Good grief, this is difficult.
For my regular readers, you all know that Hubby and I were separated for 3 years. I dated people, he dated people. I lived with someone, he lived with someone. We remained friends, and a part of each other's lives, and through everything that happened to us as individuals during this time apart, we realized we were meant to be together. During that 3 years apart, I seriously dated 2 people. The second man seemed amazing. I had met him on a dating site (warning #1 for single moms out there), but after finding out that he had sole custody of his daughter (who was 2 months older than my daughter), and googling his name to come up with nothing, I thought I had found a really great guy. He had a hell of a past, but the way he explained it made it all seem like he got the short end of the stick on a few different levels. After a short time, we moved in together. I began raising his daughter, he began helping me with my daughter and my son, and we took on a live-in nanny to help us, since we were still both working.
Things crashed and burned a few short months later. I caught him cheating on me with a woman in her late 40s. After all of my digging was done, I had the names of somewhere around 6 women he had cheated on me with- all older women, some of them were his exes, some new. I packed up my kids and moved 2 states away to where my family was, and left him in the dust.
That was a year and a half ago. I put my life back together, as well as my self esteem (being cheated on really takes a toll on you, emotionally), and after some healing time, Hubby and I worked things out, and the rest was history.
This past Thursday night after the kids were in bed I was surfing the internet, and like I do sometimes, I hit the local news websites from back where I lived. I was looking for an update on a particular story I had been following, when a headline caught my attention: Man Accused of Molesting Young Girls Arrested. Hmmm. I wondered what this sick f*cker looked like, so I clicked on the article.
The mugshot that loaded on my screen was of my ex-boyfriend. His full name, age, local whereabouts, and how he had been arrested for allegedly (gotta love not wanting to get sued for slander or libel) molesting his daughter and one of his ex-girlfriend's daughters popped up, along with how they had pretty convincing evidence against him, and not just verbal reports from the families.
I'll let y'all know now, I have been smoke free since March 9th, 2012, but I found a cigarette to smoke at that moment. I fell onto my knees and cried. I had lived with that man. That man shared a home with my children. Oh my god, what if...
Thoughts no mother should ever have to think.
It took almost an hour before I could bring myself to finish reading the articles. According to statements
taken from his daughter and the ex-girlfriend's daughter, the molestation allegedly occurred over a year after I had walked away from him. While that didn't quiet my mind as much as it should have, I knew I had to wait until morning to talk to Hubby and The Girl. Sleep that night was impossible. Tears came and went, my mind continued to race 100 miles per hour, and even paying attention to my favorite show was a challenge. I kept thinking about the drive away from that town, away from him, and how I told the kids to tell me their real thoughts on him, and they wouldn't get in trouble. I asked both of them then if he was ever inappropriate with them, or if anything bad had ever happened that they were too scared to tell me about because we were with him. They both said no. They weren't no's clouded in secrecy or avoiding eye contact. They were firm no's, and I believed that my children had been safe for the duration of our stay with that man. They told me how he was really strict, but it was mostly with his daughter and not them. They told me that the live-in nanny was always with them, and they were never alone with that man. They calmed my mind as we drove away from him to start our lives new.
Now, over a year and a half later, my mind was no longer calmed. I believed my children when they talked to me as we drove away that day. Hubby had asked them the same questions. My friends had asked them the same questions, and all of the answers were the same. Apparently since this guy had cheated on me, everyone else in my life assumed he was just the scum of the earth all around, so they had gone behind my back and asked the kids for their opinion. Crazy how that happens.
My mind raced with all of these thoughts, and thoughts of his daughter- how I left her behind, how I never saw any signs when we were living together of him molesting her. I kept replaying certain situations or memories of general home life over and over in my head, trying to find evidence of something that I could have prevented. I found nothing in my memory bank, except for a lot of guilt that I didn't know I had. Because of the way he cheated on women, I had felt sorry for walking away from his daughter, knowing that she would have mother-figure after mother-figure in her life from that point on that he would screw up and they'd walk away, and wondering what lesson that taught her about how men should treat women. I didn't know how much guilt I had until I read that she was now in protective custody. I felt like there was something I could have done, and in complete honesty, there was nothing. As far as I knew, her father was just a womanizer, not a pedophile.
The next morning Hubby came home and I told him everything. He remained calm, though I could tell his blood was boiling, and he simply said, "He never touched our daughter." He had had talks with The Girl in the past as well, and it was her body language and mannerisms during the conversations that squashed his worries.
The past was just that- in the past. My worries were brought up now, so I sat down with The Girl and talked with her again. I asked her if that man had ever done anything to her or asked her to do anything to him. "Mom, you've asked me that before. No, he didn't. Why are you asking now?" So, I told her what happened. She is old enough to be told the truth. I told her the police were saying he had (allegedly) done things to his daughter and his ex-girlfriend's daughter, and now that he was in jail, the police thought he had done this to other girls, so if he had, we needed to tell. The Girl said, "Well, he didn't do anything to me. I would have told you if he did." My mind somewhat calmed, The Girl got up to walk out of the room and then she stopped and turned around. My heart fell to the floor. This was it. This was the moment when she was going to tell me something that would change everything about our world as we know it. She walked back over to me and said, "Mom... in Family Life at school, they taught us about sexual abuse. Is that was the police are saying he did to his daughter?" Yes, that's exactly what the police are saying. Why? Did he do that to you? "Oh, okay. No, he didn't, I just remember what Family Life told us, and I wanted to see if that's what they are saying he did. Wow." Why 'wow', honey? Why react like that? "Because that's disgusting, and he didn't seem like the type of guy that would do that, especially to his daughter. He was nice, mom. I mean, sometimes he was really strict, especially with her, but he was nice to us." I asked her if his daughter had ever confided in her when we lived with them of anything her dad had done. "Nope. She never said anything like that. Plus, they were never alone. He was never alone with us, either. The nanny was always there. Wow. I can't believe he may have done that." She asked questions about what would happen to his daughter, and was upset that she would be put into foster care, but because of this last bit of conversation with her, my mind was fully calmed. Whether this guy's (alleged) sick behavior started after I walked away from him or skipped my family altogether, I could finally breathe, and thanked the heavens above for protecting my children.
I heavily struggled with telling my story to the world. There have been moments throughout this that I have felt ridiculous for feeling the way I have- my family was lucky. We slept next to a monster (and I can say that because he cheated on me with at least 6 women) and got out before he truly harmed any of us. I have felt that because we escaped, because we weren't a true victim, that I should be fine. I have felt that I have no story to tell, and that my story would insult the families out there who weren't lucky to escape a situation like this without harm. And, I felt that telling my story would just feed the evil in the world, and I should just quickly put this into my family's past, not bring it up again, and be thankful.
|Courtesy of Essential Baby|
Single mom or married mom, this situation has taught me some extremely important lessons:
- Run background checks. They cost $20 online. Run them for every single person that comes into contact with your children on a regular basis. While a background check wouldn't have helped me in this situation, it will definitely save future moms if this bastard ever gets out of jail.
- Trust your gut. I could have chosen to stay with him, to make things work, but my gut told me to get the hell out. Had I stayed, my daughter might have been a victim. They don't call it 'Mother's Intuition' for nothing. We mothers have it, so use it.
- Trust no one. I have always been a trusting person, which is a huge downfall of mine. When it comes to your children, be paranoid. Be overprotective. Trust no one. If you are a single mom and the new guy you are seeing can't understand why you don't want him to meet your kids after a few dates, walk away. If someone can not appreciate the lengths you go to for your family, then they don't deserve to be a part of your life.
- Constantly watch. Relax and live life, but watch mannerisms, body language and interactions as you go.
- Keep open lines of communication with your kids. I do truly believe my kids when they say this man never touched them, because when I was a single mom, I opened the lines of communication with them. I let them speak their minds without consequence. I do believe that my daughter would have come to me if anything had happened with him. Hell, my daughter probably would have kicked him in the balls and ran screaming to me. Having your kids know they can come to you with things is very comforting for you both.
- Support the Family Life lessons in your child's school. I had to sign a permission slip for my daughter to take Family Life this year. Back in my day, the class was just taught during physical education class once a year. They separated the boys and girls, and the lesson was just taught. Nowadays, so many people have said that Family Life is inappropriate to teach children, that it should be the parents' job and not the school's, that schools need to stay away from these subjects altogether, blah blah blah, that many school systems have done away with it, and the remaining ones make you sign a permission slip for your child to attend. All of that is crap. No parent ever wants to think about the possibility that their child could be sexually abused, therefore we don't talk to our kids about it. We just keep our fingers crossed that they will never come into contact with it. My daughter's school taught her about it, and I am extremely thankful. Now she knows what it is, how it occurs, and what to do about it if she ever does come into contact with it. So if your child's school doesn't have a Family Life program, push for it. It could save a child.
Sad to say, you dads aren't exempt from this stuff, either. Sick people come in male and female versions, so if you are a single dad, you can't assume the next woman you date is fine with your kids just because she's a woman. And, even more sad to say, little boys aren't exempt from molestation, either. So, whether you have girls or boys, whether you are male or female, whether you date either male or female, this applies to everyone. The world is a sick place nowadays.
The news reports haven't updated, haven't told me if any other mothers have come forward with (alleged) victims. I guess they are still trying to build a case against him. My heart goes out to every mother out there who dated this man, who is going through what I went through, who may not have been as lucky as my family was, and to any other victims that come forward. My heart also goes out to every family who has ever had to go through this, no matter what the outcome was. No parent should ever experience this pain and uncertainty. And my heart goes out to this man's daughter. I hope that she finds a great foster home with parents she can trust, and that the damage done to her by her father can be repaired.
And my heart goes out to the police and prosecution in this case, that they are able to keep this sick f*cker in prison for the rest of his life... sorry, alleged sick f*cker.
Hug your children for me. Hold them tight and tell them how much you love them. They are the greatest gift ever given to a parent, so be thankful for them and protect them at all costs. I can only hope that none of you will ever have to go through what I did, and if this post can help just one family, then it was worth writing.