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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 
I've scrolled through this forum in the past and have found it helpful but I never joined until now. My 12 yr old daughter has been struggling w/ anorexia for the past year. We tried just getting outpatient help for a while but she wasn't progressing so she started IOP a little over a month ago. I was surprised by the quick results and saw drastic improvements after just a few weeks...that is until this past week. Her anxiety's been at an all time high and she's had a couple panic attacks (which have never happened before).

Last night I woke up to her SCREAMING in her sleep. I shook her awake and it was about 10 mins of her shaking and sobbing uncontrollably before she could calm down and open up. She told me she had been raped about a year ago (basically when the AN started) but wouldn't give any details-no name, place or anything. I am horrified, shocked, devastated, etc. Her restriction was very high today and she is pretending like our conversation last night never happened. I don't know what to do, I'm at such a loss. I feel powerless, I want to press charges but I can't do anything with the little amount of information I have. My biggest concern right now is her health, both physical and mental. I don't know if any of you have similar situations but regardless any advice and support is extremely appreciated.

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Posts: 3,592
Reply with quote  #2 
Welcome to the forum. Sorry that you have had to find your way here.

My D is fortunate in that although she has severe AN she reports never being bullied, assaulted or traumatised in any way. I can only guess at the distress you must be feeling at the information she has revealed. Since she is currently seeing therapists in her IOP it would seem as though perhaps talking to them about what she has said to you and looking for advice as to how to take things further, support her, and given her age the risks versus benefits of this action. 

D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.

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Posts: 1,519
Reply with quote  #3 
Ugh.  Your post brought back very vivid memories to my own experience finding out my daughter had been sexually abused right about the time that her anorexia started.  I'm so sorry.  It is one of the most devastating things for a parent but the good thing is she told you.  Foodsupport has a very good point.  You have access to her IOP team and I would be talking to all of them ASAP.  My daughter was inpatient when her rape came to light and it was a God sent because they kept her safe while guiding her through the medical exams she needed and also reported the rape to the police.  She was interviewed in the hospital with her outpatient and inpaitent team there supporting her.  I can really understand wanting to press charges and going after the person who did it but my first concern and I'm sure yours too is your daughter's health and well being. 

I wanted to press charges and started down that path but quite honestly my daughter was in no shape to testify in court.  The hospital reported it to the police immediately (someone at her school).  The school did an investigation and my daughter was not the only one.  He was prosecuted, etc. but my daughter was not part of the legal action. She was too sick and fragile to put her through testifying.  Her therapist and team was supportive, talked about the pros and cons with her and fully supported her decision to focus on her getting her own health back in order rather than testifying.  I don't regret that decision at all.

It was a super rocky time in all ways after my daughter admitted what had happened.  I thank my lucky stars she was inpatient because she decompensated a lot and became very suicidal.  She was being tube fed at the time and had to be because she became almost catatonic and would not eat anything.  It explained a lot for me but left me absolutely gutted.  I too saw a therapist after that for support and it was so helpful.  My daughter refused to talk to me about it and I didn't push things as I knew she was getting plenty of support through the hospital at the time.  I did tell her daily that nothing she could ever say or do would change how I felt about her.  I thought she was extremely brave for sharing what she did and that my love for her didn't change no matter what she had been through.  I am very glad you have a team that can help you sort out things and help guide you through this time.  If ever you want to talk via email, drop me a line.  My email address is available through my profile.

As hard as it is to take in and hear, for me at least I felt more able to deal with the whole situation because it was known now.  You can't deal with secrets and things you don't know are there.

Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #4 

Dear Cleo452,

I'm so sorry to read your post which was pointed out to me by moderator DeeNL who has been such  a support to me. I have been where you are now. We were six months into my daughter's anorexia 'treatment' before we had the shock discovery, in more or less the manner you describe, that she had been assaulted and threatened at gunpoint the previous school year. It was many more months and a diagnosis of PTSD (plus anorexia) before we got the full story.

Right now, you must be bewildered and sad and angry but, as you have said, the priority is caring for your daughter. I'm not surprised the restrictive behaviors were worse the next day, it's possible that the Eating Disorder's rigid rules prevented her from telling you up to now. She is possibly terrified (of the ED) that she has told.

Each of us on this forum has a unique path, so I can only speak from my and my daughter's experience.

What my daughter most needed to hear was that we believed her, and that we loved her unconditionally and that whatever had happened made no difference to us, in fact we admired how brave she was to have carried this burden for so long alone but now she was no longer alone, now we knew and we would be there with her as she goes forward. The advice we got was not to press for details, the details may or may not emerge - right now she needs the reassurance of your love, your belief in her and to know that she is safe. She may also need to hear that she did nothing wrong, did nothing to cause this - what that person(s) did was wrong.

In our case, things got a lot worse before they got better and my daughter's health has taken center stage over seeking to track down and prosecute the perpetrators, although my mind and my internet searches go there...

I know you are hurting too, this is a shock and you must have so many questions but you can make a huge difference to your daughter right now just by being mom, and that is empowering.

I'm here for you with whatever answers I can give and unlimited support. Reply or email me anytime.



Posts: 365
Reply with quote  #5 
I'm so sorry to read your story. How utterly devastating. I have no experience with this, but from my reading it seems that some RAN cases start with trauma/assault. But weirdly, it is my understanding, it is not the case that the RAN can be treated by dealing with the trauma per se. Rather the trauma was a trigger--likely a trigger to short-term reduced nutrition (like skipping meals for emotional reasons) and then the RAN genetic tendency kicked in. I believe from my reading that the RAN is then its own phenomenon. 

Our FBT was trained in trauma treatment, I suppose because a proportion of RAN cases are kicked off by trauma in the above fashion. Unfortunately this means that "simple" nutritional rehabilitation is key to beginning healing from RAN. 

Again, I have no personal familiarity with your devastating circumstances. You are a heroic parent for taking this on--as you must and will, for your d's sake.

Posts: 318
Reply with quote  #6 
My daughter is a victim of rape, though it happened after she was diagnosed with ED. She did not tell us until almost two years later, and claims that she had forgotten about it during that time (whether intentionally or unintentionally). I can't say much about the specifics due to a gag order we had to sign as part of the legal proceedings, but I will try my best to tell you about her healing process. 
When she was actively restricting and malnourished, her PTSD symptoms were MUCH worse. Sometimes, the best thing I could do to help her was to hold her and make sure she felt safe. Invest in a weighted blanket like the ones they make for kids with autism. They are very expensive, but sometimes were the only thing that made her feel safe during flashbacks etc. When she was really struggling, eating always got more difficult. Focus on high density meals that she truly enjoyed pre-ED. After she is WR she will be in a better position to handle her trauma.
I recommend finding a good trauma counselor ASAP, with the understanding that she will not get more therapeutic work done until she is eating better. Let her start working with this counselor and building trust so that she does not have to go through this face once she's thinking properly again. EMDR therapy was highly useful for my d. I don't even know how to explain the process, but it truly made her sexual assault something she could talk about without breaking down. 
This is hard. But, no matter how hard it is for you to watch your d go through this, she is experiencing these feelings tenfold. Hang in there. Come here for support often. You are doing hero's work. Your d (even if she can't verbalize it right now) is probably so thankful that she has a mom she can trust. 

D- 21 w long history of RAN (that seems to be in remission, thankfully)
Me- Stephanie

Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #7 
Thank you so much for all the responses. I've spoken to her IOP team so they are all aware now. She will likely step up to PHP either sometime this week or next week which I definitely think is for the best. I'm holding off on pressing any charges right now because I also realize she's in no state to testify in court right now (and I hardly have any information). I think concentrating on her health and refeeding is most important right now as she won't be able to really deal with the trauma if she's malnourished. I do like the idea of a weighted blanket so I'll look into that. I really appreciate all the advice, it's been really helpful in considering our next steps.
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