Yeah, yeah – I know … It’s been a long friggin time since my last blog post. A really long time. In my defence, I’ve been too busy working, posting news articles to my Facebook page and reading smutty books to blog. (I didn’t say it was a good defense). And while we’re on the subject of “ways that June is slacking” It’s been just about as long since I’ve been to church, but that’s a whole other post.
What’s important is not how long I’ve been gone, or what I was doing with my time, but rather that I’ve returned filled with the spirit and the urge to share my thoughts and feelings.
Also of great importance, is the topic that moved me to blog again: Sexual predators.
Something happened to me when my daughter was born that changed the way I looked at young people. Suddenly instead of thinking of children in terms of how well-behaved or annoying they were, I began thinking of them in terms of how vulnerable or well-protected they were.
Something about being a mother changed my first response from “Somebody
Obviously, the idea of a child being hurt like that by a trusted adult makes me feel sad and angry. But I think what’s bothered me the most about these accounts is how close they hit to home.
How many times in High School and Junior High did one of my friends or acquaintances brag about something they had going on with an adult? How many times did I (at age 15,16, and 17) wait in the hallway of some college jerk’s dorm while one of my friends was inside? And worse, how many times did I seek out information from the gossip mill about classmates rumored to be having affairs with faculty members, collegiate members of Greek letter organizations, or even other people’s parents?
It’s so sad that all this information was right in my face and I never felt compelled to ask somebody for help – that I never considered any of this to be unusual or wrong. I mean, (in my mind at the time) yeah, it was wrong for these “hoes” to run around messing with all the fine high school guys AND the hot college guys. And if the young girl in question was a friend of mine, then my main concern was what was wrong with me that I couldn’t attract these college guys and grown men. Wasn’t I mature enough? Pretty enough?
The idea that these young women, from ages 13-17 were technically being raped, was so foreign, that when a young man did catch a charge for it we blamed the “fast” girl he was caught messing with.
Looking back, I’m so embarrassed at my actions. That an instance of abuse filled me with judgement and envy instead of compassion and concern.
When I think of the position my heavenly Father put me in, one where I could have stepped in, spoken up and maybe helped someone, I feel disgusted at my perception of the events around me.
I mean if a 35-year-old man is messing with a 15-year-old girl, there’s a problem. If a 23-year-old man is messing with a 16-year-old, there’s a problem. And when we as Christians are wagging our fingers at the babies in these situations, there’s a problem.
Sin is not moving these young people, it’s infecting them. They’re being tainted, by the very people who should be teaching them and leading by example. They’re being scarred for life and the adults around them are labeling them as “fast” and “slutty” instead of looking at them with compassion-filled eyes and seeing them as the victims they are.
So I guess my reason for writing this blog is to apologize. If you had a “relationship” with an adult and I gossiped about it in the halls, please forgive me. If young men filmed you in a compromising situation and then distributed those tapes around campus (which is technically making and distributing child pornography) please forgive me for the judgement I know I passed against you. If you were my friend and I accompanied you to meet your adult “boyfriend;” If I drove you to meet him, lied to your mother, if I laughed and joked with him like he was one of us, please forgive me. I don’t know why, but at the time I did not recognize any of this behavior as predatory or illegal. I’m sorry I didn’t speak up, tell my mom or a counselor. I’m sorry I stood back and watched this happen.
I can’t change the past, but I can promise to teach my daughter that this crap isn’t cool; that when a grown man is interested in a young girl, it’s not because she’s mature, sophisticated, beautiful or fast, it’s because there is something wrong with him. He is sick. He’s a predator and when you see him, don’t hesitate to cry “wolf.”