Monday, September 15, 2008

We Just Didn't Talk About It

The good old days.... That's a phrase that I've heard reference a lot to, recently. I've read several posts on different parenting blogs with the same theme: wishing for the safety and harmony of generations past. Yearning for the ability to let their children run loose and free in the streets, returning home only for meals and bed. Posts written by parents who are sick of the fear they carry around. Fear of Bad People and Bad Things.

I get it. I really, really get it. I have 3 of my own precious treasures and the mere thought of a Bad Person getting ahold of them makes me feel like a caged tiger: pacing, with unrestrained anger and a desire to shred that Bad Person's neck. Allowing his blood to spill for merely THINKING of hurting a child... The visions I have would probably make you ill, but the gruesome visuals aren't my point here...

So, what IS the point? Thank you for asking! My point, as it were, is this:

The Good Old Days are a myth. A farce, a fairy-tale that we allow ourselves to believe in. There never was a time when we were safe to roam the streets. When Bad People didn't lurk in the shadows. When Bad Things didn't happen to children who ran about and slept with windows open and doors unlocked. But the thing about the days of yore? Back then, we just didn't talk about it.

Children were kidnapped.
Children were raped.
Children were abused by family members.
Children were hurt in countless ways by Bad People.

There have ALWAYS been deviants in human society. We just haven't always talked about it!

Imagine it was 50 years ago:

If your daughter was raped? Shhhh.... Sweep it under the rug. She must have led him on...

You say that good old Uncle Frank touched you? For shame! Never mention it again! Don't embarrass the family!

God forbid if your son experienced this. I don't know that boys from 50 years ago were even TOLD that this was something that could happen to them. And IF a boy came forward and told, what do you think happened? What was the reaction of his parents? The police? Hmmm? Exactly. Keep it QUIET. No one needs to know. He must be (God FORBID) Gay! It'll just hurt him more to talk about it, so SHHHHHhhhhhh.....

Thank God we are scared for our kids. Thank God we can't let them run about, without knowledge of what CAN happen. It is only through the education of our parents and children that we are hearing more about these awful situations. It is only by believing the abused, and by repeating, mantra-like, throughout their youth that it is NOT their fault, that we can empower them to come forward.

There isn't a moment that I wish I could raise my kids in an era from the past. There isn't a THING you can say to convince me that we were safer way back then.

We just didn't talk about it....
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