If you’re a parent, it’s natural to fear for your child’s safety. If you yourself are a parent and a survivor of sexual abuse, your fears are likely intensified.
How can you know if another member of your family has deviant sexual motivations? How would you react, as a parent and survivor, if someone in your own family revealed themselves to be a pedophile, or worse, had already molested a child?
One brave mother posted her story online.
In 2014, her 14-year-old nephew molested her 7-year-old niece. The mother talks about how her nephew’s parents and family members are in denial of the event ever happening, and how her unborn baby’s life is already being affected:
“I’m afraid to even introduce my baby to my nephew. I don’t want an unchecked child molester anywhere near my baby. But, my (future) kids are going to know he exists…I’m sure it will eventually seem weird to my kid that they have a cousin they’ve never met. When he visits his grandparents, I know it will break my parents-in-laws hearts that I refuse to bring their other grandbaby over. They’d prefer to think that the molestation never happened at all—just like their grandson’s parents, they think if they just ignore it, it’s all going to go away.”
Complicating matters more is her husband’s attitude toward their nephew.
Her husband wants to keep thinking of his nephew as an innocent child, instead of a young man who molested his own niece. The mother herself is very confused and concerned both for her nephew and her future sons or daughters:
“My husband has always been close to my nephew…my husband used to live with my nephew’s family…from the time my nephew was born until he was about 3 or 4. He knows better than to deny that his niece (his sister’s daughter) was molested—he knows that his nephew has serious issues—but honestly it makes him uncomfortable to face the truth.
I think that my husband is hearing that I don’t like his nephew…that I want to punish him for what he did. Certainly I believe his actions should have consequences, but really where I’m coming from is a place of fear. I’m afraid of him. He’s bigger than me now! I’m afraid for my future children.”
Not only do the husband and wife not see eye to eye,
But the mother is at a loss for how to help her nephew get the help he needs. Her nephew is not her child, and her other family members seem only marginally concerned about his behavior:
“If you knew your kid’s cousin had molested a child, what would you do? As far as reporting this to the police, that is out of my hands. That decision is up to my niece’s parents, and they have pursued it as far as they’re willing to. As it is, he is going to completely get away with what he did…that is something I just have to face.”
Is the mother in the right?
Should the mother report her nephew’s behavior, or hope that his parents come to realize what he’s done is horrific?
How would you react?
This is a very complicated issue. So many emotions, thoughts of justice, and thoughts for the future safety of her family are running through the mother’s head.
She turns to her audience for guidance and support. As you might expect, the commenters on her story are just as divisive in their opinions of the nephew, his parents, and what the mother should do from here:
She feels there are no easy answers.
The mother and her husband both have compassion for her nephew, but they also know the possibility exists for him to potentially hurt other people—other family members—the same way again. In a situation like this, easy answers are hard to come by, and she lets her readers know her thoughts:
“My husband and I are at a total loss… and we disagree about this. He loves his nephew so much. And he has trouble thinking of him as what he is now, a young man with serious mental issues. My husband is stuck in “cute little nephew” mode, the way he’d prefer to remember things.
There are so many problems with his upbringing that its hard to even get into them all…. but I know that he would have been much better off with different parents. Parents who would have seen how badly he needed help and who would have gotten it for him. Don’t his parents wonder where he learned to molest people?? Aren’t they worried it happened to him, and he’s parroting the crime?
What are your thoughts on the matter?
Does learning that 90% of child molestations are committed by people the child knows (60% non-relatives, 30% relatives) affect your thoughts? Are you experiencing a similar situation? What actions have you taken to reconcile the facts? How are you approaching thinking and feeling about your family members, both victims and perpetrators?
We’d love to hear your thoughts and help your own stories be heard. Please leave your comments below.