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Friday, January 26, 2018

One thing parents must do when their child is sexually assaulted

Image result for parent and child
Every case of sexual assault is a wake up call to the human race: We are surrounded by deceiving perverts!

The current front page case involving over 150 young girls who were assaulted by a trusted trainer is another heartbreaker. But I'm not surprised by Larry Nassar's actions. What I'm continually surprised by is the reaction of some parents to their child being sexually abused.


Your first job


My son was sexually assaulted by a trusted high school teacher 5 years ago when he was 16 years old. He was one of several victims.

My son suffered silently for 2 years before he told anyone what was done to him. Hearing his story for the first time left me numb ... I think. I'm not sure what I thought or felt. You can't prepare yourself for this kind of gut-wrenching news. I just listened and tried to process it. My world was different after that day. My son's world had been darkened dramatically for 2 painful, silent years. 

My wife and I believed every word our son said.

And this is what surprises and angers me about some child sexual assault cases: parents who don't believe their own precious child. In other words (and I think this is probably the viewpoint of the child): "Mom and Dad believe a sexual pervert and think I'm a liar."

Parents, your first job is to believe your child!


Double whammy


Imagine the trauma of your child being sexually assaulted. Imagine the pain that goes on as they hold the ugly truth inside, afraid to speak the horrible facts. Then one day your child has enough courage to talk. With tears flowing, they tell Mom and Dad what happened to them. The reaction? "We don't believe you."

Your reaction may not be stated in such bold, cold words, but the effect is the same: you crush even more your already-crushed child. And your child's dark world becomes even darker. You've just kicked your own child while she was down. You've just communicated to them, in one way or another, that their story is not real, that their pain is not real, that they are not a victim, but a liar.


Why?


I've often wondered why parents wouldn't believe their own child in this horrible situation. Maybe the child has been dishonest before. Maybe the one who abused your child is a family friend. Maybe the perv is well respected by many in the community (which was true in my son's case). Maybe you're worried about how this horrible news will make you look—you've got a rep to protect. Maybe you just don't want the hassle of dealing with the situation, especially all the legal issues.

You must realize that this is not about you.

Could your child lie to you about an event like this? Yes. But there is no good reason to doubt your child when they tell you their story. Allow the truth to unfold.

Stand with your child. If you don't, who will? You, the parent, are your child's protector. Your child needs you now more than ever to hold him up.


Pervs abound


In sexual assault cases, I often hear the question, "Who knew?" Who knew Larry Nassar was molesting girls for so long? Who knew Jerry Sandusky was abusing young boys at Penn State all those years? People know. But they keep quiet. Some are afraid. My suspicion: those who hush up are also deviants who don't want their shitty deeds brought into the light. They protect their own kind.

Since my son's experience, I've become convinced that we're surrounded by sexual perverts. They're sneaky, adept at flying under the radar. They have nice smiles, nice homes, and good senses of humor. They might sit next to you in church.


They won't stop, they must be stopped


Most sexual assault victims never speak up. There are numerous reasons for this. I assume many keep quiet because the evil deeds were committed secretly, and the victim worries, "No one will believe me." The small number who do speak out must be believed, especially by parents. This is one of the first steps in getting these creeps off the streets.

If a victim speaks up and is not believed, they may shut down and crawl back into their dark existence, never to surface again. And the perv continues devouring more victims. Pervs do not stop, they must be stopped.

The man who assaulted my son is now in prison for his crimes. My son, along with several other victims, stood up and told their stories. And other potential victims are safe from this deceiver while he sits in jail.


To victims


To all victims of sexual assault, I know it's not easy, but tell your story. Some may doubt you—forget them. Keep telling your story until someone believes and the perv is dealt with. Go to the cops alone if it comes to that. Stand up and be strong. You can do it.

Crisis Intervention Services was a tremendous help to my son and our family. Their number is 1-800-270-1620.

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