This weekend is Mother’s Day. A time to celebrate and remember the woman that God entrusted to carry us for nine months and deliver us into this world. I’m reminded of an old song by Shirley Caesar that’s called No Charge. Each of us has a very different relationship with our mother. Some of us deeply value them and have grown to cherish them and the wisdom that they try to provide, even when we don’t want to listen or just think mom’s old fashioned. Still there are others whose relationship is strained or almost no existent. Regardless of the relationship you may have with her, we must never lose site that we only get one mother and we must learn to forgive them for their short comings, love them for who and where they are, and to honor and respect them, simply because it’s the right thing to do. For those who may have never known their mother or she is no longer with us, know that you are loved and accepted by God.
Often times as survivors, we battle with the thought of do we or how do we tell our mothers that such a tragic thing has happened to us. What would she say? How would she feel? I don’t want her to worry or get upset or God forbid, do something crazy and try to kill somebody. Well, I decided to ask my own mother to share with us and other mother’s how she felt and how she dealt with finding out this happened to me.
Q: How did you feel that you didn’t know about the rapes right away? If you had known sooner, what would you have done differently?
A: I thought we were close enough for her to tell me anything. "Why didn’t she tell me?" What happened to my baby was heartbreaking especially after being so determined to be abstinent. If I had known sooner, I probably wouldn’t have let her go off to the army and insisted that she tell us who it was and confront the person and had them arrested.
Q: Did you blame yourself? Why or why not?
A: Yes in a way. I blamed the Army and I sort of blamed my husband for not discouraging her not to go to the Army. All I could think about was maybe I shouldn’t have been so strict on her when growing up. I should have let her go to birthday parties, have more freedom, etc. like other kids. I should have talked to her about leaving home and to watch men.
Q: What emotions did you feel when you were told? What things went through your head?
A: I was sooo hurt. How and why did this have to happen? Why did it happen the day before her 18th birthday? I felt sorry for her that I wasn’t there when she needed me the most and didn’t have the heart to come to me. I felt like we weren’t as close as I thought. My heart aches for her to the point that I wished I could take away her pain.
Q: When she came home after it happened, what do you wish you done differently?
A: I didn’t know until six months later that the assault had happened, so I had no idea that something so devastating had happened to her. When I saw how she was acting I should have been more persistent in seeing what was wrong. I should have let her know that I knew something was wrong and convince her to please talk to me and not shut me out. I can’t change what has happened but if I could turn back the hands of time, she wouldn’t be going to the army.
Q: How would you feel if you never knew this happened to your child?
A: First of all someone else knew before me. For someone else to know before her own mother would be heartbreaking. I felt like she didn’t trust me or have enough confidence in me to talk to me about it. As a loving and caring mother, you need to know everything you possibly can about your child. Of all people she should be the one you go to after going to God. She understands more than you know. If I never knew I probably wouldn’t understand certain things she may say or do or why she may act a certain way.
Q: Would you want to know despite how long ago it’s been? If so, why and how would you feel about it?
A: Yes, I would want to know so that if my child is acting in a way that’s not normal, I would need to be there to be able to sympathize and do what I can to help her get through what has happened. This is something they may have kept a long time and to be able to share it with you can be healing for her and give you a better understanding. Issues or problems may come up later in life that may be a direct result of the assault. So by knowing it could be the answers to these problems, and I would know how to deal with them or understand her better. Selfishly, I would want to know the person who did it because I could one day meet that person and have no idea that this was the person who tried to ruin my child’s life.
Q: Now that you do know and you’ve seen the impact on her life, would you want to change it? Although it was a very traumatic event have you seen a purpose behind it?
A: Of course I would any sane mother would, but since it’s happened, as much as you hate that it did, I believe God had a purpose for it. He had to because He was there when it was all happening. From this experience I’ve watched how she has grown so much in the Lord, the positive impact she has on other's, and the sympathy she has for them. It has also helped me to understand and have more sympathy for others. I believe this has made her a stronger young woman and that she is open to let God use her in ways beyond understanding. God knows who can handle what so He chose her. He saw in her what no one else could see and He needed her to be there for others that are going to come along and experience the same thing or worse and can’t handle it without the help of someone like her. Praise God that He knows all things.
Q: What advice would you give another mother whose child has been sexually assaulted, i.e. raped, molested, etc?
A: Show much love and support. Assure the child that it wasn’t their fault. Listen to them and believe them. Let them know that you care. Something has been taken away from that child that only God can restore. As a mother, you do all that you can to let your child feel the warmth and security that’s been created in you to extend to your child. Keep an open mind. Make it comfortable enough for them to always come to you no matter what. Be patient with them if they don’t want to talk about the assault just yet. Just be there for them. Never let the child think or feel like you are ashamed of them or make suggested comments as to what happened. Get them the help they need and above all else NEVER STOP PRAYING. Get involved in your child’s life whether they like it or not. Know who their friends are, where they are going and who they associate with.
Wow, much of this I am hearing for the first time. Although I am not a mother yet, I can't imagine the hurt and heartbreak of this happening to my little girl. As we all know, we are never grown in the eyes of our mom. I appreciate her sharing these words of truth and encouragement with you and even me.