Secondary victims of sexual abuse face many challenges as they seek to assist in the healing process and find healing for their own hurt. This is especially true for the parent of an abused child. It’s not unusual to assume that your children are safe with your partner/spouse, parents, or other close family members. However, most cases of child abuse are intrafamilial or come from within the family. When the abuser was your partner/spouse, your parent, or close family member, the pain of the situation is heightened and the familiar family structure is quickly undone. Intrafamilial sexual abuse is a serious betrayal of the trust and safety which ought to have been ensured by the adult members of the family.
Beth Loerke describes what happened when she learned that her husband had been sexually abusing their daughter, Bethany:
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