She had just turned eight, less than a month prior to meeting “the creep” as she calls him. She is an adult now, in her early 30s, and still reliving, having nightmares of being molested by a total stranger.
Where was I, her mother? Why didn’t I believe her bizarre tale of how a naked man did jumping jacks in front of her? She offered no more details to me than that and I brushed it aside as if a bad dream. I knew how protective I was, that I insisted knowing where she was at all times and with whom … how did playing with a new little friend three houses away deteriorate into the worst thing that ever happened to my daughter?
I knew how angry Lily was as a preteen, which blossomed into defiance and running away starting at thirteen; I just didn’t know why. She was not forthcoming, probably rightly thinking I would not believe her bizarre tale and also not wanting to relive the experience.
Through the years we have had a rocky relationship; I can state over and over again how much I love her and how precious she is to both her daddy and me, but the bottom line is that we failed as parents to protect our eight-year-old daughter from being molested.
She has exhibited what is probably typical angry behavior and we have tried to be there for her in every way, providing her a place to live, a safe haven, being blissfully ignorant of the real issue eating away and destroying Lily’s feeling safe, out of harm’s way, and an inner peace which everyone deserves to feel.
Yesterday Lily filed a formal police report; there is no statute of limitations for child molestation if the victim is under the age of twelve—a good decision in my opinion. She commented to me before going to see the detective that she had gone to sleep the night before “thinking about the creep” and woke up that morning “thinking about the creep.” I was pleased when she told me, after filing the report, that she felt relief.
Things are moving fast. Even though this occurred more than twenty years ago, the detective on the case is surprisingly zealous. Progress has already been made, even to the point of locating the little friend who suffered with Lily at the same time (seeing as it was her uncle). I can’t imagine how this young woman feels as she endured the abuse more than once.
I don’t know how Lily will feel if she has to come face-to-face with “the creep;” I don’t know if she has the fortitude to endure a trial, giving testimony, reliving the experience ... I do know that I will be there for her, by her side if she wants me to be.
I hope Lily will forgive me for not keeping her protected and safe.
Child predators are everywhere. Take all precautions to keep your child safe; listen to every utterance, question any personality change.
Love is not enough.