Imagine your child is the most beautiful baby in the world. Now imagine they are a beautiful toddler, then preschooler and then kindergartner.
(yes, I know your child is the most beautiful of all these things–this is why I wrote it that way– so you could empathize)
Imagine you homeschool because you enjoy time with your child so much. Imagine your child is both smart and good, charming and graceful and funny.
Now imagine you discover that your child has been sexually abused by someone they trusted. Someone you let be around your child. You trusted the abuser too.
When you find out that all this has happened before your child is 6, how will you feel? What will you do?
I can only tell you what I did. The first thing I did was grieve. I cried for at least a month. I cried for three years. I cried yesterday.
The next thing I did was ask how could I have missed it? The abuser was highly deceptive. Most are.
Then I stared right into the face of an awful list. On it were:
Acting out sexually
Gender identity crisis
Low self esteem
Imagine you are the mother of the most beautiful child in the world and you do not want your child to struggle with the things on that list. You want healing.
I prayed and the answer I got was remarkably simple: the truth will set you free.
I had a hard time at first because of the list. I hated the idea that people would judge my child because of what had been done to her instead of seeing she was not those things.
She was just another 5 year old crime victim. Five year old rape victim.
You don’t get your head around that right away. Hurts too much.
But I began to tell our story. I used the language of the criminal code because what had been done was a crime.
As I told the story I found out one thing for sure: the list is wrong, really wrong.
How do I know? Because the vast majority of rape and child sexual abuse survivors never show up on the list, never reveal their stories.
They live quiet, normal, functioning lives with no predetermined set of symptoms from the list except the terrible loneliness and pain that comes with the betrayal of their innocence and the added weight of attempting to heal alone.
Why would they need to heal alone?
Who wants to have to deal with terrible pain of sexual abuse AND the stigma of that list?
Not me. I wouldn’t. But I have chosen to let the truth set me free and it has.
My beautiful child is no more at risk of the things on that list than any other child. In fact she is far less so.
Because she has me and I would swallow a world of pain, humiliation and prejudice before I would let her walk the road into adulthood alone.
In fact. I want to get rid of the list. It a terrible fiction.