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A reader contacted me about a form of child abuse that I have not directly addressed on my blog (although I have mentioned it in passing a couple of times). This type of child abuse involved unnecessary enemas, tubes, and object insertion as part of the abuse.

This form of abuse is covered in the movie Sybil. Sybil’s mother would give her an unnecessary enema. She would then tie her up by the piano, play the piano, and threaten Sybil if she wet her pants. Of course, Sybil’s bladder would give out, which would set off the next round of abuse. I know a man who suffered similar abuse by his female babysitter. She would give him unnecessary enemas and then take him out in public without allowing him to use a bathroom. Of course, he would wet himself and be humiliated.

I joined a message board called Making Daughters Safe Again, which is specifically for survivors of mother-daughter sexual abuse. I was blown away by how many mothers gave their daughters unnecessary enemas! I even questioned whether there was something weird about my own mother-daughter sexual abuse experience because she didn’t give me unnecessary enemas. That is how common this form of abuse was in that circle of child abuse survivors.

Tubes are used to force a child to ingest a harmful (or simply gross) substance. It is the same idea as the enema, only the tube is going down the throat.

My sister and I were subjected to object insertion. S, my most sadistic abuser, would force us to play “doggie.” I was the male dog, and my baby sister was the female dog. S forced me to insert objects into my sister as part of the “game,” which was absolutely nauseating to me.

Object insertion involves inserting any object (hair brush, enema, curling iron, etc.) into any orifice in a child. What is especially confusing to the child is the why? The child is getting no pleasure out of the object insertion, so what is the point of the activity? It is about sadistic abuse and about breaking the child’s will and dignity.

If you have endured any of these forms of abuse, you are not alone. I generally hear about them in two types of settings – sexual abuse by women and as a part of ritual abuse. I am not saying that no man has ever used these tactics – I am sure many have. However, it does seem to be a more common practice by a female abuser than by a male one. Perhaps the reason that enemas, tubes, and object insertion are talked about less is because they are more frequently done by women, and talking about female abusers is harder for a lot of child abuse survivors than talking about abuse by men.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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