This weekend we celebrate the father's in our life. Father's Day doesn’t always get the same hype and pump and circumstance as Mother's Day. However, we often seem to overlook the fact that without our father's, whether present or absent in our lives, we would not be here without them. Just as with our mother's, each of us has a very different relationship with our father. For some, we are daddy's little girl that can turn our heads and bat our eyes ever so slightly and we can almost have anything. Then there are those who may not know their father. Regardless of the relationship you may have with him, we must never lose site that we only get one father 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 father or he is no longer with us, know that you are loved and accepted by God.
As daddy's little girl, I have never really had a conversation with my dad about my own personal assaults. I really didn't know where to start and I wasn't really sure if he wanted to talk about it. However, I always wondered how he felt about it. Well, just as I asked my mom to share with us during Mother's Day, I asked my dad the same questions and here's what he had to say.
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 feel that not knowing about the incident immediately changed me from a person that would have acted violently towards the person who committed the act to one that could show compassion for the victim. If I had known sooner, I might have sought revenge and went after the individual.
Q: Did you blame yourself? Why or why not?
A: Incidents of this magnitude always place you in a position that you blame yourself. You find yourself wondering, what did I do wrong, could I have done anything differently to change it. It's my fault not having my child prepared to enter into a world where this thing and others exist and happen to the innocent and unsuspecting.
Q: What emotions did you feel when you were told? What things went through your head?
A: The emotions I felt were that of let down, failure and what can I do to change the situation to make things better. Lord bless me to find some way to make it better for her. However, if when she came home we could have known and been blessed to be more compassionate to her and her hurting so as to comfort her and make intelligent decisions, that could have made the incident more bearable for her.
Q: How would you feel if you never knew this happened to your child? Would you want to know despite how long ago it’s been?
A: Not knowing always puts you in a position that you don't know what would be the outcome. No matter how long afterwards, you would want to know because of the pain that your child is enduring. You would want to be there to try and make things better.
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: Now that we know and have understood the impact on her life, yes I would change it. I can see the changes that have been made in her life. I feel that we serve a God that doesn’t allow things to just happen. There is a purpose. I now know and appreciate a more giving and caring person.
Q: What advice would you give another father whose child has been sexually assaulted, i.e. raped, molested, etc?
A: My advice to other father's would be to man up. Be a caring father. Find the time to provide the attention and give the advice needed to be the father your daughter needs and desires.
Wow, this is the first time I've actually heard these words from my dad. Because this is not something you sit down and talk about over family dinner, I wasn't sure he would be willing to share how he feels. However, I am glad that he did. I hope that you hear the heart of a man that found himself on the other side of a very difficult situation that he could not control or fix. In our desire to "protect" our parents from hurt and difficulty, we rob them of the ability to be there in much bigger ways than we could have ever imagined.
How do you feel that your father or the father figure in your life would respond if you posed the same questions?