Each day, as a parent, one wonders how safe is it out there for our children. With the television/film industry glorifying crime on the screen, and pushing it’s limits of what’s allowed as general viewing…you have to wonder what effect it has on the American public. How can we as parent’s educate our children without scaring them to death? It’s a fine balance in giving your children the facts, and handing your children the means to live in fear.
As a rape survivor, I know too well how scary it can be for those of us out there that were ill informed. My mom always answered any question I had growing up. She gave me the stranger danger talk growing up, but I don’t ever remember a pro-active conversation about sexual predators and how that could effect me or anyone I knew.
I don’t blame my parent’s for not bridging that conversation…they didn’t know it would be needed. How do we as parent’s know what’s needed to protect our child, if we haven’t lived it personally or through someone else’s story? My parent’s never experienced this type of trauma, or knew anyone else that did. I’ve never sat and wondered what my life would be like if they had.
I am, who I am, because of my life’s circumstances, and am blessed to be exactly where I am. I have survived my past and forgiven my transgressor. It took a while, but I learned to have a healthy relationship. I thank God that He brought me through exactly to where and when He did, so that I’d meet my wonderful husband.
The reason I’m writing this??
To make sure you all are aware of HOW IMPORTANT it is to educate your children in the ways of the world. According to RAINN, every two and a half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. And that’s cases that are reported! I didn’t report my case…it makes me wonder how many women, men, or children do not report their cases.
To give you some hope, I have included a blog from a friend, who did educate her daughter. She taught her daughter the facts, which ended saving her life! Please read my friend, Sarvin’s, story. Please pass my blog on to others, so that they’re made aware on how taking 2 minutes to talk to your child can make such a huge impact on their lives! Her and her daughter’s story is below:
While her father slept on the couch, his friend “Ben” lured my daughter into his bedroom under the guise of talking there, so that they didn’t disturb anyone. Of course, she went. My daughter had known Ben since she was a little girl and she trusted him.
In the bedroom he talked about common interests. Interests, that for the last couple of months he’d used to get closer to her, to advance her trust in him. I later discovered that this was a process called “grooming the victim”. The conversation moved on to questions about school, friends and then boyfriends. At 13, she didn’t have a boyfriend. He moved in closer. He hugged her. It was when he told her how pretty she was and then touched her face; the alarm bells began to ring inside her. She was looking for a way out. Perhaps he smelled her fear. Perhaps it even excited him. But it was then that he told her the things he wanted to do to her.
“If you don’t like it, we don’t have to tell anyone.”
But she said it was my voice she heard the loudest, “Get away! Tell someone!”
She told Ben to stop. She left the room, woke her sleeping father, and said she needed to leave. He took her away. She wouldn’t give details to her father, but when my ex-husband brought her home to me, details came pouring out amidst the tears and the vomiting that lasted two days. The crime was reported, as she knew there was no choice, because she said, “I don’t want to see this happen to Ben’s little daughter, or any other girls.”
That was a year ago and yet the trial just finished up last week. Twelve men and women believed her and Ben is guilty of a felony.
Ben is a man I had never met until the trial, but he was supposedly the best friend of the man I’d divorced ten years ago. Ben was trusted; he was not a stranger.
Ironically or perhaps by the grace of God, about two weeks before the incident, inspired by a TV show on sexual predators that we’d watched, my teenagers and I sat down and discussed the subject. I told my children these things:
1. A sexual predator is likely someone you trust; a family friend, a neighbor, or even a relative, like an uncle, a grandpa or even in some cases, a parent.
2. If there is someone you don’t feel comfortable with, for ANY reason, let me know. I will trust your instincts; maybe you just have a “feeling” about someone. I will NEVER ignore that. I will get you away from them. I will always believe you.
3. Your body is yours and NO ONE has the right to touch you. They might even try to make you feel good, but because you have the information and know about good and bad touching, you know what to do —
4. Get away and get help! The very words my daughter heard me saying in her head that night.
My daughter has lived and then survived the day-to-day fear that Ben would come and get her, then later the endless questions, the badgering of a defense attorney, and the worst thing— facing Ben in court. She is one of the lucky ones. So many children are violated horribly. That night she was able to stop what was going to happen to her.
She has urged me to get the word out saying, “Tell all the mommies to talk to their kids like you talked to me, so that they know what to do.”
She’s 14 now and I’m incredibly proud of this brave, young woman God has blessed me with. The results of that night are best described in her own words. The following is a document, requested by the courts, shown to the judge before sentencing, asking how the crime has affected her life. She addresses the letter to her perpetrator.
One night, changed my life. One night, I became a victim. But that was only for one night. I became a victor when I went to the police. I am not the girl I once was. In the video (taped police statement shown in court) you saw a little child who was scared and hurt. What you have seen in front of you on the witness stand is a powerful and strong young woman who has found hope and God again. I have gained a lot in the last year, more than what you took away, even though the loss was still great. Yet I am so much more thankful for my parents and friends. I can do anything now. I’m no longer afraid.
I even forgave you for changing my life. I forgave you for ending what little of normality I had. But I will never forget and my family will never forget either. So look at me, and remember the girl you tried to invade. For now, she is a woman who is much stronger than you’ll ever be.
At my daughter’s request, I urge you: TALK to your children. Today. Don’t wait.
Sarvin and her daughter will be checking my blog to see your comments. Please leave them your thoughts and responses, to let her know how empowering her story is. She just got through with the trial, and needs to know you’ll not only pass this on…but want’s to know your thoughts.
A few minutes on a tough subject can mean our children’s survival!
Spiritlifter just told me of her blog that talked of this same issue…it’s important to get this out people. Please spread the word.