It's never too late to begin the healing process from childhood sexual abuse. It's never too early to fall in love with the person God created you to be. Long ago someone made a choice to take away your innocence, but today that someone can't touch your freedom to heal.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Children Don't Tell (Part 3: They Trust)

I can still picture it, my husband in the backseat of our two-door Oldsmobile Firenza, cradling our newborn son. We had just returned home from the hospital and my husband had crawled in the backseat of the car to get our son out of his car seat. I was waiting patiently, well, okay, not so patiently by the passenger side door.

“Are you coming?” I said.


“Are you coming in?” I repeated.

He didn’t even look up. “We’ll be in soon,” he said.

I was so glad to be home. I wanted my own bed. I wanted my own everything. But my mind told me to shut up, to take in this moment, to etch this beautiful picture deep within my mind.

My husband with his firstborn. Strong capable hands holding a helpless baby. Our baby. I didn’t ask Ken what he was thinking. I didn’t have to. It was a sacred moment. It was their moment, and this sight spoke more to me than words ever could. The love was palpable. And my baby, our baby, was learning from that tender moment on, that he could trust his daddy.

I believe that there are few things more precious to preserve, and more innocent to defend, than a child’s right to trust. A child longs to trust. A child needs to trust in order to grow up into a healthy adult. Perhaps that’s why it’s so difficult for we, as parents, to teach our children that sometimes there are individuals that can’t be trusted.

My survivor friend trusted. "I was abused by a close relative. He was absolutely trusted. And he took advantage of me. And I went along with it because I didn't know any better. Because I trusted him."

Her parents trusted him. She trusted him. And that trust was broken. Shattered. Destroyed. And she couldn’t tell her parents because she trusted. She trusted that what was happening to her was somehow okay because people you love and trust don’t hurt you. Do they? Can you imagine the confusion she felt? Can you imagine the war that raged within her little mind, within her little heart? I can’t. And when I try, it makes me cry.

But what if her parents had taught her that her body was special and that the parts that her swimsuit covers are extra special? What if they had taught her that no one is allowed to touch the parts that her swimsuit covers and that she is not allowed to touch anyone else where their swimsuit covers and that if anyone does, they want her to tell them—no matter whom it was? What if they had taught this information to her from the time she could identify body parts like nose and hand? What if they had taught this to her several times a year and built on this information in age appropriate increments? What if . . .

We will never know the answers to my "what if" questions. Sexual abuse is a complicated issue, but as a parent, I want to know that, at least, I tried.

Let’s begin the conversation about childhood sexual abuse with our children. So they will know. So they can tell. So they can continue to trust.


  1. This all needs to be said....this is so informative. I need to post this onto fb....thanks

  2. I am reading your blog and I keep reading, "What if her parents had taught her..." Well, I myself am not a victim of child molestation. However, I have several people close to me, mother, aunts, cousins etc who were harmed by someone they trusted. I saw first hand how this despicable act effected their lives and tore our family apart. I made a promise to myself that when I became a mother I would talk to my kids about these kinds of things. So when I became a mom that's exactly what I did and still do. Monthly we would have the talk about what is ok and not. I would even ask them point blank, "Is anyone touching you, or saying anything to you that makes you feel uncomfortable or you don't understand? I even use people we know as examples...”If Uncle so-in-so or Pastor Who” if they did or said this would it be ok?
    We tell our boys our bedroom door is a revolving door. It's open to you (of course, knock first please)if you ever want to talk or ask questions, with no judgment from us. Even with all the tools I taught them and our constant open communication and OPEN EARS eager to listen, my son still didn't tell. My heart was broken that someone would do this to him. He told me later he didn't want to tell me because he new it would upset me. It is a painful, scary and confusing thing and he didn't want to UPSET ME! :.(

    What I have learned from the Prosecutor, Victims Advocate and Detective in charge, is that children love their parents and they no this kind of thing would be upsetting, sad for parents to they don't tell. Through a series of events the story came out, and I am truly thankful. Our son is doing well because primarily "We believed him" which is important to any child. Some children don't have that support at home and they don’t fair very well. Thank you for sharing your experience with the world. No matter what, I will keep talking to my kids about these kinds of things

  3. Bernadette,

    You're a great mom. Keep talking, and thank you for believing. Your son is blessed to have a mom like you. Please stop back anytime.



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