An Oklahoma mother of an 11-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl is going through what no parent ever wants to go through -- her son and her 7-year-old nephew allegedly raped her daughter. The little girl told her mother about what happened and it was reported that the mom told her not to tell anyone. She didn't report it to the authorities. Perhaps she thought she could handle it within the family. Maybe she needed to process what she was told. It is the unthinkable. The pain and confusion this mother must be feeling is too great to even try to fathom.
The alleged incident occurred on a Wednesday. By Friday the Department of Human Services received a tip and went to investigate. Both mom and her 11-year-old son were arrested. The 6-year-old daughter is now in protective custody. In trying to understand why she didn't report it, I can't help but feel this mom needed a little time to sort out what to do in this situation.
How do you alert the police about your 11-year-old knowing that one call could essentially mean the end of his life as they both imagined it? How do you abandon that forgiveness gene we have as parents even when they do wrong? This kind of wrong, of course, is terrifying because it's a wrong by her son against her daughter. How could a family ever recover from this?
The Daily Mail obtained a police report that read:
The 6-year-old girl told the human services worker that she was in her bedroom doing homework on Wednesday when her brother and a 7-year-old cousin asked her to pull her pants off. The girl said after her pants were off, both of the boys 'put their things in her and it hurt.'
That was so hard to read. The mother reportedly told police that her son said it was the cousin who abused her daughter. There is also an older sister who said she heard her two younger siblings arguing, and when she asked why, the brother told her what their cousin did to their little sister. He maintains he didn't violate her in that way. But the little girl says it was both her brother and cousin who raped her. If you are this mother, who do you believe -- your son or your daughter?
This mom probably was so overwhelmed with emotions for both her children, the clear answer of what to do didn't come before the authorities did. That boy is still a boy. He is still her son. The son she birthed and sang lullabies to. Reporting him could mean a conviction, which could lead to more convictions, more crimes, feelings of abandonment, maybe a cycle of violence and abuse that may never end. That may be what she felt in those moments, those days. What would happen to him? What would this mean for his future? Would he feel his mother turned his back on him and that would mark the start of a life of imprisonment, then more abuse?
And her daughter ... the rage she must feel for a crime to be committed against her, something so horrifyingly violating ... I would imagine she can't even think of who did this to her, only that it was done. That pain, for both mother and daughter, will never go away. They can try to bury it, but it will always be there, just under the surface. Would reporting it hurt her more? Could they deal with it together? What is going to happen to her? To her relationship with her brother? How on earth can you ever take the pain of this abuse away? As a parent, that is what we want to do for our children. But she must feel abandoned by her mom because she says her mother told her not to tell anyone. That is going to haunt her for a long time, possibly forever. Keeping silence after being abused is not healthy. Thinking of this little girl and what she allegedly went through hurts my heart. I'm praying for her.
This cannot be swept under the rug; it cannot be the family secret no one ever talks about. Because those are the kinds of secrets that hurt people so deep down inside that the pain will come out eventually. It could mean future abuse, acceptance of being abused, substance abuse ... professional help is needed to recover.
This mom is probably blaming herself. She's probably asking herself what she did wrong in raising her son to make him do this. She's thinking it's her fault this happened. And now because she didn't report it right away, she is also in jail. It is times like these that people turn to their faith, to prayer, and hopefully to therapy. It's often the way to find any beacon of hope when it seems there is none. You can't ask why over and over again, you can move forward and work on getting everyone mentally and emotionally healthy.
Now this family is divided in every way. Each of them has their own journey of healing ahead of them and I truly hope they find it.
Do you think this mom needed time to process before calling the authorities or was she trying to handle it herself? How do you choose between your children or do you think you just blame yourself?
Image via shikeroku/Flickr