To the woman who told me my parents should have protected me from being sexually abused as a child:

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My parents and I.

“Parenting is the toughest job on earth as you are responsible for the physical, emotional, and mental development of another human being.”

Dear friend,

When I was thirteen I was with my parents and a couple of children my mom was watching for the day; we were driving up a winding canyon when, on a curve with no shoulder, our car died. My dad thought fast, jumped out of the vehicle and began to try and use the motion we had left in the car to push it up a small incline to the safety of the side of the road.

The kids began to cry in the backseat and as my mom and I turned to comfort them, we saw a sight that made our hearts drop; there were two semi trucks, side by side, in both of the lanes coming towards us on the curve. I could hear the trucks trying to brake and I know my dad saw them too because I could see him put all his strength into one final push.

He yelled out and at the time I believed it was because he was being hit by a truck but that wasn’t the case. In my fear I had closed my eyes and as I opened them I realized that the last push had worked and we had made it to the side of the road just as the trucks barreled past. My dad hadn’t yelled out because he had been hit, he had yelled out because in trying to save us all he had pulled his hamstring as he pushed the car out of the way.

You might be asking yourself why I am choosing to start with this story. I do so because when you commented, after reading my latest post about my being sexually abused as a child, about my parents and how they should have protected me from my abuse, I didn’t feel angry or hurt; I only thought of this story and all the hundreds of other times in my life where my parents had protected and loved me.

I’m not mad at you; I realized what was speaking in your comment was your own pain, your own feelings of not being protected in your past, possibly by your own parents.

Now of course, that’s a guess, but if that is the case, my heart hurts with your heart. I am sad with you and for you.

I realized, because you don’t know me, I wanted to tell you about all those times my parents had protected me.

My parents taught me to cross the road by looking both ways.

My father ran behind my bicycle when I was learning to ride until I was able to keep upright. When I fell down, he lifted me up and comforted me, each and every time.

My mother would leave a nightlight on in the hallway when I slept so that I wouldn’t be scared.

My parents made us children sit in front of a plate of vegetables until we ate them all because they knew vegtables were good for us.

My parents believed in talking to their kids about the hard stuff – my siblings and I heard them talk to us about stranger danger, drinking, drugs, sex, and what to do if we were with friends and didn’t feel comfortable about what was happening.

My parents knew the names of their children’s friends and the friend’s parents.

My parent’s didn’t believe in sleepovers; they knew that things could happen and they felt better when their children were under their own roof.

As my siblings and I entered teenage years, my parents waited up for us to come home any time that we went out.

My parents taught us not to run with scissors or swim in the river alone, and many other examples that I won’t share here.

Were my parent’s perfect?

No. Of course not, they would be the first to admit it. No parent is perfect.

What happened to me was no one’s fault but the people who chose to sexually abuse me.

Let me say that again: What happened to me was the fault of only two people; the two women who chose to sexually abuse me. It was not my fault, nor was it my parents.

I believe so often the parents are as much a victim of the abuse their child suffers as the child is. I can only imagine the pain it would cause to know your child has been hurt in this way. Unless the parent was the abuser or gave their child up to be abused, they are not at fault, they are not to blame. However, just like children who have been sexually abused, parents often blame themselves.

They shouldn’t, just as the abused child shouldn’t.

I truly believe that people do the best they can given their current knowledge and current circumstance. That is the problem with hindsight; it’s always 20/20. It seeks to judge one’s past with present knowledge and in doing so it leaves one living in “should haves” and “could haves”.

None of that helps. None of that can take away what has been done. Living in what could have or should have been done only drains one of the energy they desperately need to heal, to grieve the losses suffered, and seek to move forward.

Would my parents give anything to go back in time and change what has been done?

Yes.

Would my parents switch places with me, would they suffer in my stead?

A million times, yes, they would.

One can be the best parent who ever lived, take every precaution that there is to take, and things will still happen. That is life. Sadly, the difficulties will still come, one’s child will experience pain at some point in their life. What will make that child feel even worse is if the parent blames themselves when it isn’t justified.

So, my new friend, I thank you for your comment. I thank you for how it let me think about my past and see all the ways I was loved, all the ways my parents were warriors for me, all the ways they protected me.

And still do.

-xoxo

Mia

 

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6 thoughts on “To the woman who told me my parents should have protected me from being sexually abused as a child:

  1. Such an eye opening perspective. And yet, although blaming parents is not the right angle for my situation either, yet there are lessons to learn from the things they didn’t know to watch out for, that we can learn from.

    It’s not about blame, it’s about learning to prevent further abuses.

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    1. Learning lessons on what to watch out for is all we can do. Thank you for your thoughts and perspective. I agree completely about preventing further abuse – it’s one of my main reasons for speaking out. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for reminding me, that as a mom “it was not my fault.” I have two daughters, eight years apart. They were both sexually abused, which I did not find out until years after they had left home. It was very different circumstances. The oldest daughter was abused by a neighbor boy from 1st-6th grade. He was a couple of years older than her, and it has to a certain degree ruined her life. Our youngest daughter was abused from age 11-15, and sadly it was by her own brother…my son. She has chosen to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ and offer forgiveness, but she still suffers with PTSD. I was a stay at home mom when my oldest was being abused and I was totally ignorant to all of the signs. I am so thankful for the education that is out there now, for both children and parents. I wish I’d have known what to watch for, because the signs were totally their with daughter #1. I think she has finally forgiven me, and part of that came with the acceptance that I truly did NOT know. I obviously would never have allowed it.
    Our 2nd daughter told us (in a letter) ten years ago that she had been abused, but refused to say by whom. One year ago, while speaking with her on the phone, she had a “moment” and screamed out that it was “that a$$hole” who had abused her. Trust me…it’s been a very hard, emotional, year for me. I immediately confronted the abuser. He took full responsibility and said it was “not one of his proudest moments.” He did however, try to explain it away as a “you show me, I’ll show you,” that CHILDREN partake of. He is nearly four years older than her and for obvious reasons, that did not fly with me. He knew better and he took advantage. In outing him, his wife was made aware of his actions. I’m sorry for her, but I am not sorry for exposing him. They have been in counseling and I’m not sure what the end result will be, but I’m thankful that she now knows and can be extra diligent in being watchful. The counselor has assured her that he is not a risk to abuse their children, or others. I’m not as convinced. I would have never in a million years thought he would abuse his own sister. I love him unconditionally, because he’s our son. However, I’m finding it difficult to like him right now. I was working outside the home during this time, so again…I blamed myself. Thankfully, my daughter has not blamed me.
    I think it’s wonderful that you are speaking out AND helping others. May you find peace, comfort and healing!

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    1. Lori,

      I am so sorry I didn’t see your comment sooner. Thank you for your courage in telling your story and even if the word seems trite, I hope you know I mean it when I say that I am so sorry for all that you and your family have had to go through. Abuse is like a cancer that destroys all in it’s wake. I can’t imagine the difficulty of all that you have had to go through. Again, thank you for sharing your story as it helps me and others know we are not alone in our pain. I wish you healing and comfort at this time and always 🙂

      Mia

      Like

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