My Child was Molested Too by Anonymous

My Child was Molested Too by Anonymous

I just received this painful story from a JewishMOM.com readers, and think that this mother’s warning to trust our intuition even if that means that others will not think we are “nice” is crucial in our quest to protect our children from predators…Better safe than nice.

One of my greatest fears since I became a mother 5 years ago is that someone would hurt one of my children.

I become a little bit obsessed with any story having to do with a child being abused, molested, or hurt in any other way. I feel pain for the parents and the child. I feel a deep hatred towards the perpetrator.

And for myself and my children I feel fear. At times, I become paralyzed by this anxiety – it could have been my child. I become this mother bear hovering over her cubs, I am always on the alert.

Every Friday night I daven for my children to be safe – that no one should hurt them in any way. I daven every morning while they are in school or gan. I daven for them to learn well, play nicely with their friends and stay safe. I am careful about where they play and who takes care of them when I can not be with them.

Reading any newspaper reassures me that I might be “neurotic” but that is what is necessary in today’s world.

The nightmare of child molestation and abuse is one I never thought I would experience because I am so aware.

My husband and I have very good relationships with our children. We speak to them in an age appropriate manner about proper touch and red lines. We have told them numerous times how important it is for them to tell us if something happens to them. We do this in a healthy way to reassure and to prevent other negative side affects.

I am very on top of my children and can tell when something is bothering them. I have read the articles and listened to the experts about what to look for in a child who may have been hurt and in an adult who may be hurting.

Even still I missed it – the ever-so-careful mother missed the signs and let it happen to her own child.

A young teenage boy took interest in some neighborhood children a couple of years ago. He enjoyed entertaining them and playing with them in the park. Us mothers were more than happy to have him take over for a bit. He seemed like a sweet kid – he is a sweet kid – he just went through a lot as a child and needs help.

About a year ago I began to realize that something was off and I stopped letting my children play with this boy alone. I would go with them or make sure one of his parents was around. It was becoming very obvious that with age his emotional issues were becoming more intense – he was more confused and hurt. I was nervous about his own boundaries.

I never thought he would do something maliciously but I was nervous that because he felt so close to these children he might cross the line without realizing he was doing something wrong.

He is my neighbor so I felt bad about cutting off my child’s relationship with him. My child looked up to him – he is big and “cool.”

I am friendly with his mother and didn’t want to make things awkward between us. I had nothing concrete to say to my child as to why he would not be allowed to play with this boy anymore. So I made some of my own boundaries and thought it would be okay. I was wrong.

In the end, my son was traumatized in my own backyard with me a few feet away. The boy did something completely inappropriate and threatened my son not to tell us.

I wouldn’t have known what happened had my other neighbors’ children not been there. They told their mother what happened and she told me. When my husband approached my son about what happened, he freaked out. He started screaming and crying, “I’m not telling you – I won’t say anything.”

My husband finally calmed my son down and he told us what happened. He was very very afraid – I have never seen him like this.

I have been shaking ever since – it is all I think about.

I am so afraid – me, the mother who is so aware, it happened to me.

I am sharing this for a few reasons. I need to express myself in writing to cleanse. Writing allows me to relax – once it is out part of my pain leaves me with the words.

I also wanted people to realize how afraid a child might be to tell his parents something. My child tells me everything – and he wouldn’t tell me this because a 14-year-old boy told him not to! Imagine a Rebbe or a teacher telling a child not to tell! We have told my son so many times it is a mitzvah to tell us – it is a double mitzvah to tell us if someone tells you not to tell us! And he still did not tell us.

Lastly, every single mother out there has intuition. I had it with this neighborhood boy and I didn’t listen to myself. I didn’t want him around my children but I felt bad for him and bad for his mother. I didn’t want my son to miss out on fun because of my “craziness.” Apparently it was not craziness.

Please all you Eemas out there – please please please listen to your intuition!!

We should all be blessed to create our own ananei hakovod, the clouds that surrounded the Jews in the desert. Our children should only know peaceful beautiful situations. We should be blessed to raise our children to be happy, healthy, and settled adults. And we should be blessed to never have to read such stories again.

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12 comments

  1. My heart breaks for you and your son. Thank you for sharing this and reinforcing how important it is to go with your instincts, no matter whose toes you may step on. As someone who lives in a very friendly community, I know how uncomfortable that can be.

  2. I am terrified.

  3. omg. this basically means that everything they recommend to protect kids is ineffective! help! do we need to be suspicious of every person on the planet and be staring at our kids ever minute. its impossible.

    • Not quite. This mother’s message is to trust your intuition, and that is certainly something that we as professionals recommend above all else when it comes to safety. She says specifically that she knew something was wrong but that she didn’t keep her children away from the boy because she was afraid of hurting his feelings and causing problems in the neighborhood. The bottom line is that trusting your intuition is the best way to protect your children.

  4. No, it just means everyone has to do things their own way and being neurotic doesn’t help at all, so just be normal!

  5. This is terrifying!!!
    How does one prevent things like this? It’s so terrible!

    • The author of this letter is very clear about what one does to prevent things like this: trust your intuition and don’t dismiss your discomfort for fear of hurting someone else’s feelings.

  6. Assal Meadlem

    Hi,
    As a father i have this fear and it causes me great angzeity. I am ascraed every day for my children. After reading everything that is going on in the Nachlaot mainly being sent articles from my wife about it like this one above i have it has solidified and validated a method, if you can call it that, that has been running around in my mind about how o protect my children. Te question is prevention, most of the advice out there talks about how to recognigze if somthing was doen but that is all after the fact. The idea came to me after my daughter was having a very hard time at school from bullying. The teachers were not doing anything and it was hurting my daughter greatly. I look quite tough and am aware of the fact so i try to minimilize my interaction with the school so as not to give the wrong immpression. My wife was handeling it all. She even spoke with the bullies to know effect. After a day where my daughter came home crying uncontrolably i phone up my mother in law who is a second generation yeminite of about 80 years old. She told me the following ” now is the time when the father needs to step in. The bullies wont listen to my daughter because she is a mother. you need to walk into the school and make your presence felt and known and these girls will stop what they are doing, i know your are reluctant to do it but now is the time”. I went the next day i took my daughter to school but instead of leaving her at the gate i walked into the classroom with her. I just stood in the class room, like a sergeant in the army, with a very stern and serous look on my face surveying the room, looking like i was make an assessment, i looked at each of the bullies sternly without breaking contact nodded to my self and then i left. my daughter now is enjoying school very much. What i am interested in is what to do before the fact and i think this is where the fathers come in. As she says, running the risk of offending people when it comes to protecting our children in this context is something that i now feel that i have no concern for. The fathers of children can help alot and that is everyone that our children has contact with or is in the care of no matter how short a period of time should have met the father before the child is placed in their care. And a very sincere and clear talk should be haven with the individuals where it is made clear, very clear, respectful y that you are now entering into a huge responsibility, that is taking care of my child, i want you to understand that out side of normative occurrences that if anything happens to my child by you to him in the form of abuse, i want you to know that there will be direct and immediate consequences to you and your physical well being. I understand that if you now dont want to be looking after my child but if you dont have an issue with abusing children than you have nothing to worry about” this is the bottom line of the talk, it does not have to be said so literately but it can be communicated in other ways. That if the individual feels the energy from the father, maybe by asking questions, not smiling, and gets a feel maybe a potential abuser would think twice before doing something to our children. I dont know, who really knows but i do think that the fathers presence and involvement with the care givers or whom ever our children are involved with make a huge and different impression. A very strong and stern handshake can set the tone and i think it should not be underestimated how the presence of the father acting as the Sergent of the family to these caregivers can make a huge difference. either way, father should get involved and be using their different energy, that there are severe consequences if you mess with my children. this should be the stand rd of communication to anyone that ur children are in the care off and this should be communicated by the fathers as well as the mothers. Maye HaShem protect us from this evil and to those that have been hurt may He grant immediate refuah and nechama.

  7. We cannot protect our children from everything. Well, we could lock them up in their rooms but they would quickly have other problems. My heart goes out to this mother and child and I wish them a full recovery.

  8. raised in US, mother in Israel

    “Even still I missed it – the ever-so-careful mother missed the signs and let it happen to her own child.”

    Dear dear fellow Jewish mother,
    YOU DID NOT, I repeat NOT, “LET THIS HAPPEN.” Please, dear sister, do not blame yourself.
    And dear fellow sisters, any of us concerned enough for our children’s welfare who spend our free time when they’re not in front of us reading blogs about parenting, of all fabulous things, cannot then hold ourselves responsible for every last scab and scar that befalls our children despite our great efforts.
    This is officially an emuna issue. At a certain point, and in the right context, we have to place our children in G-d’s hands and yes, speaking as the daughter of very careful, super loving, gave-me-the-best-of-the-best-of everything, solid, moral parents … and yet, I was molested and sexually abused multiple times by various males my parents would never have even known to protect me from … and yes, those experiences were upsetting but they are now mine to heal from. And I am healing from them. May our children never know from such pain, but dear dear Imas, do not eat yourselves alive! Our Creator has made the remedy available for every problem and malady before the malady was created! Let’s daven for each other’s ultimate inner-calm (and perhaps not risk G-d forbid attracting such hell with all our over-worrying) and let’s daven for each other’s healing and for the victims’ healing. May they be “Survivors” and not “victims”. It is possible and be”H, may it be so.
    p.s. I don’t AT ALL, G-d forbid mean to belittle the issue. I still tear up thinking about the pediatrician who molested me when I was 19 already (that’s old! but the sick pervert was my doctor and I froze from confusion and shock). Nevertheless, as a mother now, I realize there is a line between healthy concern/carefulness and … obsession and overprotection. If every time you look at your children as my albeit-amazing mother did me – with a furrowed brow, SURE that I was off to be hounded by the big bad wolf — you might just attract that sort of calamity. And I must admit, all the tension created by my mother about sexuality throughout m ychildhood/adolescence did indeed create in me a curiosty I then sought to satiate … and unfortunately all her hysteria has never, to this day, allowed me to tell her about the handful of incidents I walked myself into btwn the ages of 12 and 24 and then climbed my way out of regret- and shame-fully. G-d bless her, she never ever easily allowed me to even sleep over at friends’ houses at sweet elementary school birthday parties for fear of some girl’s older brother or dad … That may have been wise, but the furrowed brow has stayed with me to this day. There’s a fine line – and may we all be blessed to tread it with some grace and less hysteria. Love to you all, you amazing inspiring sisters!

  9. this is a link to an important article about this. At the end of the article are additional links to articles explaining how this can happen. The problem is that not all the ‘monsters’ are out there.. some can live under your own roof.
    http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/1707466/jewish/Things-You-Need-to-Know-About-Pedophilia.htm

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