Real Life Stories

During Hurricane Andrew which destroyed 75,000 homes in Florida, 9-year-old Stevie was at school. When he got home he found that the roofs of most of the houses on his street, including his own, had been blown off. He could not find his parents and his sister, who had been removed to a shelter. He desperately searched the neighborhood and after several hours was found by the police, who reunited him with his family. The family stayed in the shelter for two weeks until they were relocated, and Stevie refused to eat or speak for several days. Two months later Stevie was still afraid to sleep alone at night, was not concentrating in school, and was irritable whenever there was a rain storm.

Jessica, a 7-year-old girl, was withdrawn and quiet in the classroom and somewhat distant from her peers. Although she had previously been a top student, Jessica's academic performance was faltering. On several occasions, the teacher had observed her masturbating while she was working at her desk. Jessica then began to refuse to go to gym class because she said she was afraid of the teacher, a male. She also complained frequently that she was tired, but she had trouble falling asleep at night and was often awakened by nightmares about strange men. When the school psychologist spoke with Jessica, she learned that her mother had recently remarried and on weekends Jessica was left in the care of her stepfather while her mother was at work. Jessica also stated that when her stepfather had a "funny smell on his breath" he would engage Jessica in mutual genital stimulation.