“As you grew we wanted to protect and love you always. We thought we had done that, but now we find out that we did not protect you from sexual abuse. We had no clue, especially by the adult we all trusted so completely. I feel I failed you. I did not see any signs. The person who did this was one of the last people I ever would have thought could betray you and us. You see, you are the major victim here, but there are those others who are victims, too. The pebble in the water creates vast reaching ripples, taking in victims all along the way.” A mother
|Photography by Christy Mae, Used by permission, Copyright 2012|
The heartache of a mother and father. They love their baby girl. They loved the perpetrator. Never in a million years did they think he was capable of such a heinous crime. He had been a safe person with some, but not with others. And they never knew.
Jerry Sandusky. Father. Coach. Philanthropist. Many knew him as a good man. But now we all know. He was safe with some. Not with others.
How does that happen? We could try to understand it. And there are those who study it. But even if we knew the answer, would it take away the pain?
A parent is still left riddled with guilt and haunted with questions: How could he? Where was I when this happened? Why didn’t I see it? How could this happen? Why didn’t she tell me? Was I a distant parent? And on and on.
You can’t identify a perpetrator by his looks. And cases show many are adept at hiding their actions. Warning signs are hidden beneath merit badges, charming personalities, and the accolades of others.
We want to believe sexual abuse only happens to kids in bad families filled with abuse and neglect. That is simply not true.
Sexual abuse can happen anywhere, in any faith, and yes, in any family.
Perhaps some parents are only guilty of trusting.
I believe in grace. I believe as Maya Angelou says, “When you know better you do better.” We know now that the best defense we have against childhood sexual violations is to talk to our kids. Begin the conversation. Build the bridge. Be the hero. Learn more at RiseandShineMovment.org