My brother hurt me in unimaginable ways. He broke my trust in love and in childhood. I know he hurt everybody else in my family in all these ways too. Sometimes I wish that he would have to face God for what he did. I wish that he would be punished for what he did because it is not okay that he did it and he hurt our family.
It is not safe for women to drink in bars
It is not safe to date
It is not safe to send your children on school field trips
It is not safe to assume that your government won’t release sex offenders without any supervison
It is not safe to trust people in your family, at your church, in your home, or in public spaces
It is not safe to let your child out of your sight
Does this seem like a paranoid list? Each “not safe” refers to a real story. These are statements of fact based on real events. Within the past few months two separate crisis counselors have told me that young women now accept date rape as an unavoidable reality. And it is.
Think about what it means for all of us that getting someone drunk and drugged is an ACCEPTED form of rape.
A friend asked me, do you put the kids to bed and at least get five minutes to yourself? No, I say, not really but I like them all…
Hours later I realize how strange that must sound, how incomplete. What I see in my head is thirteen years of eidetic episodes of unlikable events–bullying, tantrums, swearing, violent protracted rages, physical assaults, homicidal imaginary friends, routine larceny, and lies, cursing of the most egregious kind. Some stories so awful I do not want to write about the hurt. And all of this before the years of C’s sexual felonies were dragged to light.
Most sane and normal people would have known better, right? We believed if we did not give up on m and c they would be good, or at least better because of love. Because of Love.
Jesus said, greater love has no man than he lays down his life for his friend.
Somethings are easier than others to lay down, I say beneath the shadow of the Cross.
Those 13 years took things that did not belong to me from the most precious people I know. To say I like my children is an understatement.
They are my heroes.
I have lost all respect for all of the people involved in the movie, “That’s My Dad” but none more than Susan Sarandon. How does a woman keep any vestiges of self respect when she acts in, promotes, and gets her daughter to participate in a movie which makes fun of child rape and a child sexual abuse victim?
What have we come to? What has Susan come to? Please protest this movie. Please tell people to contact others including the producers of this movie to let them know that child rape is never funny.
Charming. Well-spoken. Educated. Beautiful children. A life story that seemed to suggest he was a good man, a caring father who had suffered a bit of injustice but was bravely shouldering his burden, taking care of his kids. A brave single father who worked as an athletics director for a national non-profit. Single-handedly started a traveling basketball team for pre-teen girls.
When one of his victims reported him to her mother who then contacted his supervisors at the non-profit, the supervisors told the mother and the victim that her story was not true. Mom told the girl to stop talking. No one called the police or CPS and Guy was able to continue to molest girls for several more years.
Eventually he was caught molesting a girl under ten years old. Claimed it was a misunderstanding. Took a plea bargain.
Has never admitted he is a pedophile even though he has multiple victims.
He was in my extended family. He came to family dinners when I was groiwing up. I knew he had molested someone in my family. He was flirtacious and charming to me, but then I was fiftyish years younger than him. At the time the balance of his presence at family gatherings and his predations of a child in the family were both facts. I knew not to trust him, but he was there. As far as I could tell no one had confronted him and he suffered no social dents as a result of molesting a young girl. He was well-educated, well-spoken. Charming. Remember the word charming. Pedophiles are often charming.
I interrupt my regularly scheduled series on profiling pedophiles to talk about…
when rudeness is the right thing to do.
I was talking to someone about protecting children from a dangerous person. The adult admonished the children to be polite because it was the “right thing to do.” I was a pain in the a…. and argued. I told my friend you have to train your kids to deal differently with bad guys. Sometimes rudeness and even simple assault is the right thing to do–if you are defending yourself from a bad man.
I am haunted knowing that we were all held capitve for years by the bad man. My children’s politeness, all of our polite training aided his criminal behavior. Tell your children that if someone is trying to hurt them they need to fight back, make a scene, be rude, be angry, call attention to the situation, cry out, call the police. We must practice fighting the bad man or the bad person the way we would tell our children how to survive a fire. Our children should be safe, not polite and subjected to abuse. Be loud. Teach your children when to BE LOUD!
I talked to a friend today about the idea that our collective desire to avoid dealing with real abuse leaves predators in control of their stories,their victims’ lives, and ultimately public policy.
What would you do, actually do, if you knew that upwards of 75% of children were the victims of child sexual abuse and that the reason the number was that high was because a mere 10% of the population was able to molest that many children. These figures are low–75 and 10, but if you use them then each predator has an average of 7.5 victims.
Because they are the guys next door.
So I am going to showcase some of these guys. I am not trying to name names, but each is a real person who has been identified by at least one victim. Most were not punished for what they did. If they were, I will asterisk their story. Some are dead, they live in different places. All are dangerous. All are the guys next door.
Two things you should know about me: I was one of those awkward nerds picked last (or close to last) for teams in gym class. In my mind I can still see the hours of playing games nervously, with no native grace or confidence.
And 2: my first enduring image of mother’s day was the day Veronica vomited on me in church. Em and C were doing their usual circus-y best at mayhem and I was pregnant. Fun and dignified.
Now. Understand this. I am ambivalent about mother’s day. I am unequivocal about motherhood, ambivalent about its celebration. In my mind I see two groups—the cool moms, their kids are cute, well-behaved, lovable, they go to good schools, marry well, occasionally win prizes. Then there is the other shadowy group—moms of sex offenders. You can’t see their faces, they do not want to be recognized, or worse still, they make ridiculous excuses for their offenders’ behavior and compensate. Not a fun or cool group. Technically I believe I belong to both groups, but the cool moms will kick my sorry butt out if they find out about C. I am sure of it.
There is a part of me that says, really? Do I have to be a member of this group forever? The answer is yes. The answer is yes because of C. The answer is that C will always need a kick in the butt and a mom. Deal with it girl.
So instead of cleaning my room or writing the great American novel or going for a nice swim I tell God, fine, I am going to call him and cut through some of the usual meaningless pleasantries and give myself a real mother’s day present—the truth.
As soon as I start I cry and I keep crying throughout the conversation, but I get my mother’s day present—the truth. I tell C. that I will always be his mom because he will always need one, and that the pain never, never stops, that I ask all the time why? And that what he did never goes away or stops hurting for any of us. I tell him I wish I had answers but I only have one—God and He loves him. He hates what he did, He will always hate what he did, but God loves him. Do you know it, C? I ask. Do you know this? Have you felt it?
I tell him I have an image of him scrounging for change under a vending machine. No dignity for a quarter. I tell him, that is what you need to do to find God. Get down on your hands and knees, forget your dignity and look for Him, boy, He is the one thing that matters.