This week I received a phone call from a grandmother in turmoil. It was evident in her voice just how scared and desperate she was for help.
Her dilemma was the same I’ve heard, tragically, too many times before. She said, “my son-in-law is sexually abusing my grandchildren but I have no proof, I just KNOW it.”
So I continued the conversation with her as I had done so many times before, by asking questions.
I asked, “Have you seen him touch them inappropriately? Have the children told you anything to alert you? Have you spoken to your daughter, their mother? Have you filed a police report?” And on and on we went.
And again, her responses were like ones I’ve heard countless times. “Yes, I’ve seen him touch one child in a way I knew was wrong and he smiled at me while he did it, knowing there was no way I could say anything. He was a cop so he knows people. They’ve stopped letting me see the kids. My daughter doesn’t believe me.”
As we went further, she said the following statement that made me want to cry. She said, “I’m scared that if I do something about this, if I go to the police, who I don’t think will help anyway, that I will lose the relationship with my daughter. I want to have a relationship with her. What do I do??”
So I paused…and I answered her question with a question. I asked her what I’ve asked of parents and guardians, churches and parishes, person after person…
What is your priority?
What is more important to you; the safety of a child, or a “relationship” with your child built on denial and the potential enabling of a sexual predator?
Because it’s more likely than not that one day you will have to choose…what is more important to you, what is more sacred to you. If what you believe in your heart of hearts is true, then you can’t have both if your child chooses to stay with and protect the one harming your grandchildren.
And let’s say, worst case scenario, you’re wrong. Then what? Will a child who truly loves you hold it against you forever that you were trying to protect their
child? I don’t believe so. And if so, then the relationship has many more
issues than this one.
Now, if you just don’t like your son-in-law and this is some sick, perverted way to drive a wedge, then you will be held accountable for that one day. But if not, if your intentions are pure, as are your concerns, then you really only have one choice.
Those babies have NO VOICE, NO DEFENSE, NO ONE TO PROTECT THEM. And you MUST be THEIR defender, THEIR voice. If not you, then who???
It’s what we all must ask ourselves…IF NOT US, THEN WHO?!?
God how I wish someone who had concerns back in 81 or 82 or 84 or 85 or 91 or 92 or, or, OR (and there were PLENTY of them) would’ve had the courage to stand up and say, what the hell is this man doing with these little boys at his house overnight?!?!
So that leaves us with these decisions…decisions…
…what will you do?
March 18, 2016 at 7:04 pm
This grandmother is enabling the abuse by not doing anything. I hope you have some information on the family so that you can contact the police, or call the abuser and tell him his secret is out, or call the grandchildren to talk to them.
March 19, 2016 at 9:30 am
Great post David. I will be posting it in FB. I ask about priorities on a regular basis in counseling, hoping the clients are aware and strong enough to do that is right instead of what is easy.
March 19, 2016 at 6:29 pm
Thank you Natalie for sharing. Please share anything we have anywhere you want. As you know, all we want is to help others 🙂 and thank you for helping folks to focus on the real priorities
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March 21, 2016 at 7:55 pm
As long as the intentions are pure there is no choice, like it says, if someone had of helped my sister, my babysitter, me, and 4 other children who have come to me as adult to tell me what he did to them , My neighbors Knew, as they asked if I was alright now, they prayed for me. Well thanks for that, god must have been on vacation for that 12 years. Tell the police for God sakes do it anonymously, if you have to. I was a liar, imaginative. I even told my mother. She choose a house in a fancy neighborhood over her daughters. I was so screwed up I barely survived it. Help the child for their sake, you are all they have between life and pure sick misery, Please help the children