Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Dear Counsellor | Haunted by rape

Published:Tuesday | April 11, 2017 | 4:00 AM

Q: Recently, my daughter was raped while returning from extra lessons. It has been a nightmare since. Her father has been very supportive and understanding. He has been pushing the police to find the culprit and is willing to make a financial contribution to get information. However, she does not want her dad to even touch her. She is a very bright student but she has lost interest in studying and does not really want to go to school. She does not even want to go to church where she was once very active. She is taking it very hard. Two years ago, her best friend was raped. That friend did not react this way. Thankfully, she is the only one she seems prepared to allow in her space to offer comfort. Sometimes even me - her mother - is kept at a distance. We love her and will do anything for her but what more can we do?

A: Rape is an awful and frightening experience. It is even worse for a child. You should continue to support her emotionally and practically. Continue to encourage the father to seek justice for his daughter. Often the process through the court system takes a while. The family will need to be patient. Patience is also necessary for healing to take place. Perhaps she is blaming you and her father for what happened thinking that a different arrangement for her pick-up after extra lessons might have prevented the ordeal. Do not take any of her reactions personally. Perhaps she is also questioning God for allowing such a dastardly act to befall her. In addition, please do not compare how her best friend handled being raped. All victims will not react in the same way. Furthermore, you are not sure how her best friend handled it in her quiet moments. Please facilitate her best friend to talk and be with her as often as is practical.

Finally, she needs urgent professional help, so take her quickly to get such attention.

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