The following story is entirely true, and I don’t believe that it has ever been told. Hopefully others may learn from it.
The world is a scary place. Whether by accident or on purpose, children are being exposed to frighting and horrible things from younger and younger ages. Unfortunately for me, I remember the exact moment that I became aware of the evil in this world.
When I was very young, one of my best friends from ballet class told me a secret. She confided in me that her uncle was molesting her. At the time, neither of us knew the term “molestation”, but I knew that what she was describing was very bad. I was old enough to know that friends don’t tell secrets, but unfortunately I didn’t understand that some secrets need to be told.
So I did nothing.
Thinking back on that day, I remember being confused and disturbed by what she told me. Later on that same year this girl told me that her uncle was being taken to court, and a short while after that she told me that her uncle was convicted (of what, she never said). I don’t remember if she said that he was taken to jail or not. I sincerely hope he was, and that he will remain there for the rest of his life.
Once I was a bit older and more mature, I happened to recall this incident, and I felt like I was going to vomit. My friend was being abused and molested, AND I DID NOTHING. Being older, I knew how those types of situations ought to be handled, but at the time I simply didn’t realize what was happening. I can’t help but wonder that, if I had told a trusted adult about this girl’s secret, perhaps she could have gotten help sooner. How much longer was she abused before someone did something about it?
This is not to say that my parents never told my brother and I how to protect ourselves from strangers; they made sure that my brother and I were were well informed and prepared. But for reasons I cannot explain, I did not respond in the best manner. To this day, I feel guilty for my inaction.
At what point should children be told about difficult topics such as good/bad touch, good/bad secrets, stranger danger, etc.? I’m not a parent, so I have no firsthand experience with this type of situation. I guess it all depends on the age and maturity of the child, and how the information is presented. I pray that I will have it somewhat figured out before I have children of my own.
After my ballet days were through, I lost contact with this girl. Whenever she comes to my mind, I pray for her, and as foolish as it may sound, I pray that God would forgive me for not doing anything to help her.
In my head, I know that I am not to blame. But I still feel guilty.