I’m a speech therapist who works in an inner city elementary children where we see a lot of poverty, drug abuse, etc. I had one case stand out to me in particular that stands out.
I saw a little girl, 7 years old, who had been delayed on her language skills. We knew she had a very difficult upbringing since she was the product of a rape. She lived only with her mother who impressively kept the two events (the rape and the birth of her daughter) as separated as possible. The rapist (who I refuse to call a father) had served time in jail but was released at this point on house arrest. He had no rights to see her. But the rapist’s parents, technically the child’s grandparents, went to court and demanded rights to see their “granddaughter”. They refused to ever believe their son was a rapist. Some judge, who I hope thinks of this case often, allowed it as long as father was not present. It started as supervised visits and eventually turned into visitation without supervision. Mom fought as hard as she could, but she couldn’t afford a lawyer like the grandparents could. Mom had to drop her daughter off to the parents of her rapist every other weekend for one night. I don’t know how she did it.
Anyways, I started to see a huge regression in her language skills. Her mean length of utterance decreased, she couldn’t logically organize her thoughts into sentences, she couldn’t categorize anymore and so forth. Academically when I spoke to the teacher she said the same thing. But it really came to a head when she started to regress in other, non-school related skills.
One day she wet her pants in my classroom. And she just lost it. She was crying, she destroyed my room, she was hitting and punching to the point where I had to restrain her from hurting herself. She just lost it. Finally when she calmed down, I brought her down to the nurse, got her a change of pants. But this was a girl was not only potty trained since Id known her, but she was known for being sweet, polite and just slow to warm up. She was NOT a child to have outbursts like this. She wasn’t sick. And I felt like I really needed to say something outside the school.
Long story short, grandparents were sneaking over to fathers house so that her “father could see and help raise his daughter”. Turns out he started inappropriately touching her in the bathroom, during tub time, at the kitchen table, watching TV. Basically any chance he could when the grandparents walked out the room for any amount of time.
My heart broke for the mom. I’ll never forget her telling us about how she couldn’t live with herself knowing the fact that the man who raped her, also touched her daughter. Anyways, you can probably imagine all the hurt and heartbreak the mother felt.