember about the jamie bulger case, the problem was that the kids knew what they were doing was wrong, but did it anyways.

stitch Sat 02-Apr-05 19:44:00

in english law, a child under ten is not considered criminally responsible. but that doesnt mean that a seven year old doesnt know when he is hurting someone.

anchovies Sat 02-Apr-05 19:49:35

mamadawahwah I think starlover was just saying that it is possible that it wasn't anything sinister, however if the girl is traumatised (by what happened not by anyone elses response to it) then clearly it wasn't innocent exploration.

I think social services definitely need to be involved if (as you are obviously inclined to think) the boy may have been abused.

starlover Sat 02-Apr-05 19:53:33

the boys who murdered jamie bulger were a lot older than 7

starlover Sat 02-Apr-05 19:54:26

and quite frankly if this young girl is THAT traumatised... and if you think that the boy has learned this behaviour then I find it quite odd that you can stand by and say nothing.

Caligula Sat 02-Apr-05 19:56:56

Mamadadetc., when you say the boy's parents are in denial, what do you mean?

Do you mean they are denying that this incident took place?

What were the circumstances?

mamadadawahwah Sat 02-Apr-05 20:02:17

Uh, starlover, what an attitude!! First its not my child, what do you want me to do. Second, i havent "stood by" but have offered all kinds of roads to take. The parents obviously want to do what is right for their daughter. Their prime concern is their daughter and not the little boy. He has his own parents and they are responsible for him.

What is odd about that?? The fact i am on mumsnet trying to get advice on what to say to these people illustrates that i am concerned, very concerned for this young girl. I cant MAKE the parents do anything.

I want to win them over to go to social services and get their daughter some psychological help. If you "railroad" someone about what they "should" do with their kids, you will inevitably cause friction, exactly what i dont want to do. If i was in their position, i would not want that either. Its a matter of treading softly. Frankly the answer is staring them in the face and i dont understand the whole scenario. but as an outsider I really want to help them.

anchovies Sat 02-Apr-05 20:05:28

Personally I think telling starlover to get in the real world when she was just offering another take on the situation was a bit unfair though, think you may have got her back up a bit.

mamadadawahwah Sat 02-Apr-05 20:05:51

Caligula, the parents of the boy deny absolutely that their son did anything. They in fact blame the little girl for lying. Allegedly the little boy used force on the girl and threatened her to keep schtum. Thus he knew what he was doing was wrong.

The fact that the little girl who now, does not sleep well and is having all kinds of "behaviours" does not convince the boys parents one iota. Not that they have to be convinced. If it were my daughter, i would know my immediate action and reaction but everybody is different. The little boy is a member of the little girl's family and her parents dont want to get a huge family fight going (no excuse i know)

Its quite horrendous really! They are so worried about themselves, that she is left by the wayside having to cope with this on her own.

Caligula Sat 02-Apr-05 20:07:04

Actually, in this situation, I hope that I would put my duty to the other child on the same level as my duty to my own child. If that boy is being abused, to stand by and say that it's none of my business because I'm only concerned for my own child's welfare, is imo despicable.

Not saying you are Mamadadetc., I can see you're in a very difficult position with your friends, but there are situations in life when you just bloody well have to do the right thing, and this is one of them.

Standing by and allowing that child possibly to be regularly sexually abused for the next few years, is simply not a moral position for anyone to take, however concerned they are for their own child's welfare.

stitch Sat 02-Apr-05 20:07:20

others may thinnk this is meddling, but i think you should go speak to their health visitor about this.
we cant do anything, but mayber she can help

starlover Sat 02-Apr-05 20:07:59

well, you came on here asking what we would think about the situation.

I gave you my opinion and you tell me i'm wrong.

So... what's the point of asking if yuo already have your mind made up?

And IMO going to SS isn't necessarily the best thing to do.
My cousin was innapropriately touched by her grandfather when she was 8. She eventually told my Aunt, but they didn;'t report it.
My cousin didn't want to talk about it after she had told my aunt, and was quite insistent that she would not talk to anyone else. In the end my aunt decided that it would do no good at all to make her go through it over and over again with a bunch of strangers. She got through it her own way. She is now 12 and has not been affected by this long term simply because she had no psychological help at the time.

What annoys me is that you come on here asking people what they think, you say that the girl needs help and insist that it is not an innocent mistake, and yet you don't want to do anything about it. If you think the only way forward is to talk the parents round, and if that is what you are doing.... then what more do you want people on here to say???

At the end of the day no, it isn't your daughter, and as such you have to let her parents make the decisions as to what is done.

Caligula Sat 02-Apr-05 20:08:26

Bloody hell the plot thickens. They are related? OMG, even more difficult.

starlover Sat 02-Apr-05 20:09:25

AND, saying that the little boy has his own parents who are responsible for him, when you suspect he could be being abused, or watching some kind of abuse is outright STUPID.

mamadadawahwah Sat 02-Apr-05 20:10:19

Oh, it will never happen again. The little boy is never to come near this little girl again. Both families agree on that. In fact that proves that the little boys parents know something is wrong.

I could phone S Services myself but i just cant do that. I would hate that to be done to me and i have no love of them at all. The decision to get help for the little girl has to come from the parents. Ok, if a year goes by and nothing is happening and her bevaviours worsen, then maybe i would do something. the school knows all about it and they may well do something before even the parents as they have noticed her behaviour change.

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