Sunday, April 6, 2014

Break the Silence: Post 3

This post is part of our "Break the Silence" campaign.  Please be aware that the following may contain descriptions of abuse that may be graphic in nature.

I come from a good size family of seven kids. I'm the only girl and the youngest. I grew up in a typical Utah Mormon family. My parents were active in the church and my father was a high priest. Everyone looked up to my parents. They were a great example of two happy, loving people. My father was always willing to help with projects outside the house and fixing cars. I had a great childhood. All my siblings are now grown and we all have children of our own. There is no one I would trust more than my own parents with my children. Or so I thought. That all changed 5 years ago when one of my brothers showed up on my doorstep. His 8 year old daughter had confessed that grandpa (our father) had been sexually abusing her. It was a downward spiral from there. We found other grandchildren that he had abused.

I want to make something very clear. I would have never, ever thought my father would have been capable of the things that we found out. I trusted him and my mother with my own children. There was never any signs while growing up. I was never abused. It is the biggest misconception to think the pedophile is someone "down the street" or "a stranger". It can be the very people you trust more than anyone in the world.

It tore my family into pieces. Some were in denial. No one could understand. Siblings started to pick sides. As a daddy's girl, I could not come to terms with what was happening. Throughout the court process I was able to see my father in a light that was inconceivable. He is a pedophile. He would say, "sorry" for his actions and then shortly justify them by saying that "she never told me no". This is an 8 year old innocent child we are talking about. It was heart breaking on so many levels. Especially for the victims.

To this day, my family is still in shambles. Nothing will tear a family apart faster than the devastation of child sex abuse. The most important thing you can do is to talk to your children! Not just once, all the time. It is a common talk I have with my children. I talk about that it can be someone they love and trust. Someone that I love and trust. And that NO ONE touches where there swim suit touches. We talk about it often so that they can feel comfortable talking about it at anytime. I do not want them to feel ashamed or embarrassed.

Please, please educate your child about child sex abuse and talk about it often! It's the only way to prevent or stop child sex abuse.


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