Would it be considered sexual abuse if a man - who came from a different country and had grown up in a very open and liberal culture - often felt (and commented upon) his pre-pubescent daughter's growing breasts while she was sitting on his knee?
What if this occurred years ago and he has never laid a finger on her since she reached sexual maturity?
Often, what defines abuse is context: cultural context, interpersonal context, et cetera.
So, in most cases, an important question is: did that *girl* feel it was abusive or traumatic? Was she uncomfortable with it at the time or afterwards, making allowances for other cultural disapproval or presumption of trauma?
On top of that, was the man's intent abusive, sexual, etc? Did this occur within a context which was or was not abusive?
It was not with any abusive or paedophilic intent, but the girl was certainly uncomfortable with it and his comments and would try to wriggle away. She would try to choose her clothes so that her breasts weren't obvious whenever she saw him.
the cultures we are referring to are all European.
The girl and her father used to have baths together when she was little, say 4 or 5, and she used to play with his penis because she didn't know any better. Would that make him think it was OK to touch her in later life, because she used to touch him?
What if he would slide his hands under her top and around her body every time she sat on his knee and so she would deliberately try not to have to sit on him cos she was frightened?
and later in her life, if she had crumbs on her breast he would brush them off himself and comment on where they had landed, and whenever a strap was showing he would ask if it was a bra strap or an undershirt.
[This message has been edited by NobodySaidItWasEasy (edited 11-07-2005).]
*I* don't have any questions, save what you want from us here.
Once more, even if we could scientifically define abuse from here to the letter, with no doubts (which isn't possible, it's often very murky, especially out of context like this), the purpose oif this site is proactivity. We're not an abuse site, though we deal with those issues sometimes, so with abuse issues, generally our job is to provide general information, or personal discussion, and then to help whomever it is -- directly -- find the appropriate resources for their needs.
And abuse, like it or not, tends NOT to be black and white. often, abusers are abusive in one area, and not another, or abuse can happen in a context which isn't exactly abusive, and vice-versa: things which might be abusive in one context may not be in another. Which is why, when dealing with these issues, it's fairly important for what is being asked and what is needed to be very straightforward.
If you just want general information on sexual abuse, there are some good books out there which provide it.
I just wondered if this person can consider themselves abused or not. She had never really thought of it before, but now it is years later and she is wondering if this is the reason for certain problems/issues/feelings in her life. She basically leads a nice life but inside she seems to feel that some things in her life have been wrong.
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Well, at the very, very least, it sounds clear there weren't very healthy boundaries in place in some areas of her upbrining and household: and that absolutely can cause some problems in later life. Boundaries are pretty important.
Per figuring if something was abuse, that's really something she'd want to talk more to a counselor specialized in those issues are, but in all honesty, whether one classes something as abuse or not is pretty irrelevant. In other words, whether it was or it wasn't, it's possible and likely some of this stuff was traumatic for her and may need some resolution. It doesn't have to be classed as abuse by anyone for her to work on that or examine it, and it doesn't have to be classed as abuse for her to acknowledge that some of those behaviours are troubling to her now or were then.
Just for a bit more context.... her father would only do it when her mother (and noone else) was home. Since her parents split up, he then also used to do it to her when she was at his place.
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What it is you're looking for here is still very unclear to me.
As Miz Scarlet has already said, it's hard to define abuse in such a manner. Furthermore, having a specific situation defined as abusive or non-abusive doesn't make it any less traumatic (ie, even if someone says it wasn't abuse, that doesn't make it hurt less).
I would suggest that this person seek professional counselling to sort out their feelings regarding this issue. Not only are we not counsellors, we're online and only getting a teeny tiny fraction of the bigger picture.
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