8: No Filter
One of the difficult things to come to terms with, after Ruby’s first disclosure, was that once she was given permission to talk about her experiences, there was no holding back, and no filter! The following, details some of the things that she innocently rattled off over the months after her first revelation. Feel free to skip this part if you find it too upsetting.
I still cringe when I hear Ruby say “Mum can I tell you something?”
In those early days, the request was accompanied by the most horrendous things. It seems like such an innocuous phrase, and I’m sure there are many mum’s and dad’s reading this that can relate to this seemingly innocent question.
But in the next few weeks and months, I was told things that I didn’t think I would ever hear coming from my little person’s mouth.
“Mum, after he put his fingers in my vagina…he didn’t even wash them!”
“Stuff came out of his penis, like wee, and the dog licked it up!”
“Leon’s going to be so angry with me. He’s going to say ‘Ruby, that was our secret!’”
Ruby: “I don’t want to go to the police because I’m going to get in trouble”.
Me: “Why would you get in trouble”.
Ruby: “Because you said that no one is allowed to touch your privates…but I touched Leon’s privates ‘cause he said he would tell Jen if I didn’t”.
And it went on and on and on.
One day during an outing with friends, Ruby came up to me and said,
“Guess what Mum? I have made Libby and Hattie safe now”.
I hesitantly asked, “How did you do that?”
She said, “I told them that the vagina is private and no one is allowed to touch it, even if you know them and they tell you they are allowed. I told them that they have to tell their mum straight away.”
She was so proud that I really couldn’t be angry with her. But I did have an interesting conversation with Libby and Hattie’s parents.
What I’ve found is that there’s a really fine line between wanting your kids to speak openly and honestly about their experiences and teaching them that sometimes it isn’t appropriate to do so. It’s been a balance between wanting Ruby to feel safe about sharing her experiences, but teaching her that many people are not comfortable knowing that such abhorrent things really do happen.
Unfortunately, there is still so much shame associated with being a victim of sexual abuse.