How Does a Child’s Mind Work After Sexual Assault Victimization?

Upset person

If Dean Kilpatrick was sitting on a U.S. Senate panel evaluating the sexual abuse claims of a woman against a high-level judicial nominee, his perspectives and input on the subject would be singular, indeed.

Candidly, his views would differ mightily from some of the takes being currently offered by committee members in an actual case.

Those views stress an instant lack of credibility. They emphasize that the allegations are dated and not remembered in precise detail. And they were not immediately reported to law enforcers following their claimed occurrence.

We are obviously referring to the high-profile matter presently playing out that involves the nomination process of a would-be U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Ours is not a political blog, and we thus skirt any direct opinion on the process or outcome. The very fact of a woman coming forward (recent news account now cite a second woman speaking up, as well) with child-linked sexual abuse allegations is unquestionably news, though. As a child-advocate legal practice, we do have a few things to note on that point at the California Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D.

And they coalesce immediately around the above-cited Mr. Kilpatrick, whose views on child sexual abuse arguably merit high regard. Kilpatrick is a clinical psychologist and director of a major victims’ treatment center. He has 40 years-plus of on-point experience working with abuse/assault survivors.

Here is his bottom line: Although victims often don’t remember every detail of a past offense, the most horrific aspects of such an ordeal remain “locked in” and “very salient.”

And for decades, which is often the time that elapses before they summon up the courage to come forward and confront their assailants. In the interim, they are often dealing with tremendous fears, shame, post-traumatic stress disorders and additional challenges.

What Kilpatrick’s trained ear hears in the story of the woman soon slated to offer testimony before national legislators is a consistency that should not be attacked simply for political purposes. He says that the report and offered details concerning the incident and its psychological aftermath ring true as being “very consistent with what has happened with a lot of sexual assault victims.”

What Kilpatrick most stresses is objectivity and delayed judgment that counters already noted committee observations that the claimant is “mixed up” and “mistaken.”

To Kilpatrick, such comments endanger truth and escalate the pain already afflicting abuse victims who have ultimately summoned the courage to come forward.

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