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Justice and Closure, Are They Fantasies?

November 29, 2011

What is justice?  Can a victim ever really receive justice?  How about closure, is it a real thing or just an illusion with no substance?  These are all questions I have been contemplating of late. 

As some who read the blog Stand Up For America are aware my wife and I had been confronted with a situation that is the secret fear of all parents.  My step-daughter littleSpoken (thanks again Anita), an intelligent and loving 12 year-old, revealed to us the sexual molestation she suffered at the hands of my wife’s ex-boyfriend.  The abuse went on for six months to a year and only stopped after my wife and I married and we all became a family.  LittleSpoken provided detailed information on what had happened to her one Sunday after coming to speak with me about the nightmares she was having on a regular basis.  I remained calm and gently questioned her on what she experienced as a seven year-old.  The answers she gave created a knot of turmoil in my stomach and a great deal of anger at the person who abused her.  Some of the information she gave in answering questions about what had happened to her were not things that even a 12 year-old would likely know if they had not experienced it directly.

It was two days before I had the uninterrupted time to sit down with my wife and tell her of littleSpoken’s revelations.  The pain and anguish I watched come to life within my wife was one of the most difficult experiences I have ever had to go through.  It was heartbreaking for her and all I could do was try and provide her some comfort to ease the hurt.  What made it harder for my wife is that she had to be very careful in what she initially said to littleSpoken.  You see my wife is a ER/Trauma RN with specialty training as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and could be accused of contaminating any information littleSpoken could give in a statement against her abuser.  So she would have to wait to speak in any depth about it until a later time.  This is, as any mother would suspect, a very difficult stand to take with their own child.  All they want to do is to comfort their child and make the world safe again for her.  Not to mention that my wife had her own self-guilt as she felt she failed to protect her child – even when there was no indication of anything happening.

The next morning after telling my wife, the police agency that would have jurisdiction over any case was notified.  This had to happen regardless of our personal feelings one way or another.  Under state law my wife is required to report the abuse.  Even if she was not required to we knew that littleSpoken would need counseling and the counselor would also be required to report the abuse to law enforcement authorities.  A week later littleSpoken gave a statement to a trained specialist interviewer in child related sexual crimes for the police.  My wife and I also spoke with the interviewer before and after the interview.

I spent my adult life in law enforcement and corrections.  I spent years dealing with those suspected of and, in the huge majority, guilty of every crime in the book.  I have no misconceptions about the criminal justice system in America, which is what brought about my contemplations of late.  In speaking with the interviewer after the interview of littleSpoken, I revealed my background to the interviewer.  I could almost see the easing in the interviewer’s face when I told her that I had a strong belief that this was a case that had, at most, a forty percent chance of going forward since it was a “he said-she said” case without physical evidence.  The interviewer laid out the path forward.  The interview (which was video and audio recorded) would be written up and provided to the detective assigned to the case (he was unable to attend the scheduled interview because he had been called out in the early hours of the morning to investigate a sexual assault on a child that had occurred).  The detective would, after his investigation, turn the case over to the district attorney’s office for review.  The DA assigned would determine whether there was enough to file charges or whether the case would be marked “inactive” due to a lack of evidence to charge the abuser.  The interviewer was quick to say that “inactive” didn’t mean closed, just that the case could not go forward (yup, my wife and I know what “inactive” means – not good).

So how does littleSpoken get justice?  Is there really justice to be obtained, by her or any victim of a crime against their person?  What is justice even?  Is it successfully getting the abuser adjudicated and locked up for a term in prison?  Does that get justice for her, or is that only “justice” for the indirect victim – society?  It seems pretty weak calling it justice for littleSpoken (or any direct victim) since it doesn’t lift the lifetime sentence she will live under, never able to forget or undo what happened to her.  I would argue that returning her to the state of life she was in prior to any of the abuse occurring is the only honest justice she could get, and that is not possible.  I could argue that justice would be making the abuser suffer a fate worse than he forced littleSpoken to suffer and I would be most willing to get her that kind of justice (as any parent would), but that accomplishes nothing of value.  It wouldn’t really be justice, just vengeance.  All vengeance would gain her is the loss of a parent who loves her as I sat and rotted away in the very prison society would require I endure as justice for my assault against society.  I cannot and will not abandon her and my wife for vengeance.  So, really, there is no justice for her in my humble opinion.

What of closure?  We hear talk of victims and their families getting closure, which is linked to getting justice.  If there is no true justice, can there be any true closure?  The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines closure (in this context) as “an often comforting or satisfying sense of finality <victims needing closure>; also : something (as a satisfying ending) that provides such a sense.”  A “satisfying sense of finality,” just what would that be for littleSpoken?  The only finality I see directly is that the abuse stopped.  The impact of the abuse on her psychologically and emotionally still exists and must be dealt with for a lifetime.  Counseling will aid her in dealing with her mental and emotional feelings, with the goal of getting her to a point where she controls her feelings and is able to prevent them from interfering in her future years.  That will bring her some peace but that isn’t finality in my thinking because there exists the inability to ever forget.

So, in the end, there isn’t justice or closure.  Neither is attainable as they are concepts that do not provide for undoing the wrongs done.  They are society’s way of essentially telling a victim that what happened cannot be undone so you must get over it and move on (which is true, one must move on).  But, really it’s not much more than society satisfying its own conscience.

I am not saying I have any better answers.  I struggle to deal with my own emotions over what happened to littleSpoken.  I spend each day making sure she feels as safe as possible and loved as much as any child would desire.  I can’t fix what happened to her, I can only provide her the opportunities to take control of her inner self and get herself to where she can be as whole as is possible considering what happened.  Counseling for her may go on for a long time, that will be up to her.  I can only pray it brings her peace eventually.

P.S. After careful consideration we have found a counselor for littleSpoken.  A woman who has specialized training in child trauma and abuse.  Very soon her therapy will begin and she can start the walk to heal.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2011 10:36 pm

    Justice is in the eye of the beholder, just as is beauty.
    We may never see it attained within our own eyes what others may see attained in theirs.

    Closure, however, is different.

    It is a close kin to forgiveness.

    We do not forgive others of their sin for them to move forward.

    We forgive others of their sin for us to move forward.
    It is a gift we give to ourselves.

    The strength of your family’s love will heal all wounds, no matter how deep the wounds and no matter who inflicted them.

    What does not kill us makes us stronger.

    (That is should be enough platitudes in one post to solve world peace, I expect).

  2. November 29, 2011 11:10 pm


    • November 29, 2011 11:34 pm

      No worries BF. I am just thinking about a couple of the platitudes you wrote. They contain enough truth to cause me to ponder over them.

      I initially thought to myself – in all honesty – if i was asking his advice, what would BF consider as justice in this case?

      • November 30, 2011 12:21 am

        First, whatever I say, it is worthless.
        It has -God’s blessing- not happened directly to me.

        All I have is second-hand.
        My mother was a survivor of incredible child abuse by her mother (my grandmother).

        Only when I was a young adult did my mother reveal her childhood.

        My grandmother did not want my mother.

        She attempted multiple self-inflicted abortions – to a point it almost killed herself.
        But my mother – as a fetus – refused to die.

        But that did not stop my grandmother.

        After my mother was born, the attacks on that innocent child continued.

        I had always wondered why my mother’s face was …not as symmetrical.
        It was distorted – not instantly observable – but, it was a bit “off” from other people’s faces.

        Then I learned my grandmother broke my mother’s jaw and skull so many multiple times throughout my mother’s childhood……

        She boiled my mother on the stove as a baby, only saved at the last minute by my grandfather.

        She pushed my mother’s childhood hands onto a red-hot stove top – burns that would last for the rest of my mother’s life.

        During regular beatings, my grandmother:
        – broke both my mother’s legs and arms in multiple places, multiple times.
        – fractured mother’s skull, multiple times.
        – beat my mother into unconsciousness so often, my mother lost count, for things as minor as coming home from school with dirt on her shoes.

        How my mother survived – it must have been a matter of will.

        One day, during a severe beating – as a young teen — my mother rebelled and fought back and overwhelmed my grandmother. As she pinned my grandmother to the ground, she announced:

        “This will NEVER happen again!”

        And it never did.

        Years later, I was born.
        My grandmother – to me – was an Earth Angel.

        I do not recall -ever- a harsh word from her to me, let alone anything physical.

        I could be a total brat, and my grandmother would “take it” – to the point of tears – but she would never, ever, ever speak a harsh word, let alone make any physical act.

        I spent long summers at my grandparents house -idyllic, fun, full of wonderful memories – it is among my most cheerful childhood memories to go to “Grandma’s house”.

        I NEVER, ever, felt nothing but constant, steady, unfailing, love from my grandparents – and from my grandmother. Everything I wished or wanted, she would move heaven and earth to provide.

        Now, I know it was an act of repentance to my mother.
        My grandmother gave me what she knew she should have given my mother.

        My mother attended my grandmother for years as she slowly died.

        My mother had forgiven my grandmother decades before – which is why she was so strong to let her baby (me) alone in the care of the mother that tried to kill her.

        My grandmother – in her later years – completely depended on my mother.
        And my mother, unfailing and untiring, provided loving care.

        My grandmother died in the arms of her daughter – the daughter she tried to kill.
        Both loved the other deeply.

        Where and when does justice and forgiveness cross?

        All I know is my grandmother begged forgiveness from her daughter by attending to her grandchildren with a love so great it confounds imagination.

        All I know is my mother gave forgiveness to her mother, understanding things my grandmother must of suffered as a child and rape victim of war (WW1).

        So, that is all the example I have for me.

        So I have no direct experience from which to consider action, nor have an opinion of any real merit.

        Be that as it may, I can only “imagine”.

        Based on the rage I know I have experienced as a consequence of other, different, attacks upon my own family, I am in awe of the self-control you have over yourself. I would be very hard pressed to example anything near equal of that.

        I do not believe justice could be served here that would not also entangle revenge.
        When one seeks revenge, one must prepare two graves.
        So I do not believe “justice” will ever be served here.
        So I would say (give all that above) that seeking it would be as painful as it would be futile.

        The wheels of government justice, as it is today, will turn slowly – but, eventually, one way or another will apply all the force it can upon those that are truly more evil then itself.

        But I think peace will be achieved.

        I think you and your wife’s love and strength will turn this into a life-enhancement. The power of your response to a tragedy will define the roots of your family – and it will find such roots deep, nourished by love and completely capable and sustaining.

        • November 30, 2011 12:47 am

          BF, wow…thank you for sharing. I believe your mother was truly a strong and good person. She persevered and was able to forgive and love her mother unconditionally. I endured years of physical abuse from my alcoholic and prescription drug addicted father – until the day I too stood against him and declared never again. It took me years, long after my father passed away, to truly forgive him – but I never stopped loving him.

          I have always tried to be a good, honest and fair man – though at times I have failed. It is to the credit of my mother that I have the strength to restrain my darker side from loosing my anger upon the abuser. It would be revenge, and revenge is not a character trait my mother would have ever accepted in me and I would not dishonor her by letting that change.

          I agree that we will find peace someday forward from now. It will be a struggle, but with the love we have as a family we will get there.

          I am a believer in God and as one of His children I know that true justice and vengeance will be handed out by Him.

          Thank you again. I find some comfort in your words.

  3. November 30, 2011 5:49 am

    Plainly, you remain one of the most reasonable voices I’v had the pleasure to read.

    • November 30, 2011 8:18 pm

      Thank you for the compliment Charlie. Don’t tell the rest of SUFA, but I know you’re not as “out there” as they like to portray you as being. 😉

  4. Bottom Line permalink
    November 30, 2011 10:39 am


    When I read your original sharing of this on SUFA, I didn’t respond, but I’ll have you know that it consumed my thoughts for the better part of the day and a few times since.

    I see what Todd and Flag see. I also see what yourself and Little Spoken sees.

    She came to you first, this is quite telling.

    I’ve always taken note of those that are inclined to call their step-children their children as you’ve done. You say “step-daughter” to be technically correct, but are inclined to think of her as your own. It says “I genuinely, deeply love this child and take full responsibility for their welfare” My guess is that you do a gazillion other things just like this that clearly demonstrate your love and willingness to do what’s best for her, …and she is keenly aware of it.

    This is why she came to you first. You make her feel loved and secure more so than anyone. She trusts you most. I dare say that, ultimately, she likely trusts you even more than her mother. She may even have some deeper resentment toward her mother.

    Whether you realize it or not, you are probably the single most influential person in her life. I cannot stress to you enough just how important it is that you continue to be a loving dad(as, of course, you will be).

    When you take into account what I’ve mentioned thus far and combine it with the psychology theory known as “Electra Conflict”, you have a deeper understanding of why.

    For healthy functional development, it is imperative for little girls to have a warm loving father figure. They need a man to make them feel loved, secure, and accepted…especially from the ages of 3-7.

    This is exactly what you are doing/have done for her. – Right on! –

    How a girl resolves the Electra Conflict has an enormous effect on her gender role assignment, interpersonal relationships with men and her sexuality for the rest of her life. Thus her father has done enormous damage. What you’re doing is probably the best remedy.

    I give you MUCH credit. My hat is off to you, sir, …and a low bow to accompany it.

    I say that I see what Little Spoken sees as I myself have suffered abuse. I’ve never been sexually abused, but have experienced similar to what Flag’s mother went through, …although not to the same extreme.

    I’ve had my head beaten against or thrown face first into walls, floors and furniture, punched, kicked, whipped like a slave, denied food, etc.. (once old enough)I would often just run away whenever the beatings would come, or if I could anticipate one coming. I’d spend anywhere from a week to a couple months on the streets until it wore me down. I’d show up at a relative’s house a cold hungry and tired kid. I always ended up back home within a day or so, only to be subjected to more abuse.

    Because I occasionally showed up at school with fresh visible knots and bruises, CPS was called and I spent time in state’s custody, twice. It didn’t do any good. (I always resented their interference, even then when I knew they were trying to help me. I felt safer and more comfortable on the streets among friends helping me.)

    When I would run away and show up at family’s homes, I was basically crying for help. I think my extended family wanted to allow time for it to be resolved within the household, to give my mom a chance to fix it. Eventually, my grandfather, who was always more of a father figure to me, stepped in and put his little girl and her coke-head tyrant husband in check.

    They didn’t know I was listening, but WOW!, what an awesome and thorough ass ripping my grandfather gave them!

    What eventually saved me was my absolute refusal to accept my abuse combined with family love and pressure. I spent the rest of my childhood living with my grandparents in a stable loving home where I was given a lot of freedom.

    Abuse and neglect from a parent is the ultimate betrayal of a child. It hurts like hell, so much that you will do things like suppress memories(dissociation) like pooping in the woods every day after school, to avoid stopping up the toilet, so that you might avoid a beating and be allotted more food for your hungry growing boy stomach. (how fuct up is that!)

    When memories of these cruel and unusual punishments come back during adulthood(and they always do), it hits you like a ton of bricks. You start to ask yourself things like whether you parents ever even really loved you.

    The mind does this as a defense mechanism, to shield you from pain. The benefit is that when it comes back, you are an adult and better equipped to cope.

    I look back as an adult and know who was really looking out for me, who had enough courage to be willing to step outside their comfort zone and take personal risks to do what they saw as the right thing to do. Two of them are dead, one I haven’t talked to since many years ago when I hunted him down to thank him, …and the other I talk to regularly.

    I feel fortunate to have had a couple of people like yourself in my life, Plainly. It made all the difference.

    Healing and forgiveness comes with love and understanding, and takes time. But you never forget. It’s nice to have something to remember of goodness in a bad situation, to balance and/or absorb the pain.

    Justice is the guilt he will feel. It is the inevitable torment upon the realization of the level of harm he’s done to his own child. The likelihood that he himself is a victim of abuse will only help him better understand just how much pain he has caused. He may never forgive himself.

    (Splitting his skull with a randomly selected common household item would be hella satisfying though 😉 )

    Just keep focus on being there for her and giving her plenty of TLC.

    • Bottom Line permalink
      November 30, 2011 4:18 pm

      Re-reading, I realized I made a critical error with my mistaking the abuser as her father. I offer my apologies.

      I find myself pondering creative forms of ‘justice’ for the creep ex-boyfriend that, if shared with others, would cause them to fear and avoid me.

      To add, I don’t mean to sound insensitive when speaking about trust issues with her mother. Like myself and many others I’ve known, it is a typical reaction to feel some mistrust and/or resentment toward mom for a spell. It’s something to prepare for. Just sayin’

      I wish the best for you and yours, especially Little Spoken.

      • November 30, 2011 8:43 pm

        BL. Thank you for your comments and your sharing. Like BF’s comments there is comfort to be found in your words. 🙂

        Calling littleSpoken my step-daughter is only for technical clarity, among us she is my daughter and always has been thought of that way. She never knew her biological father (no loss there either) and I am the only “dad” she has ever known and the only man she has ever called “dad.” Hopefully my wife and I will be able to get the next step done before next summer – full adoption!

        I understand your thoughts about issues between her and her mom, but I can say with all honesty that this is not the case with them. littleSpoken would have told her at some point when she (as she told me) could get past the idea of “hurting” her mom.

        I can say that if I did let my dark side free to seek vengeance I know exactly what I would do – and it isn’t pretty at all. I’ll refrain from giving the details as it would make me look pretty savage.

        I know healing for littleSpoken will come, as it will for my wife and I, and right now that is goal number one – her healing.

        • Bottom Line permalink
          November 30, 2011 11:50 pm


          I wish I had worded my post a little better. I am a little annoyed with myself, but am glad that you still found comfort in it. It’s been one of those in and out all over the place multitask days for me.

          I guess what I am trying to say is that it’s apparent that you are a loving dad, and that she trusts you, which is great, and so very important. Your TLC is what will enable her to trust men, as you’re her proof that there is such a thing as a good man.

          I’ve known many to have been abused as a child, several of them women who were sexually abused.

          Some of them end up generally disliking men all together in spite of their best efforts otherwise. They have trust issues and a certain disconnect with mom. The relationship is troubled from the teen years until mom is finally forgiven sometime in adulthood. They’re usually codependent, and exhibit all sorts of dysfunctional self destructive behaviors. They basically turn out to be a mess, and their own children suffer for it.

          Others end up leading normal healthy happy functional lives. They grow up to raise families and establish careers, grow old and die happy.

          The difference that I see…

          The ones that made it had a loving family and/or support system, a warm loving father figure, a mom they could trust and emulate, professional therapy… They still have troubled times, but they get through it.

          The ones who turned out a mess had no one, no direction, no way out. All they were taught is that no one can be trusted.

          It’s good to hear that her and her mother are close. That is a bond that needs to stay strong. Flag’s account is proof of just how powerful it can be.

          I know you’re doing the right thing.

          I know because above all, I know what it’s like to have hard times and have someone there for me when I needed them.

          Y’all just keep giving her TLC, patience and understanding…she’ll do fine.

          Again, Best wishes.

  5. Anita permalink
    November 30, 2011 4:58 pm

    BF, your mom is a saint. I don’t know that I could have reacted the same over the years.

    Plainly, will TPTB eventually question the assh…eer uh guy? I would hope so. Then he’s outed! Know matter what happens from there…he knows everyone knows and he can’t hold that over littleSpoken ever again. She wins. If it was me, I’d purposely seek him out in a public place, stop in your tracks, lock arms with your ladies, give the guy the serious cold stare, then go on about your business happily. That’s justice and closure enough for me.
    Hopefully though, some legal justice can be served, especially for any future possible victims.

    • November 30, 2011 5:24 pm


      Yes, my mom is a saint.

      But she understood -later- where such behavior was rooted, in the extreme trauma of my grandmother suffering multiple rapes by soldiers during war when she was young. One can imagine the terror of a rape, let alone multiple rapes, let alone your life hanging by a thread in the hands of soldiers who are raping you.

      So that, no doubt, manifested badly in my grandmother.

      And my mother’s trauma manifested badly sometimes upon me when I was growing up.

      Of course, as an adult, when I learned her history and understood my own trauma at her hands, and steadied me to try not to manifest that upon my little one who suffers even less the chain reaction of such trauma manifested over the generations…..

      Time heals all wounds – we have merely be patient that it may take a very long time.

      • Anita permalink
        November 30, 2011 5:32 pm

        I try not to manifest badly on my kids too, but it doesn’t always work 🙂 Cheers BF!

    • November 30, 2011 8:22 pm


      It is probable that the detective will contact the abuser and try to get him to come in for an interview. If he does the detective will try to get something incriminating out of him. But, if the abuser refuses to give an interview there is nothing the detective can do to force him to come in and answer some questions.

      Really, the abuser’s best course is to refuse and he’ll essentially walk unless some evidence comes to light that would be enough to bring charges.

      But, I have an idea that I am rattling around in my head, which is all I’ll say for now until I research it more.

      • Anita permalink
        November 30, 2011 9:49 pm

        Oh’s a trap! Gotta love a good trap. Keep us in the loop 🙂

  6. Anita permalink
    November 30, 2011 9:56 pm

    Bottom Line…damn yous guys’ stories makes me count my blessings. But truth be told…I um..well. err um. . I always thought by the music you post that there had to be an issue somewhere along the line 🙂 Glad you made it through your messed up childhood. I tell you what…I betcha a lot of our parents would have their kids taken away if they were raising us by today’s standards. Not mine..we were just short of the Waltons 🙂

    • Bottom Line permalink
      December 1, 2011 2:28 am

      ” I always thought by the music you post that there had to be an issue somewhere along the line ”

      Slayer does have some sick lyrics. lol

      ” Bottom Line…damn yous guys’ stories makes me count my blessings ”

      It’s funny that you say that. Because there is a certain confidence, knowledge and wisdom that comes with adversity. I suppose you could say that in some ways I have a profound appreciation for my messed up childhood.

      ” Glad you made it through your messed up childhood. ”

      For all intents and purposes, I’m over it. I’ve come to terms with it all, and forgiven everyone.

      But I haven’t yet fully escaped it.

      Do you remember that conversation a few months ago where I was trying to explain my goals and situation to figure a way out of poverty?

      I got everything from it’s because I smoke pot, to I lack confidence and I’m desperate, etc

      It wasn’t about any of that. It was primarily about economics, time, and physiology relative to my life’s goals. It was about escaping phuctom and putting it all together in order to do it right and break the cycle while I still have time.

      (I know Flag got it because of the context in which he used the word “prudent”. In fact, I think Flag may have been the only one that got it. I also suspect he got it because he is a fellow INTJ. …which would explain a few other things as well.)

      When I am an old man on my death bed, and I can say that my progeny will be just fine without me because I was a good father/grandfather, …THEN I know I made it.

      It’s all about breaking the cycle.

      Youth is King

      Learning is Fun

      Teaching is a Reward

      Knowledge is Power

      Truth is Freedom

      Order out of Chaos

  7. Bottom Line permalink
    December 1, 2011 2:52 am


    I’m floored by your post as it is the epitome of profoundness.

    Saint is an understatement.

    Wow…just …wow.

  8. December 1, 2011 11:07 am


    Well, I got to tell you that your initial comment became the fuel for an explosion of emotion from my wife last evening. As occasionally happens my wife read my blog post and then read the comments.

    She made it to the part where you stated, “This is why she came to you first. You make her feel loved and secure more so than anyone. She trusts you most. I dare say that, ultimately, she likely trusts you even more than her mother. She may even have some deeper resentment toward her mother.”

    She couldn’t have cried out more in pain if you stuck a knife into her back and twisted it. It took her 15 minutes to get control of her crying enough to even be able to speak. At which point she gasped out, “does littleSpoken hate me?” It eventually took littleSpoken (who had no idea why her Mom was crying) telling her Mom no (and the horror on littleSpoken’s face that anyone would think she was angry or hated her Mom over what had happened to her – littleSpoken – that proved the truth of the statement).

    I saw it coming when she decided to read through the comments. I gently tried to dissuade her from reading comments because I knew it would strike at my wife’s harsh self-imposed guilt over what happened to littleSpoken, and it did.

    I tell you this because I know it was not your intent to place blame, or cause any hurt to anyone. You were informing and I think it touched a nerve within my wife that was already an unspoken thought in her torment. It would have been a bridge she had to cross at some point, I just wasn’t ready for it to be at that moment.

    Just helps me understand the depths of healing that will have to occur individually and collectively in our family.

    • Bottom Line permalink
      December 1, 2011 6:53 pm

      Plainly, Mrs. ‘Spoken’,

      I feel horrible.

      I offer my deepest and most sincere apologies for any upset I may have caused. It was most certainly not my intent.

      I tend to be more of a thinker than a feeler, which sometimes manifests itself into unintended inappropriately direct statements. It is a character flaw, and I’m working on it. And I humbly beg your forgiveness.

      I know through personal experience as well as with many others’ experiences just how important understanding is to the healing process. Thus my intended conveyance is one of understanding.

      ….if i may…

      At some point, young children will begin to question gender. Through family social interaction, they begin to identify patterns of behavior that correspond with gender. They seek to understand what is known as gender role. They try to answer “What is a man – What is a woman?” beyond obvious physical differences. And they do so differently according to their gender, often exhibiting odd behaviors as they sort it out.

      For little boys, it is called the Oedipus Conflict. With Little girls, it is the Electra Conflict.

      Girls will tend to go through a period where they gravitate toward their primary male role model where he becomes of great influence. Girls seek to understand the male gender through bonding and reassurance. This period is crucial as it serves to premise their whole idea of the male gender, thus, it is of the utmost importance that she has a warm and caring relationship with the one she sees as “dad”. His role is key.

      Once they’re satisfied that they have an understanding of dad, once his love and acceptance is affirmed, they gravitate back to mom to learn the finer points of womanhood. They know they may be a wife and mother one day and seek to understand how.

      (This is a delicate phase, hence my stressing to you, Plainly, the importance of your role in her life. In a deep sort of way, you are her definitive “man”, her point of reference in comparing any man she comes into contact with)

      When the natural process of understanding gender roles is disturbed and distorted with abuse or neglect, it can manifest itself into a number of problems. They have a much more complex set of circumstances to process, thus the needing of time and space to sort it out. Professional help does wonders.

      As is common in cases of abuse, children will question trust in their parents. This apparently isn’t the case in your situation. I apparently misread and miscalculated. The reason I mentioned that there may be trust issues is because we the abused usually run to the ones we trust most, first. Little girls usually go to mom. My best guess was of typical trust issues that aren’t always apparent on the surface.

      Just understand that trust issues are natural. It’s about sorting it out. I didn’t mean to imply anything remotely derogatory or accusational

      IF(emphasis on ‘IF’) she ever expresses any trust issues, it’s not because she hates you. She doesn’t hate you. It is because she loves you DEEPLY and values your role in her life. It is all in the interest of protecting the bond with you and reassurance that she can rely and depend on you.

      Questions of trust are normal, and I’ve seen and felt what happens when they’re rejected and invalidated instead of embraced and nurtured. It is devastating.

      What I give praise to you for is providing exactly what she needs to heal. Which is the love and reassurance, the TLC, patience and understanding that any victim of abuse needs. You are acting as good loving parents and role models, and it is making all the difference.

      I’ve seen what happens when an abused child doesn’t get what you are obviously providing for your child. I know the difference, and I am confident that she will do just fine as a direct result of your capacity to love her.

      Not that I am anyone special, but I know it is difficult and I think you’re handling things well.

      I am again sorry to have touched a nerve, and I wish you all the best.


      • December 1, 2011 9:11 pm


        I and my wife thank you for your apology and of course you have our forgiveness. It shows that you are the type of person that understands that even when we wish to help we can, without intent or malice, hurt ones feelings and cause them pain and stand up and say you are sorrowful for the accident of your words.

        Please concern yourself no further about it.

        I would like to thank you on my behalf for clarifying my understanding of the Electra Conflict. My wife has been explaining it over the past years. She understands the importance of it. Your information just helped turn the light fully on.

  9. gmanfortruth permalink*
    December 5, 2011 5:22 pm

    Forgive my absence as of late. I’ve been very busy helping a family member recoup from surgery. It helped that I could take her two teenage boys deer hunting this past week.

    I don’t have much to add to the subject, it was all too well said. I will add that a pedophile will not stop abusing as long as he is free to do so. While direct and painfull vengeance may not be the right way to go, some form of direct interaction should be pursued. I have numerous thoughts on how to accomplish this without causing more problems. LittlePlainly may not be his only victim, and his abuse may be occurring today.

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