First off, thanks Melliferal for opening a fabulous topic and I hope you donít mind that Iím carrying it over to this forum as well so that the partners here can chime in with their thoughts.
I never learned about abuse of children in any form. It wasnít a part of my life, nor was it a part of my education therefore there was zero understanding that it even existed. Iím 45 years old and to be honest, other than donít talk to strangers, I was never even warned against the bad things that could happen to kids. I was raised with blinders on and those blinders stayed firmly in place for many, many years.
There were two families around the corner from where I grew up. One was intact, Mom, Dad and 2 boys. I didnít know much about the parents except that the father seemed mean and the mother was ďmousy,Ē as my father put it. We knew the kids because we went to school together. We werenít allowed to hang around with them because according to my parents, they were ďbad.Ē Well, looking back and remembering things that at the time were dismissed by my parents as things not to talk about, the boys were ďbadĒ because they were desperate for attention and probably love. My adult mind sees those parents for what they probably were, but my kid mind only listened to my parents and we didnít talk about it.
The other family consisted of 2 grandparents, a drug addicted, alcoholic mother and her son. Again, the boy was bad news. He stole from people in the neighborhood, cut school and abused animals. My father felt sorry for him and tried to ďstraighten him out.Ē The kid was always respectful of my father and sought him out. He came to the house and played ball in the yard with my brother and my Dad got him on his little league team, but it wasnít enough, not hardly. He eventually stole from us and that was it for him. To say that my father was and is intolerant is an understatement. The boy grew up to be really bad and spent time in jail for manslaughter. Weíd see this kid when he came over sometimes covered in bruises, but my parents refused to acknowledge what they saw or to talk about it. They didnít, so we didnít. As I said, the blinders were very firmly in place.
When I was 25, I met my birth mother. Thatís the first time the issue of sexual abuse in families ever entered my conscious mind. I was upset beyond belief over some of the things I learned, but those blinders refused to move much because even though it was my birth mother, not the wonderful woman who I called Mom and who raised me, it was distant and my mind kept it there. I did become more passionate about children in general, and my own little baby in particular, but I could never, ever imagine that such a thing would become a part of my life until my b/f disclosed to me.
Well, Iíve already written half a novel, but the point of my story is to illustrate why I agree with you Melliferal. Yes, I believe that abuse, sex abuse in particular should be part of the sex ed school curriculum. Will it help the child who is being abused to stop it or tell someone? I donít know but maybe if that child confides in another, that other child would have the courage to tell his/her parents that something is happening and they know itís wrong because Mr. C said so and hopefully those parents WILL talk about it, unlike mine.
Someone has to speak, not just the ones who are adults now. Itís the children who need the tools and the knowledge and the support. They are the ones who will ultimately be able to stop it from happening to them or to a friend. Learning that it even exists is the first step to making that happen.
My daughter will be 21 this year. As she was growing up, I taught her basic safety things about good touch, bad touch, your body is yours, blah, blah, blah. Iíve done OK, but if Iím honest, not a whole lot better than my parents. Little bits at a time, I am making her aware of what happens in the real world so that when she opens her Daycare Center, which at the moment is here career choice, and when she has her own kids, she does a whole lot better than me.
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.