Three months had passed since we had to call the police to remove the mother of our child’s predator from our house. She had come to punish us for reporting the sex abuse to social services. She yelled at me in front of my son and my daughter and said very mean things about my children in front of them. Now it was time for Chase to go back to school. I could tell he was anxious about going back to the same school where he would at times be face to face with his predator, who was also a classmate. I had to keep reminding myself that he wanted to go back to this school because he didn’t want to leave his other friends. His counselor recommended that we let him return to the same school if he wanted to go back and he explained to us that Chase might feel punished for something that he didn’t do if we pulled him out of the school that he loved. The morning was rough. Everytime I mentioned that Chase needed to get dressed to go to school he would shout, “I hate school!” “School shouldn’t even exist. It’s stupid.” He then proceeded to stall at every task he was supposed to accomplish before walking out the door to go to school. On the way to the school this middle schoolers buttons were easily pushed by his sister who was completely oblivious to his anxiety. Once we entered the parking lot where I was to drop him off he said, “You’re walking me to the door aren’t you?’ To which I replied, “I think you can handle it.” He walked into the classroom and I felt my stomach ache. I began to frantically hum a song that I had heard earlier that morning and then pulled out of the parking lot. Mary, my perceptive eight year old daughter said, “Mom are you worried about how Chase is going to do in middle school.” I said, “Yes.” I worried the rest of the day. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I was definately anxious about how Chase was going to feel after his first day back to school. When I went to pick him up he was sitting with one of his best friends and he was happy and relaxed. He was fine. On the way home he did talk about Zack’s presence being hard for him because he still felt so much hate for him, but he was cracking jokes which made me relax and realize that he was going to find new ways to cope with the situation.
I can tell you from first hand experience that it was not easy to make a report to child protective services about a child predator. Adding to the emotional ambivalence was the fact that the predator’s mother was a very good friend of mine. After my son, who was struggling with anxiety, reported that his best friend sexually abused him it took me five months to muster up the courage to make a report. I wrestled with the idea not knowing what all of the consequences were going to be. I was afraid that Child Protective Services would be too punitive to a ten year old boy and I was afraid that the boy and his mother would deny that it ever happened. I was also afraid that the other family would try to hurt us. What made me turn the corner was the day that I watched a mother talk to a reporter about Jerry Sandusky. She told the reporter that he had been acused of sexually molesting someone in high school and nothing was done about it. It registered with me how many children had to be victimized before something was done about it. I knew I had a responsibility not just to my son who was psychologically scared, but to the other faceless boys like Chase who could easily be victims too. Chase needed to know that there was a system that could keep him safe from having to experience abuse again. He had been told by his predator to keep everything a secret or else everyone would hate him. Inspite of his anxiety, he stood up for what he knew in his heart was right and then I had to do the same thing. Child Protective Services handled the case very well and the other child got the help he needed. The detective reassured my son that he did the right thing which helped my son tremendously. I did have serious consequences after reporting the abuse. I was afraid for my life on several occassions when confronted by the other child’s mother. So put on your armor if you are going to make a report and have the confidence to know that you are helping your child heal and you are preventing many children from having to go through the self hatred, the shame, the anger, the insecurities that are a result of being sexually abused. You can read more in the book CHASE, by Vivian Sharpe.