Raped as a child: the journey moving on
DR Michele Lewin, clinical psychologist at the Oxford Medical Centre, said after the initial stages of sexual molestation, children begin to lose their self-worth as the molestation begins to shape their lives.
She said sexual molestation is one of the most traumatic experiences that a child could ever go through, moreso if the child is molested by people who are supposed to raise and validate him/her.
At age 11, Georgia R was raped by a security guard while she was a ward in state care. After this incident, her mother took her from the institution and brought her to her home. However, shortly after, Georgia said she was raped by her mother's husband and again by her own brother.
"When I told my mother she just cuss and told me that is lie mi telling and ask how me so out of order. She said the only rape that happened in her family is when my 'dutty father' raped her and get me," Georgia recalled, as she spoke to All Woman last week as part of her need to unburden herself for therapy.
Georgia decided to confide in her probation officer, who removed her from her mother's home and brought her back to another state home.
Georgia, now 48, said after the incident she was very withdrawn and would just sit in corners sucking her fingers. She said the incident still affects her today and has made her very protective of her own two daughters.
Dr Kai Morgan, clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of the West Indies, said while she does not have actual figures on the number of cases of sexual molestation involving a parent or guardian, the incidences are very high. And the repercussion for the child if the mother refuses to believe can be devastating, she said.
"If the mother doesn't believe her, the child is lost right there, because the child is probably not going to say anything to anybody else," Dr Morgan explained. "Because remember now, that child has been abused twice! They got abused by the person and then they get abused again by the one who does not believe them, so it's double trauma for them."
"After a while you don't believe in yourself anymore," Dr Lewin explained. "You don't believe much of yourself anymore. You start to believe what others think of you."
This, she said, can force a child to grow up not learning how to trust his/her own instincts and therefore find him/herself in situations where they are constantly vulnerable to such acts.
Today, Georgia suffers from chronic depression and has to be on constant anti-depressant medication after attempting to end her own life six months ago. She feels that the rapes from her childhood is a contributor to the trials she faces today.