Children and their parents have an undeniable bond. Children will usually lie or blame themselves before they would accuse their parents.
Detective Chris Hicks of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. described the account of an eleven year-old girl whose mother threw her against a wall. Her head had been cut open, she was bleeding, and the mother’s roommate says the mother hit the child with a heater plate three or four times. 1 Evidence showed blood on the plate, and the mother admitted to hitting the child with the grate. Yet, the child’s story was in direct conflict with the police report, all the evidence, and the mother’s confession.
The child’s version was to put the blame on herself. She said she “wasn’t being a good girl.” She was placed in temporary housing but the child kept asking, “When am I going to see my mom? I want to be with her.”
Detective Hicks says authorities often cannot get the truth from the victim, and the child will lie to protect the abusing parents. He said that children will sometimes defend parents to their death.
Melissa Salcedo was a victim of enslavement by her mother. She was not permitted to go to school, she was choked, she suffered beatings, was kept in a closet, and was forced to drink toilet water. The abuse lasted seventeen years, beginning at birth. Experts said it was one of the worst cases they had ever seen.
While standing in court on the day of her mother’s sentencing, Melissa, with choke marks and scars still visible on her neck, said to her mother “I love you. I miss you. I hope that when you get out we meet again.” 2
Melissa’s sister Gloria Salcedo was quoted as saying that she and their other siblings could not stop loving, or turn their backs on the woman who gave them life.
Former FBI agent Kenneth V. Lanning spent twenty years in the Behavioral Science Unit and National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime while with the FBI. He has consulted on thousands of cases involving sexual acts inflicted upon children, and was an expert witness in both Federal and State courts on child abuse matters.
Lanning confirms that many child victims remain silent or deny the abuse when it is discovered. 3
The reasons for the children to deny are often the same reasons that adults block abuse from their conscious mind. They are too afraid or ashamed, they fear no one will believe them, or they like being special and feeling pleasure with the perpetrator. Sometimes the child knows they will not be protected and sense that they will be punished or removed from the home.
Most children love their parents even when the parent is molesting, beating, or raping them and often cannot allow themselves to believe the parent would inflict such pain. When we are children our parents are like Gods to us. With a child-like innocence, those of us who repressed childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a loved one, chose to remember only the good part of our abusers and anyone who protected them. We decided a long time ago that there was always hope for a normal family. We clung to the belief that those who sexually abused us “didn’t mean it” and that our mothers really did love us.
Children often refuse to see their parent’s evil, and can retain their denial well into adulthood. Then, when previously repressed memories of rape or abuse begin to surface, it is easier for the adult survivor to see themselves as mistaken, than their parents as child abusers. It is too difficult to accept that our parents could have done something so despicable, and when memories start to come into our consciousness as adults, our denial begins.
Just like the child we once were, as adults, in those first few hours, days and weeks after remembering the abuse, we are once again vulnerable little children.
Many survivors choose the easy answer –which is that they are mistaken about their memories. Their denial can create deep confusion and other psychological disturbances
Many people get past that stage and continue to heal. Some people revert to the old habit of denial and once again, embrace the myth that their parents were good people, who never harmed them, and they re-unite with their abusers as if nothing ever happened.
Their soul knows the truth, and they will never be in peace.
- Arts and Entertainment Channel, Investigative Report’s, L.A. Detectives, Juvenile Investigations Team “A Dangerous Mom”
- L.A. Times 5/16/00 “Mother Gets 9 Years in ‘Slave’ Abuse Case
- Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis for Law-Enforcement Officers Investigating the Sexual Exploitation of Children by Acquaintance Molesters, Fourth Edition September 2001, Kenneth V. Lanning, Former Supervisory Special Agent Federal Bureau of Investigation, Copyright 2001 National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, page 58