Saturday night, I had company over. My guests have a daughter a year younger than Baby C. Those two grew up together and always have fun. Laughs were had, the evening ended, and they went home.
Sunday morning, I received a disturbing call. Baby C, while alone in his room with this lifelong friend, had repeatedly asked her to lay in bed with him and later tried to kiss her without asking or any warning.
I could hear my heart breaking in the silence that followed. My heart broke for the little girl I’ve known and loved since she was born. My heart broke for my son, who obviously has problems or misunderstandings I was unaware of. My heart broke because, for some stupid ass reason, this is the second time life has put me in a situation like this, and I’ve seen what this shit can do to people.
At this moment, I feel ashamed – like a failure as a father.
I was dumbfounded – and still am – that he thought any of this was okay. I have parental controls on every device he owns, but evidently, YouTube Restricted Mode doesn’t catch everything. C says he got the idea for this from a YouTube video. Fuck YouTube, Google, and whatever asshole is putting out content that makes sexual assault seem okay. Yes, this is ultimately on me for trusting technology, but fuck them all the same.
C had no answer when I asked him what he expected to get out of this. When I asked him why he did this, he said he loves her. He’s 12 years old and doesn’t even comprehend what love is. Hell, I’m 45 and don’t truly comprehend what love is.
Boundaries are something C has struggled with forever. I have repeatedly told him he cannot touch someone without their consent. But this…this is not something I saw coming, and it’s certainly not something I’ve ever remotely implied was an okay thing to do. I had “the talk” with him last year, but he’s never asked me any questions regarding sex despite my open invitation to do so.
I’ve had several uncomfortable talks with my son this week. I even asked some women I know who are victims if they would speak to C and tell him, not what happened, but how what happened made them feel. Having never experienced this, it’s not something I can convey. I can tell him until my dying breath that this makes a woman feel scared, gives them nightmares, and leaves permanent emotional scars, but that’s really just a guess on my part. It’s a shitty thing to ask of someone either way, but I need C to understand that doing something like this hurts the people to which he does them.
I bought him a book on boundaries for teens. I made him read it and reviewed his answers to questions in the book. At the end of it all, I bluntly told him I’m not raising a son who would hurt people like this. I also told him if this ever, ever happens again (no matter who he does it to), I will beat his ass and take him to the police department to have charges filed. At the very least, his actions this past weekend constitute sexual battery. This may not seem like much to some, but it’s the first slide on a slippery slope, and I’m treating it as seriously as possible.
C’s therapist retired in December but said he thinks C is doing well enough that regular therapy is no longer needed. Well, you missed the strike zone with that pitch, doc…
I called the local mental health clinic and got an appointment scheduled for C, but it’s not until the end of May. In the meantime, I have to figure out on my own what to do with this series of unfortunate events because his mom offers no solutions at all. She just bitches about it all. Frankly, she’s been making the entire situation worse. At least, she’s made it worse for me. I have no clue whether or not she tried to be a parent the one night she had him this week.
I’ve been teetering on edge this past week, taking my prescribed anxiety meds as often as possible. I may have also turned to a couple other not prescribed substances for relief. Almost all of my anxiety has revolved around C these past few days. I haven’t even had a chance to freak out yet about the little girl to whom he did this. Is she okay? Does she even realize why what happened was wrong? Does she truly understand the magnitude of what transpired?
I had a chance to speak to her on a video chat Sunday and assured her that I’m not upset with her for any reason and that she did the right thing by telling her parents. I also told her that if anyone does something like this to her at any time, she needs to report it to a trusted adult immediately, no matter who the person violating her boundaries is. It’s a heartbreaking thing to have to explain to a child, but sadly a necessary one.
I don’t know what else to do. Or say. Frankly, I feel like I need therapy as much as C does at the moment, but my first appointment isn’t until the 3rd. Until then I guess I’ll just keep on a brave face while I submerge and hope for a lifeline.
Hey there, you’re a good dad by doing everything in your power to teach Baby C correctly and rectify the situation. It’s a lot, especially when you don’t have the adequate support. Would you consider asking if his school counselor might help for quicker intervention by a professional? Make sure you know if the conversation will be confidential; sometimes school admin. may share these things with other school admin. for school-related reasons, but if Baby C does something similar to a student, it might get bad for Baby C because he “has a history.” I also suggest checking for mentors closer to Baby C’s age, who can talk some sense into him. Most tweens and teens are more comfortable confiding in and listening to someone closer to their age. Hope something works and the situation will get better.
I would love to ask the guidance counselor about this right now, but they’re on Spring Break.
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Honestly, if more young people had parents who are as on top of this thing (no pun intended) as you and the girl’s parents are, there would be far fewer people perpetuating sexual assault and far fewer who would “let it go” without speaking up about it. You’re doing all the right things. This is a lesson both Baby C and his friend need to learn, and earlier is better, before permanent damage occurs. You’re a Good Dad!