Trigger Warning: details of molestation
When I was a child growing up in a very conservative Christian community, there was a teen boy who turned into a predator. He was expelled from the church day school when he was in 7th or 8th grade after being found molesting a little 2 or 3rd grade girl in the school storage closet. (She was expelled too.)
Sometime later, he molested a girl who was about 5 or so years younger than him after Sunday dinner when several families were together. She immediately told her parents. They told the preachers.
No one seemed to have ANY idea how to handle the situation for long-term safety and redemption. They just kept whacking at it ineffectively. Of course, nothing was ever reported to the authorities. And he wasn’t given counseling.
Of course I was extremely wary of him, and very aware that he was dangerous and not to be trusted–even as a kid I knew that. Sadly, I knew abuse.
But the adults would invariably relax a little.
So after more time passed, word came around that he’d set his sights on me and since I was no fool, he’d involved his younger brother who was my friend. He hatched a plot to try to get his brother to cooperate with him to get me to come look at some flowers in the woods at the edge of our church so he–the perp–could be waiting, hidden in the woods, to molest me.
The brother told someone. Somehow the preachers found out.
My parents were informed.
They set about to “protect” me by treating me as a prisoner virtually.
HE wasn’t treated like the prisoner. I was.
I could no longer walk to the woman’s bathroom after church without specific permission checking in and out with my mother. I couldn’t be out of her sight, or more than about a yard or so away from her. My parents were constantly fretting and worrying and making sure to keep a tight reign on me.
This went on for months and every single solitary church service (and there were many) I was painfully reminded that someone had evil designs on me.
I don’t remember how long it lasted–a year or so?? And everyone finally decided he was “OK” again.
And my Mom… clueless that she was, decided on a sunny summer morning that she was in need of a private discussion with this perp’s mother, so she loaded us all up and trundled off to her house. All the kids were shooed outside to give the mothers privacy.
I was scared, and uncomfortable. I didn’t trust him at all.
And there in broad daylight, with the sun shining from the blue sky, in front of all my siblings AND his siblings, he came up behind me and molested me.
He did it slickly.
And so well, I was likely the only one who realized it was intentional and evil.
As we were out walking, we went to cross a barbed wire fence. I was a girl of the country and knew exactly how to get around or under barbed wire fences.
Without warning he came up behind me. “Oh, I’ll just lift you over the fence!” He grabbed me suddenly from behind, cupping both of his hands over my breasts securely… and just held me in the air, dangling and kicking and yelling for him to let go of me and put me down. He didn’t try to lift me over the fence. He just held me.
After I yelled and kicked enough in terror, he did put me down, and went off. With a smirk.
I knew. He knew.
And no, I never told my parents. Why would I???? They had proven their utter inability to understand and protect me, even though they wanted to.
So had the church. And no, it wasn’t a odd spin-off church. It was a mainstream Mennonite church.
And this is why I am so passionate and fierce in my belief that child molesters can’t be trusted. If he, as a teen, was so extremely wily and sly, how much ever more so could an adult perp be? If he as a teen, was able to hide his tendencies, fool everyone, and then move in again for a thrill, how much more so could an adult?
–Used By Permission of the Author