When is it Safe to Call a Molester a Molester?
A lot of things I read last week got me thinking about perceived danger and being trusting or not being stupid and protecting yourself.
Let’s face it…
Wait I just got distracted… the Today Show just showed an extreme closeup of a bowl of corn. WTF?
So, back to what I was saying… let’s face it, making decisions is really a gut instinct. You can use your experience, other’s experience, textbook warning signs but it all comes down to gut instinct in the end. Am I right, folks? Well maybe the gut instinct of a paranoid schizophrenic shouldn’t be trusted, but who am I to say…
What bugs me is when someone has a gut instinct about someone, but nothing has happened yet, or nothing bad enough has happened yet to warrant any action. Like how you can’t arrest someone for stalking unless they’ve done something threatening. Or say a guy starts exhibiting signs of an abuser… he hasn’t hit you yet but you can tell it’s going there. Name calling, control, arm grabbing. You get out but you still have fear. Do you warn other women, is it fair to label him? I guess you just keep your mouth shut?
Here’s a very personal thing I’m going to share with you… A few years ago I had a person on my ex-husband’s side of the family doing something that caught my attention. Every time one of my children came home from their house, this child had a few new pairs of more adult type underwear (they were still in kid themed undies). And the tag of the underwear was signed, “Love, (and the person’s initials)”. The first time it happened the stuff wasn’t too adult and I just knew the person was weird anyway, so I shrugged it off. They are not the sharpest tool in the shed. But when the undies came home again they got more adult, I thought this is not right. I started asking questions. No direct offenses were taking place but found out this person was getting them ready for baths at an age when they should just start to be having some privacy or only same sex in room.
I brought it up to the person. They vehemently denied anything and then started telling the kids they were ingrates because they didn’t appreciate what they gave them (creepy underwear). Then the spouse of this person joined in, getting nasty to the kids. Then I’d remembered back a good 12 years before we got a letter from an old neighbor of this person saying that person had molested the letter writer. We investigated, person denied it, and our investigation (we thought) didn’t add up because the letter writer wasn’t much younger than this person. But re-thinking it years later when we were more adult, the age difference was just enough for LW to be underage and that person to know better. That was all I needed for my gut to tell me to distance ourselves. And I wanted to throw up.
I questioned the kids enough to find out if anything happened but as to not make them feel guilty, bad, or scared. (fine line) To me it seems I caught things just in time. However, it seems right after I decided to make distance, they did a pre-emptive strike and distanced themselves, acting all indignant. My gut made me think this person realized they couldn’t put one past me. But that’s just my gut, I could be wrong. My gut tells me an innocent person would feel bad or embarrassed because they didn’t think about it. Guilty people usually get mad and project.
Not to mention, those people were the last shred of any type of “family support” nearby after my ex vanished. I felt sick and alone and betrayed and lost but most of all scared and worried for my children. Part of me wanted to beat the shit out of them. A big part.
So… is it fair for me to “label”? The signs are there but nothing overt happened. Do I tell other people in the family to keep their kids away? But we don’t talk to anyone anymore, I don’t know who would go over there, they are pretty anti-social. I can’t report or bring suit because being creepy or predatory or “grooming the victim” is not a crime. My conscious eats at me sometimes. But is it just my perception? There may be people out there that think I was wrong or over-reacting.
I guess you have to make your own decisions but please please please pay attention to things happening around you. There are things that can be prevented to a degree. To what degree you take is your own doing. I stopped at removing myself from the situation, others would have gone over with a gun, others would have ignored it and remained status quo. Where are you on the spectrum?