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Last week, a Facebook friend of mine, along with his daughter, posted a very emotional Go Live video.  I’ve known this guy for years, went to school with him and we even have some relatives in common.  I cannot say that I know him extremely well since I’ve been out of high school for 18 years, but one thing I do know is that he loves his daughter, without question.

So imagine a father’s reaction upon learning that his daughter was molested at a young age. Imagine how this father felt knowing his daughter has endured such a atrocious situation. Imagine how this father felt knowing the person who violated his daughter was his own cousin.

child molestation

Watching the video had tears streaming down my face. The daughter is now 15, disclosed when she was about 12 but the abuse happened when she was younger (I think 6-7). I was floored. I have been working in the human services field for a number of years and I have heard the most heartbreaking stories of abuse but this one? This one hit home because I know these people, this family.

Parents…please do not think these types of things only happen in certain families. That you have to be a certain race, live in a certain part of town or make x amount of money. Because it can happen to anyone.  The father didn’t suspect anything because the guy is his cousin. I’m not talking a distant relative that you saw at family reunion once a year. No, this was someone he hung out with. Chilled with. Took up for. Loved.

…all the while I was feeding my daughter to a predator

I cannot imagine having to endure anything like this with my children, niece or nephews. A few months ago there was a huge controversy about transgendered people using the bathroom of the gender they identify with. But this father didn’t have to worry about a transgendered person in a bathroom; this happened in his own family.

On the video, the father said that his daughter was good now. He actually said that multiple times.  What made me believe this to be true was that you could tell he has an open and honest relationship with her.  He has set the ground work for her being able to talk to him about any and everything.

Parents…please do not be afraid to be your child’s friend. There is a huge difference in friend and peer.  I truly believe she is good because he (along with her mother and his wife) have been there every step of the way. From pressing charges, talking about it, working through it, going to therapy…they didn’t let her handle this situation by herself. Her abuser is serving time in jail but that doesn’t mean she’s magically ok. But she had so much love and support from her parents, step-mother, and other family members that I am sure she felt protected and able to process any feelings she has openly.

We, as parents, have to realize our kids are growing up different than we did. Just as we grew up different than our parents.  If you are not constantly checking, calling, texting, talking and most importantly listening to your children, you will miss something. Parents, put your uncomfortableness aside and dive into those tough conversations. Sex, molestation, drugs, guns, alcohol…use the media to start discussions. I talked to my son about consensual sex after the Brock Turner incident. If you’re doing all the talking, it’s a lecture and you’re not learning anything. Find out how your kids feel about certain situations. Find out if they have been around someone that makes them uncomfortable. Find out how much they know about sex. If you aren’t the one giving them information, you leave it up to others (i.e. their equally misinformed friends) to shape their thoughts.

Fathers, if you are not involved in your child’s life (beyond paying child support) you run the risk of your sons or daughters having to face some really tough situations without their father to go to bat for them. Mothers, if you do not allow you child’s father to be a part of their life (beyond child support), your child is being deprived of having that protector. Child support cannot comfort a child that has been molested. Now I know everything is situational but when it comes to raising kids, your personal feelings have to go out the window and you have to do what’s best for your kids.

Let’s not be dismissive of molestation in our communities. It happens more often than you think. This situation has divided a family…the cousin’s mother does not believe her son did anything and to my understanding, this girl wasn’t the first person he’s done something to. The father said that so he does not disrespect his aunt, he does not interact with his family anymore. It’s not an easy situation to go through; it’s difficult for everyone involved. But I am extremely grateful that this father takes his role as a parent serious and they are working through this to make sure she grows up happy and healthy.

I commend them for sharing their story because I know it had to be a very tough and trying situation. I inboxed him on Facebook to asked if I could blog about it and he told me I could; he believes we need to give more attention to these types of situations. He also posted how so many people have messaged him and told him they were abused as children and he  is encouraging people to talk about it.

The bravery this child possessed is amazing and I will continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.