What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s post is by an anonymous reader.
What I want you to know is that my 7 year old little boy was molested by a 13 year old and I did everything I could to prevent it.
What I want you to know is that sometimes it happens when we think we are being so careful. What I want you to know is to trust your gut. What I want you know is it can happen even to boys even little boys with paranoid mamas like me who try to do everything right.
This story is not mine to tell so for that reason it's private but I feel it's a story to tell. I still can't believe it happened. I can't believe our family is dealing with this. One evening we were visiting with neighbors. We are new to our neighborhood and we glad to finally be hanging out with some of the neighbors. It was 3 families with 5 children total A 13 year old, our 3 who are 9,7, and 5, and a 6 year old....All 5 of the children were together watching a movie while the parents were outside. We were outside for 20 minutes when my oldest came out with my 5 and said they wanted to go home....we left and as soon as we walked into our door my 9 year old told me that the 13 year exposed himself to all of them and had the 6 yr old do something to him in front of of all of them. I was horrified. One of my worst nightmares was happening and to my babies. My babies who are 9, 7, and 5...who are so innocent and protected. I knew I didn't trust this older child. My gut told me to never let them alone with him and I never did...they weren't alone! This boy would come play but I never let them out of my sight. I felt it was a little odd he wanted to play with children their ages. And this night they were all together and we were right outside! I never thought this would happen then.
Over the next few days we were devastated to learn that apparently this 13 year old WAS alone with our 7 year old one afternoon months before... when I wasn't home. My 7 year old was being watched by a family member and while I wasn't home the very same thing happened to my sweet little boy. It never occurred to me to mention my concerns to the babysitter and I didn't know 13 year old was here. I didn't know to tell him to watch them carefully. I didn't think to say no friends over when we aren't here. They so rarely have friends over that it just didn't occur to me give the rule. I didn't know this happened until months later. My sweet little boy didn't tell me for 3 months that this happened to him. He knew it wasn't ok but he thought he would get in trouble. He didn't understand and he still doesn't understand. It was only a 1 time incident for him. But sadly that wasn't the case for the other little boy it had gone on for months. His parents didn't see the warning signs, they didn't know...they trusted this 13 year old.
What I want you to know is this can happen to good children with good parents. I was so paranoid about this happening that I talked to my boys so much about these things at a very early age...they knew it's not ok. They knew to say no, they knew no touching privates and they knew to tell. What my 7 year old didn't know was that he wouldn't be in trouble, that it's ok, and we aren't mad at him. Despite all he knew he is still 7 and was impressed by an older person he trusted. He was coerced into doing something even though he knew he shouldn't by someone he trusted. While his babysitter (who will no longer EVER watch my children) was upstairs. While his older brother was gone and while his little brother was upstairs. While I wasn't home to protect him and it breaks my heart. But I also know I did everything I could.
Thank god my oldest told and we are so proud of him. He told and that is huge. His age helped in understanding. And I like to think our very open relationship helped. Talk to your children. Be honest. Be on guard. Know it can happen to boys. It can happen even when you never think it would. It did to us. We are still reeling.
I still can't believe it happened to him, to us. My son will be ok, I am sure of it. He doesn't want to talk but counseling will help. Counseling for all of us. For our other 2 children who witnessed something they knew nothing about. And for my husband and I in helping us learn how to talk to our boys about what happened.
My heart breaks for my sweet little boy because right now he doesn't understand but he will as he gets older. My hope for him is that he can deal with this less secretively that while it is a secret it's one he's ok with...that it's just a tiny part of his life and doesn't define it.
Please talk to your children. My son telling saved his brother and other children. Be open with your children. Be honest. But most of all, talk to them . . . even your boys.