Aunt Vadge: what constitutes inappropriate touching?

Hi Aunt Vadge,

My grand-daughter is 10 years old and it has come to my attention that her foster carers have been trying to wash her genitalia! Is this wrong, is this molestation? The girl is quite capable of washing herself without assistance.

I am very fearful that my grand-daughter is being subjected to unnecessary fondling and inappropriate touching of her private parts. Please help, as I really feel this is wrong, really wrong, and don’t know what I should do about it. Please help.

Worried Grandmother


Dear Worried Grandmother,

You are right to be concerned about this touching, since a 10-year-old girl is quite capable of washing her own vagina without assistance. There would be some circumstances where this might be necessary (like if she was ill or had an accident of some kind and couldn’t do it herself), but apart from that I would be raising some serious questions about this with the people caring for her, and the official department in charge of such matters. Inappropriate touching is not on.

I would also be giving your grand-daughter some very strict instructions about what is ok and what is not when it comes to her body. Nobody is allowed to touch her without her permission, especially her vagina.

Foster homes are not famous for being safe havens, despite the desperate need for them to be so – abuse is absolutely rife by other kids and adults alike, so keep a close eye on your kin and try to make sure bad things are not happening to her there.

Get her moved to a new foster home if necessary, and teach her skills to protect her body – she can fight with her fingernails and fists if she has to, which is better than being molested by a psychologically damaged stranger. Give her tools to fight with, and don’t be shy about it. Get her to speak up, and ask for help, and make sure she knows you are on her side and will fight for her.

It would be beneficial to speak to as many people in your local area who can help you as possible, and the people in charge of the foster system in your district. It might turn out to be some kind of error on your part, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to sexual abuse by carers. If you need advice on how to deal with the foster care system in your country and city, try to call a help line for sexual abuse, or call your local sexual health clinic or hospital, and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Good job showing up for your grand-daughter. She really needs you right now.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge