The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimates 1 out of 7 females is sexually molested at some time in their lives. In general, the younger the person’s age at the time of molestation, the greater the damage. Sometimes, the damage is repressed, that is, the person puts it out of awareness but always remembers it. When a child, male or female, is sexually molested, the child will inevitably undergo an emotional reaction. The reaction(s) may be emotional withdrawal, irritability, forgetfulness, behavioral problems at home and/or at school, inappropriate sexual behavior at school or elsewhere, depression, emotional isolation, sleep disorders, bedwetting, a reversion to baby talk, thumb sucking, or a general failure to reach the next expected stage of emotional development. Often the impact can be life‑changing.
At this time, my associate Shahla Chehrazi, M.D., a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, conducts medical‑legal evaluations of younger children and toddlers, in cases of alleged sexual molestation as well as other trauma experienced by children, adolescents and adults. Her practice, experience and training focus on child and adolescent psychiatry. In some cases, I do such assessments for older, more verbal children, adolescents, and adults, including adults whose childhood experience is an allegation or cause of action in litigation, civil and criminal. We are always alert to false memory syndrome, present or not, in these assessments.