Aunt Vadge: did my husband do something to our daughter?

Dear Aunt Vadge,

My daughter had spotting, and I thought she was starting her period but I guess she didn’t. Took her to her pediatrician and they said it “may be a UTI”. The next day my daughter told me her father checked her to see if she was ok – made her lay down and open her labia. She also said her “compared” with her younger sister as her had her lay down as well. 

Not sure what to think… Was it him that did something to her or was he just making sure she was ok? So I really need some help. Where can I take her to see if her hymen was broken or if there is any vaginal trauma? Please contact me!

Yours,
Worried

Dear Worried,

You’ve brought up a few concerning things in your question, and it is really important we get to the bottom of this. There are a few things that would really help me answer this. Things like how old is your daughter? How old is her sister? What is your relationship to her father?

You ask me “was it him who did something to her?” which makes me feel like your gut is saying that it was not just a UTI, but instead maybe she has sustained some form of trauma.

I’m wondering what sorts of conversations you have had with your daughter in the past? Do you feel ok asking your daughter flat out if something has happened? (You might need to do some detective work. Ask her specific questions). A really good way to do this can be in a conversation around consent, and what sort of touching is ok. I would suggest reading the book “some secret’s should never be kept” by Debra Byrne. This book is a great resource to teach kids about inappropriate touching, and how to tell an adult when they are feeling unsafe with somebody else. It also has some great question prompts at the end to guide your discussions with your child after reading.

In terms of finding out if her hymen was broken or if there has been any trauma – those sorts of procedures can be quite invasive and traumatising in their own right. My advice would be to have a private conversation with a trusted doctor around what your concerns are. They may be able to give more advice around what they can physically do to check on her.

My best offer for you though is to begin educating your daughters. Let them know these are important conversations, and that there is nothing they can’t tell you. Let them know that nobody will get in trouble, but there are things that you need to know. Read them the book and answer any questions they have.

You haven’t stated what your relationship is like with their father, nor have you stated how often they see him, and under what circumstances, so I can’t offer any advice in that regard.

Educate them, open the conversation, build that trust and hopefully they will feel safe sharing anything that is happening.

Talk to your trusted doctor around what sort of checks they can do. Keep an eye out for bruising, or emotional outbursts that might happen around the time that they are due to head to their father’s house.

I’m open to exploring this more if you’d like to give more details to the situation as well.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge