10, 9, 8…weeks to go! 8 weeks until my family and I stand strong, as we enter through courtroom doors. I am not counting the days, hours and minutes yet, but feeling that the time will come before I know it.
8 weeks to go until my heart is worn on my sleeve as I take the stand and testify. This is not Judge Judy’s court room, this is not about something small. I’m fighting for my daughter and her innocence that was stolen. I’m taking a stand for all the other children that are out there and hurting, that have no one to be their voice.
One out of every 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18. My husband and I want to send out the message that this is horrible and needs stopped. Can we stop it? NO, but we can make it loud and clear that we won’t tolerate it! We can show up in court in 8 weeks to fight for justice and we will! We may have knocking knees and a racing heart, but we will be there. We will be there , because we love our children. We will fight for them no matter what.
In 90% of sexual abuse cases the child knows the perpetrator! Yes, that is staggering to think about, but the message really needs to be heard! We hear about stranger danger all the time, it is preached to our children at school. Our children do need to learn about being wise around strangers, that is true. But our children need to know that its not only bad touches from a stranger that is wrong!
No matter the relationship you have with an adult, if they give you bad touches, it is wrong! It doesn’t matter if it is a relative or close friends, the neighbor or your teacher. No matter who it is, it is never right!
Our children need to be taught to not be afraid to tell us. Our children need to know that even if the perpetrator is someone that Mommy and Daddy really like that we still will believe them. Only between 4-6% of child sexual abuse cases are fabricated. This is not something children lie about. They are much more likely to stay secretive about it, because they are scared, ashamed, and the list goes on. A lot of times they are threatened not to tell. They are much more likely to act out in different ways trying to get the message out to you without actually saying it. We as parents need to be tuned in to that. Tuned into our child’s behavior and noticing when it is different than normal. We still may not see the signs, we are not perfect, but we need to be aware.
Here are some signs that can be displayed most often in younger children:.
- Has nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation
- Seems distracted or distant at odd times
- Has a sudden change in eating habits
- Refuses to eat
- Loses or drastically increases appetite
- Has trouble swallowing
- Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity, or withdrawal
- Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues
- Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places
- Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child
- Writes, draws, plays, or dreams of sexual or frightening images
- Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty, or bad
- Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language, and knowledge
Here are signs exhibited in adolescents and teens:
- Self-injury (cutting, burning)
- Inadequate personal hygiene
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Sexual promiscuity
- Running away from home
- Depression, anxiety
- Suicide attempts
- Fear of intimacy or closeness
- Compulsive eating or dieting
This is not saying that if your child exhibits any of these signs that sexual abuse is the reason! There can definitely be other things going on. This is only to make you aware of signs of possible abuse. Please don’t put blinders on and think that it can never happen to your child. This is real life. We are far from living in a picture perfect world! We also cannot believe that we can always protect our children. Unfortunately we can’t, no matter how hard we try. It’s just a fact. An ugly one, but a real one!
These are all ugly facts that I talked about in this post. I would have much preferred writing a cheerier post, but this is my reality now. Yes I could keep this ugly fact hidden in the closet, but who would that help? I have been told to be real. For in being real maybe I can touch another hurting soul. Isn’t that what life should be about? Reaching out to others with a caring heart. Reaching out to others who may feel so alone by saying, “me too”. I feel your pain, your guilt, your fear, I am here.
8 weeks until our day in court comes. It was about a year and a half ago when I was told that I needed to “just walk away!” That I needed to just let go of the words that poured out of my daughter’s heart. In 8 weeks I will face the one who dared to say that to me. He will see that there is no way that a Mother Bear just walks away!