Aftermath of a False Allegation
On her fourth visit, 17-year-old Stephanie (a pseudonym)
brought me this letter:
Dear Dr. Smith,
I am so miserable, Dr. Smith, I need your help now. As you
know, I have told you how my mother and I just don't like each other. We fight
and argue all the time. But I have never told you why. When I was little, six I
think, I dearly loved my dad. I think he and I were very close and did many
things together. I knew my mom and dad didn't get along but somehow things were
all right between me and my parents.
Then one day, my mother told me my father was very sick and
needed to go to a doctor to get well. She told me I would have to say that my
dad had hurt me by touching me (in) places that were nasty. She said if I would
say this Dad would have treatment and get better and be a nicer Dad to me and bring me more presents.
My mother rehearsed with me what I was to say and then took
me to a doctor in another city and practiced with me again what I was to say and
I said what she told me to say.
Later my mom said that Dad had to go to a hospital to get the
help he needed, but when I was twelve I found out he was in prison because he
had molested me.
Once I got to go see Dad in prison. He told me he had written
me many times, but Dr. Smith, I never received any of those letters. I think Mom
burned them. Later Mom told me that Dad was living in another state.
Just last night my mom and I got in a big fight and she told
me Dad had committed suicide. I feel so bad. I'm to blame because I lied for my
mom. I hate her and I hate myself. I can't stand myself! I can't wait to leave
home when I get older.
Please help me Dr. Smith.
Footnote: At the time of the session in which I was given the
letter, I discussed with Stephanie as to whether she should go to the hospital.
In this state a person who is 16 years of age is entitled to obtain mental
health care without parental consent. She told me that she felt better and I
made arrangements to see her two days later since I was to be out of town the
following day. The very next night, after I spoke to her, Stephanie died after
taking an overdose of her mother's sleeping medication.
Possibly some professionals would not want to think that
Stephanie had been abused. But in my judgment, this is one of the worst kinds of
abuse and in this case the abuse came from the mother.
|* John Smith (a pseudonym) is a psychologist and can be
contacted through Issues in Child Abuse Accusations. [Back]