Three years ago this December, sitting in the waiting area of a hair salon, my daughter (then 7 years old) shared with me that her brother, my son (15 years old at the time she told me), had molested her. Three years ago my whole world as I knew it crumbled. It had started crumbling already, that was just the day I realized it. It’s taken me three long, unimaginable years to become ready to speak out and share my story. Even still, as I type this the lump of fear is growing in my throat. I’m keenly aware that this is NOT JUST MY STORY to tell. So while I’m ready to share my part of this, I’m sharing with extreme caution for the privacy of my loved ones.
I have 4 children.
One of my children is a bright, generally happy, thriving 10 year old- who has experienced more pain and heartache than anyone looking at her would ever guess. She’s also had tremendous emotional support, counseling and trauma therapy that have helped her reach the place she is in today (I recognize this will be a life long journey for her too, but today she’s doing very well).
One of my children just turned 18 and is now legally of the age to be treated the way he’s actually been treated the last 3 years when he was yet a juvenile. This child, my son, is depressed and lonely and looking ahead with hopelessness, at an age that most young people are excited about the future. This child of mine was the juvenile offender, charged as an adult, convicted of a felony, placed on the SO registry at age 15. With no resources of his own (only those of his parents) he’s had to navigate the legal mine field and try to survive in this grey no mans land. He couldn’t receive juvenile services nor could he receive adult services. We have had to fight every battle as though we are on the frontier. No one has ever encountered a case like his. Every school board hearing, every condition of probation that Was impossible for him to meet- was the first anyone had dealt with such a case. The doors keep closing and closing. He told me on his 18th Birthday- “What’s there to be excited for? It’s the day I was born. I’m an adult now. Everyone will always know what I did.”
My other two children, whose sex and ages I’ll leave out for family anonymity, are also deeply affected, caught in the middle of a separated family with no sense of normal. Well, we have a “new normal”, but it doesn’t look like anyone else’s normal and it’s constantly changing.
And I, I am their Mom. I am the mom of the victim and the mom of the offender. I loved, still love, fand am raising them both (although separately now). I am the mom who made the report. I did what I thought and still know was the right thing to do, though there are plenty of days I question it, and I told the authorities.
I expected agencies to come in and help me, help BOTH, of my CHILDREN. How wrong I was! Agencies came in alright. My daughter received services and support, although I still have to help her advocate for her rights as a victim. My son received a sentence, based on his own mother’s report of his confession, (Mine. I believed fully cooperating was the thing to do.) that has and will continue, it seems forever, to make living a normal life impossible.
The legal process continues, the daily ups and downs of a seriously depressed and isolated teenager continue, the long chats and prayers at bedtime with my littlest ones about when they will ever again see their big brother continue. Three years and my children haven’t been in the same room or under the same roof. Three Christmases, three rounds of Birthdays... I try to make it all as normal and happy for each of them as I can. I just survived another holiday season. I literally held two of every celebration, every meal... so my son still has a special time to visit and celebrate with us, even though his siblings can’t be there at the same time.
I’m tired. I’m lonely. I’m outraged. I’m afraid. I’m broken.
I’m desperately in need of a community like this.
Thanks for listening.
I have been reading from this group for years, my youngest son, SO, has been out of prison for two years next week. He had his polygraph today and they put him in jail. Short term hold I was told or 1-3 days. His PO said he was dangerous. In what way? No reply. We have to get him help PO said. Help? How? The group he was court ordered to do... stopped as the counsuler didn't or couldn't do it no...
I've been a mom for over 14 years. I've been his mom for almost 13. Yet here I sit not knowing how to continue. How do I continue to be his mom, raise him, teach him, protect him and love him? Next month will pleade guilty to two charges of a sexual crime. As a mom you are supposed to protect your child from all the scary and hurtful things in life. Make it better when they are hurting or...