When I was either five or six, my mom took me to her friend's family party. I had had a kids-type of crush on my mom's friend's brother (who was at the time about late 20s) and he was at the party. I was sitting on his lap at an empty table playing with a bouncy ball. The bouncy ball bounced into my lap, and the man put his hand down my shirt, and into my lap to get the bouncy ball, while smiling at me. I remember his hand running down my skin, but at five I obviously did not have a developed chest and I do not remember him touching my genitals. I did not think anything strangely about the man doing that, in fact, I thought it was cool because I thought it meant that he liked me. Now, being older, I am bothered by the incident. I am wondering if i am making a big deal out of nothing, and should just keep it to myself still, and if its too late anyway to tell anyone ( I feel like no one would believe me, since I waited so long to tell anyone anyway). Or is it something I should share? I tried telling my ex-boyfriend while we were dating, but he didn't seem to care, so it probably isn't a big deal at all.

Ben's Answer:

If it bothers you now, then it means something. Even though it may be unlikely that anyone else would take this incident seriously at this point - what matters is how you feel.

You just met this guy. You didn't know him. He invaded your boundaries by putting his hand down your shirt. Could have been innocent, and simply poor judgment on his part - or could have been very intentionally done, in which case it might technically be a form of sexual abuse. It's a subtle thing. Sometimes even the way a person looks at a girl, or a comment they make about her appearance can be a form of sexual abuse. It happens all the time.

If you feel the need to talk to someone about it, then you should do that, for your own peace of mind.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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