From The Desk of Darlene J. Harris -What is Sexual Abuse? by Sharon Todd

Greetings Everyone!

Last month Evelyn S. Thomas came to us with “Sex On the Right Side” and what a wonderful article. Thank you! “Sex on the Right Side” part-2 will be published in August. Stay tuned!

Announcing, Darlene J. Harris Speaking From the Heart a new ministry added to the website, and is in the last position in the menu. Speaking From the Heart started in California and allowed me many different opportunities to serve.  The speaker information sheet can be downloaded from the link on the ministry page. 

Facebook helped me reconnect with a lot of friends after I moved back home. One person, I reconnected with is our writer today, Sharon Todd. Discovering and hearing about God’s accomplishments in her life is wonderful. Furthermore, her willingness to write about her experience as a Social Worker for Hamilton County Job and Family Services is a blessing. Her article presents us with a learning opportunity and challenges us to be more aware for the sake of our children.

As always, the goal of And He Restoreth My Soul Project remains the same, to encourage, enlighten and educate our readers.

Serving in hope,

Darlene J. Harris


Brief Bio for Sharon Todd

Sharon Todd spent over 21 years as a caseworker which included 8 years of investigations of families that had allegations of sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect. She spent 7 years working with teens in long-term foster care and 6 yrs working with families that needed monitoring.

What is Sexual Abuse?

A lot of people do not know what sexual abuse is. RAINN (Rape, Abuse& Incest National Network) defines abuse as when a perpetrator intentionally harms a minor child physically, psychologically, sexually or by acts of neglect. Sexual abuse comes in many forms: child sexual abuse is sexual activity with a minor by an adult. A minor child cannot consent to any form of sexual activity. Sexual abuse to a victim can and will have an effect that can last for a lifetime. The victim can have trouble relating to other people who want to help.

As defined by RAINN there are other forms of sexual abuse.

They are:

  • Obscene phone calls, text messages, or digital interaction
  • Fondling
  • Exhibitionism, or exposing oneself to a minor
  • Masturbation in the presence of a minor or forcing the minor to masturbate
  • Intercourse
  • Sex of any kind with a minor, including vaginal, oral, or anal
  • Producing, owning, or sharing pornographic images or movies of children
  • Sex trafficking
  • Any other sexual conduct that is harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare

The above items were taken from:

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network – Official Site

People often wonder what does a perpetrator look like. Nine times out of ten, the victim knows the perpetrator. The perpetrator can be male or female. They have a job as a coach, teacher, family member, or extended member, babysitter, parent of a friend, an older sibling. The victim is told to be quiet because it is their secret between each, or threat can be made to the victim that harm or death can come to a loved one. The perpetrator can use their position of power against the victim. This can cause the victim not to trust anyone.

I was a case worker for over twenty-one years and I had cases of sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, and dependency. One case that really stuck out to me was a child victim and the perpetrator was an older sibling.

Please note: the case history is graphic please take care of yourselves!

An Actual Case

The hotline had received a call from the hospital about a 2-year-old child coming into the ER with her mother. The information given to the nurse was that the child was on her rocking horse and hurt herself as she fell off.

The grandmother notices that her granddaughter’s pants were soaked with blood. The mother had put two sanitary pads, two diapers and two pairs of pants on the child but this did not stop the child from bleeding. She was rushed into surgery. The surgeon observed the vaginal wall has puncture wounds and wounds to the cervix. The little girl’s vagina, cervix, and other parts were repaired. The mother and grandmother were told by the surgeon that if they had not brought the child into the hospital would have died from the blood loss. They were also told that the child would never be able to have children. The doctor felt that someone close to the child had caused these injuries.

The police officer and I met with the brother age fourteen and the victim age 2 separately as well as with the mother and grandmother. No one knew how these injuries had happened to the child. I noticed that the little girl looked scared. I motioned for her to come and talk to me. She came and held on to me as I was talking to her. I told her that the police officer and I would make sure that nothing else would happen to her. She started crying and I hugged her. I asked her if she could point at the person who had hurt her. The two-year-old pointed to her fourteen-year-old brother. The police officer was talking to the mother and grandmother about the case and what would happen. I interrupted their conversation inform the officer about what the child had disclosed and that the fourteen-year brother was the perpetrator. The brother was arrested and taken to Juvenile jail.

A court hearing was held and the mother gave a statement to the judge. She stated she wanted her son to stay at the locked residential complex that was three miles from her home instead of a juvenile prison. The judge asks the mother how many children she had. She stated she had seven children. The two oldest children ages 17 and 18 were in prison for dealing drugs in California. And she was on assistance. The mother was crying for her son who had digitally penetrated the two-year-old child with pencils, pens, scissors and small knives. I informed the judge that the recommendation of Children’s Services was that the fourteen-year-old son goes to prison to get the help he needed and to engage in counseling. The case would be transferred to a case work who would monitor the family and engage the family in therapy.

I met with the fourteen-year-old perpetrator and ask him why he chose the two-year-old was. He explained that he was sexually abused in the butt by his father’s girlfriend son. He went on to say that the father and the girlfriend were told about what had happened to him. However, the father became angry and called him a liar and disciplined him. Shortly after that, the fourteen was sent to Ohio to live with his mother, grandmother, and siblings. The worker asked again why the two-year- old was picked? He responded that she wouldn’t say anything. After further discussion, it was disclosed that he was mad because the two-year-old had all of the attention from the mother. The fourteen-year-old did not care about inflicting pain on his sister. He had told the two-year-old not to say anything. If she did then somebody would be hurt. For that reason, the two-year-old didn’t tell anyone.

If you or someone that you know has been sexually abused tell someone. If the first person does not believe you then tell another person. Keep telling someone until someone believes you and seeks help from the police.

Every county has a hotline that allows you to report allegations of sexual abuse. There are juvenile shelters that you can go to if you don’t feel safe.


National Child Sexual-Abuse Helpline: 1-866-367-5444 Darkness to Light

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 1-800-843-5678

911 is also an available resource for help

ACTION STEPS General public and survivors

You, the reader can donate to the above organization to help find children or fund the critical outreach and prevention programs.

There are support programs that the victim can participate in and rise to a victor and no longer be a victim.

AID to Survivors

As a survivor please outreach to agencies, counseling, church, and groups. You are not alone.


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