“You have no idea what I’ve been dealing with!” he snapped.
“You’re right. I don’t.” My hands gripped the steering wheel in frustration. I glanced at him, “Tell me.” I wanted to pull over, but knowing one of the best places to get information out of a teenage boy is in a car, face forward, no eye contact, I drove on.
His grades had been on a steady decline for several months. Once labeled by his principal a stellar student, he was anything but. Mean. Apathetic. Irritable. Those were just a few words to describe him. My once likeable, high achieving son was self-destructing before my eyes.
I never dreamed that a straight A student and captain of the basketball team would become a target for someone else’s twisted pain. I never imagined my son would spend his freshman and sophomore years at a Christian school being bullied. I never thought bullying could happen to—my son.
But what I didn’t know blinded me. And what I didn’t know hurt my son.
Perhaps if I had read a list of warning signs of bullying, I might have caught on sooner. Perhaps if I hadn’t believed that bullying would only happen to someone else’s kid, I may have been able to help my son sooner.
“There are these guys . . .” He said finally. And in as few words as possible, my son told me about the bullies at school.
An assistant principal, my husband, and I did our best to help him navigate the difficult situation. Thankfully, his high school experience improved; however, it wasn’t until his senior speech at the conclusion of high school that I heard the whole story.
My son stood at the podium before his parents, friends, relatives, peers, and some of his abusers and told—all of us—about the signs and effects of his abuse. It was hard to listen to, but I was never more proud to be his mother.
But this isn’t a blog about bullying. It’s a blog about sexual abuse.
Next week I will be adding a page with the warning signs of sexual abuse to Tamar's Redemption. I humbly ask you to take the time to read it.
What we don’t know can blind us. What we don’t know can hurt our children.