Hunter, 11, raised his hand during a Play it Safe presentation and began telling our Play it Safe facilitator about a friend of his who he knows had a “confusing touch” and that her mom still lets the man who touched her around her. Our facilitator told Hunter that they could talk about it more after the presentation. After the presentation and video our facilitator asked Hunter to step aside so she could speak with him. She asked if he could tell her more about what he was saying during the class.
Hunter told our facilitator that his neighbor, Tiffany, 5, told him that her uncle gives her “confusing touch”. Hunter was animated while talking with the facilitator and said, “He touched her!”. He said that he told Tiffany she needed to tell her mom. He stated that Tiffany told her mom and her mom still lets the uncle come over. He said that Tiffany’s uncle just got out of jail and doesn’t have anywhere to go, so he stays with Tiffany and her family. Hunter told our facilitator, “But maybe he stopped now because her mom knows about it.” Our facilitator asked him to clarify if he was talking about an unsafe touch (physical abuse) or confusing touch (sexual abuse). Hunter said he was talking about “confusing touch”. Hunter said that the uncle has also grabbed Tiffany’s face. He spontaneously demonstrated with his hands how the uncle grabbed Tiffany’s face.
As our facilitator was asking names of the family Hunter became nervous and didn’t want to tell our facilitator. He said if the family finds out he told, they’re going to be really mad at him. Our facilitator assured him that she would not tell the family his name. Hunter told our facilitator that Tiffany has an older brother in the home who also knew about the uncle touching her.
Our facilitator made a report to the abuse and neglect hotline and child welfare and law enforcement responded to the report. A forensic interview was conducted, as well as a medical exam, during which Tiffany disclosed sexual abuse. Child welfare stepped in to ensure that Tiffany was safe and no longer around her uncle. During the investigation, it was learned that Tiffany had told her mom, Sherry, about her uncle squeezing her face, but had not told her mom about the “confusing touch”. Sherry voluntarily followed through on educational and therapy services to help her better protect her children in the future. Through addressing her own trauma history, Sherry was able to learn valuable skills to help her break the cycle of generational abuse in her family going forward.
*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality