Sunday, January 31, 2010
A while ago, I wrote a very personal post which was deleted very soon after I published it. You see, I have a dark secret that I have kept to myself for much of my life. A secret that I wish I had the courage to share with someone close to me. One that has, in my mind robbed me of the innocence of childhood. I was a victim of sexual abuse.
I am not writing this post to gain some sort of pity, or to be encouraged by my readers to tell someone I know, or even to confront my abusers. I am writing this post to alert parents. Most instances of child molestation are committed by individuals that are close to the child or family. The offender is often a family member...someone who has easy access to the child, and someone who the child is relatively comfortable around. Unfortunately, this was true in my case.
As parents, guardians and caregivers, it is important that we keep a watchful eye on our children, but it is more important that we teach our children what acceptable and unacceptable behavior is. Unfortunately, I can speak from experience when I say a child doesn't immediately know or understand what is happening to them is not right. Children, generally, should be accustomed to being loved, hugged and kissed. Their minds are not programmed to understand when a kiss is more than just a normal kiss a child is used to getting. I didn't know that I was being sexually abused until I grew older, well into my teens. I'm not sure if by way of a defense mechanism my mind completely erased what happened to me and it only became apparent to me after I became sexually aware, but while I was going through what I went through, my child mind never once questioned the lewd behavior that was projected towards me.
It pains me to say this, but parents need to stop being so trusting of their relatives. It is important that if you leave your child home with a relative that you ask your child what they did with their uncle (for example). Children are innocent, they will tell you. I wish till this day that my mother would have forsaken all political correctness and politeness and that she had explained to me what a good touch and bad touch was so that I might have been able to salvage my childhood.
If you are a mother or father of a child, please don't just read this blog entry only to return to doing whatever it was that you were doing earlier. Please, if you haven't already discussed this with your child, drop what you're doing and speak to them. Educate your child, be their guide.
And don't for a second think that we are free from such a fitna because we are Muslim. Child molestation is big problem in our communities...it just doesn't get talked about. I want to change that. Start talking...to your child, your neighbor, a family member, your shaykh or community member. Make the community aware of this horrible problem.
Also, please check out the Megan's Law website to see if there are any registered sex offenders in your area.