Updated: May 5, 2018
Written by Carol Teitelbaum, MFT
Reprinted from RECOVERY ILLUSTRATED MAGAZINE
Camping, fishing, boating, and hiking, are all great adventures, but not so much when your companion is also your perpetrator.
Raising children alone is not an easy task for a single mom; it is also a lonely proposition. She has no one to tag- team with, to take care of her children when she is tired, not feeling well or sometimes just overwhelmed. Working, keeping house, cooking and paying bills can be a lot to handle for a couple, but for just one person it can be almost impossible. Trying to have a personal life, get together with friends and maybe even a date seems like a far away dream.
Out to a rare dinner with friends, a man from across the restaurant smiles, and here we go. Single moms can be vulnerable to the simple kindness of a new man in her life, someone willing to help her out.
Boys who live with a single mom can be vulnerable to the kindness of a man. Boys need a father figure and if they don’t have a biological Dad at home, because his parents are divorced, and especially if Dad is completely absent, they can fall prey to that man who is trolling for a single woman with children.
Perpetrators can groom their victims for up to five years before they abuse them, so imagine how much trust they could build up in that amount of time. At first mom doesn’t want to introduce the new man to her son, she wants to be sure this relationship is going to go somewhere. Finally, after a few months, she is sure he might be the one and the introduction happens. Leary at first, having been abandoned by his Dad, they boy might be shy to warm up to this new man but, before too long, he wins him over.
“Tell me what activities you like to do?” “What interests you?” At first the boy is bewildered, no adult has ever cared what he wanted to do. Mom was always too busy to do his activities. He had to go along with her while she did errands. That was the extent of their time together. Now, there is an adult who wants to do things that interest him. He has never been boating, camping or fishing. It all seems like a dream. “Yes, yes. I want to do those things.” Funny, this new man in Mom’s life doesn’t seem to ever be busy doing anything with his own friends and he is always available. If that is happening, women need take heed. An adult who spends all their free time with your children and appears to have no friends of their own, beware, something is not kosher.
The trips begin and they are amazing. he never had so much fun. This adult is not like others he has encountered. He never gets mad at him even when he does dumb stuff he can’t seem to help doing. Life is pretty good, and when they are gone on one of their adventures, Mom even gets to spend time with her girlfriends, something she could only do if she brought her son along. What could be better?
Then it happens. Life changes for that boy forever. Once innocence is stolen you can never reclaim it.
One in three girls and one in four boys are sexually abused by the age of eighteen. (Only the reported numbers) The effects are devastating and can include: low self worth, depression, shame, learning disabilities, rage, fear, eating disorders, physical ailments and even suicide, as reported in the ACE studies by Kaiser Permanente and the Center for Disease Control.
Be aware, it is not the “stranger danger” our parents warned us about that we need to heed, most perpetrations, in fact over 90% are someone the child knows. Protect your children; be aware of who is taking care of them.
It shouldn’t hurt to be a child, it happens to boys too.