For the girl in my office
A three-year-old girl is rummaging through the toys in the corner of my office. While she appears to be relaxed, she constantly monitors how her mother is doing. Her mother is sat in front of me. She feels uncomfortable leaving her daughter with a neighbour or with my colleague. She speaks softly about her difficulties: financial problems, poor housing, no social network and an uncertain future. Overwhelmed by her problems, she no longer pays attention to her daughter. Only when we talk about her daughter we get to the core of her burden. Her voice falters and she can't find the words. Sometimes there are indeed no words for the suffering a person experiences. And as a psychologist, this sometimes gives me a tummy ache, because what can I do as a support worker for this mother and this child within the layers of these problems?
It is these encounters with mothers with a child born as a result of sexual violence that have driven me to do research that helps to improve their situation. In recent years, we have gathered bits of information in various projects. Together with highly experienced care providers, we combined these pieces of information from science with the expertise derived from clinical practice for this website for mothers, children and professionals.
With this website, we want to inform, empower and, where necessary, support the search for help. Because I hope that these mothers will encounter a professional who asks about the child's parentage during pregnancy and what this means. And that mothers get the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings. And that mothers and children are supported in developing their relationship. I hope to create some perspective, and I hope that the girl in my consultation room can play carefree, based on the knowledge that she and her mother are taken care of.
Elisa van Ee
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