Monday, February 3, 2014

Sometimes Life in a Bubble is Tempting

Every parent wants to believe they can protect their kids from harm. It's human nature.

Most every parent realizes at some point they cannot raise their kids in a bubble. In order for kids to grow we have to do a certain amount of letting go.

Letting go means acknowledging you don't have power to control your child's life.

Sometimes things happen you can't prevent.

What they now call acquaintance or date rape is nothing more than trying to add a qualifier to a despicable act. As if it is somehow a different kind of rape than stranger rape.

Rape is rape is rape. There are no degrees or qualifiers that can change that a sexual act performed by force or without consent is a crime. It simply is.

And when one person is abused, the chances of being abused again or going on to abuse another are multiplied.

I did everything I could to protect my kids... but it couldn't save Becka from going through at 14 what happened to me at 16. I can be grateful that what was the last in a long line of sexual assaults for me was, for her, a first and only.

I can't remember the last time it hurt this much to try to write... not physical pain... but it's everything I can do not to fall apart right now.

Becka and Elena we here earlier. Elena was talking about the other day when her she and Mommy watched a friend's baby. There were lots of stories to tell about playing with a baby boy who is only a little older than her cousin in Boston. She had such a grand time playing big sister.

She also had a few moments of being irritated with the baby's 11 year old uncle who wasn't inclined to share his toy cars.

While rambling about her day, Elena mentioned something that happened during the very few minutes she asked for "alone time" and went to sit in the homeowner's bedroom.

"He hugged me and kissed me on the lips and showed me his pee-pee!"

I honestly don't have it in me to go into detail about the couple of hours since. It's enough to say we've talked to Elena about it. Reminded her what is not okay for someone to do or show her and that it. is. not. her. fault.

Becka has talked to her friend and her friend's mother. Sadly, it turns out this kid was abused by an older foster brother. His Mom is going to talk to him again and get him some help because, clearly, he's been affected more than they realized.

What kills me is that Elena had no shame or fear in telling us... until she told us. We both reacted so seriously, as a 3 year old, she instantly knew something was wrong. Being 3, she's still in the magical center of the universe age where she believes anything that happens in her world is connected to her. So, knowing she's been told in the past it's not okay for older people to show off their underwear or private parts, telling us it happened means she did something wrong. She almost instantly recanted the part about being flashed.

I wish we could go back and react a little less emotionally... but it is what it is.

This is a kid who hasn't been exposed to the sexuality in television and movies. Heck, she was grossed out by a shirtless Superman and "Ew"ed when Clark kissed Lois.

Logically, I know this isn't something that has to be an "event" in Elena's life. Because of things in our lives, it's a far bigger deal to Becka and me.

But it happened. It happened to Elena at the same age it first happened to me... and in a similar way.

For the first time in I don't know how many years, I'm overwhelmed with the emotions of long ago wounds in my life. I'm angry about the way abuse leaves a legacy of repetition... and heartbroken this cycle found its way to another 3 year old.

This won't be publicly shared on social networking & am disabling shares... I had to get it out and off my chest somewhere.