Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Truth? - I can't Handle It...

'Why do people abuse children?"

That was the question KC gave to me as soon as we got into the car and drove off to TJ's tuition lesson.

What is it with him and questions at the moment? And why are they always asked at the most innappropriate times?

I decided to postpone my answer. It's a tactic I use a lot.

"Can we talk about this whilst TJ is at his class" I said. "We can go for a Costa cake and have a chat."

KC seemed satisfied with this and the two of them sat chatting merrily in the back about the benefits of Minecraft.

We dropped TJ off and walked down to the local branch of Costa (other coffee stores are available but much further to walk to.)

We sat down - I had a skinny latte (I am being good) whilst KC had a huge piece of chocolate cake and a fizzy drink - he is not being so good.

"So," He looked at me.

"Don't worry I haven't forgotten," I said.

This had all come about because he had heard a news report that stated that thousands of known child abusers were probably going to escape any form of police intervention - simply because there are too many of them - abusers, not police. I'd like to say I am shocked - but I'm really not. I don't think anything shocks me anymore. Horrified, yes, disgusted, absolutely - but shocked... not really.

I thought back to the time during our introductions when we were told that the people who abused our children would not be prosecuted as the children were too young to be 'reliable' witnesses in the eyes of the prosecution service. Then I sat there shouting at the social workers - telling them that they all knew what was going on and now the perpetrators were going to get away with it?

"That's how child abuser's work," I was told calmly. "They know the police are unlikely to get a conviction - and the younger the child the less likely there will be any hope of a prosecution."

I was shocked then...

My eldest still believes that 'the people who did bad things' are in prison. They are not. One look at Facebook told me that. They are out there, living their lives - with new families.

I came back into the room and my son was looking at me expectantly across our hot drinks.

How was I going to handle this one? I couldn't tell him that all child abusers are evil - that would include his family - would he then think it included him? I opted for the sick route...

"People who do nasty things to children are very ill," I began, "They need help."

KC stopped me, "But the children need help too," he said, "Who do they ask for help? Does anyone listen to them?"

I was stunned. Was he now talking about himself? Was he finally opening up to me - it's something I thought I wanted him to do - In therapy they tell us that as parents we make the best therapists but I'm also terrified of hearing what happened to him from.. well, from him. It's one thing to read documents and listen to social workers, it's another to actually hear it from your child.

I think he read my fear. That sounds strange but he almost seemed to want to change the subject - he knew I was uncomfortable - and I felt awful that he had picked up on it. He decided to talk to me about his school day... I listened and nodded my head sagely at his problems with maths - I didn't actually hear a word...

Abuse was part of his life - part of what makes him who he is. I don't want it to define him and I'm sure he will cope with whatever life throws at him but it is there and, no matter how hard I try, I can't erase that - no parent of a child adopted from the care system can. I just wanted to make it all go away - but for him or me?

I'm ashamed to say that when he changed the subject I let him... I didn't want to go to his darkest places - not just yet.

Now I've just made myself cry...

Next time I'll be better prepared - I just hope I get some warning...


  1. Hi James, have you ever read Jacqueline Wilson's Tracy Beaker series? It was really sad and as an adult, I cried reading a kids book.

    It is difficult for us to imagine what these these children go through. We wished we (or the society) could have done something so much more to help these helpless kids...

    That being said, I was re-reading through your old entries and I realised how much your kids have grown. I'm really happy how KC and TJ have found a wonderful parent in you and your partner.

  2. Thank you so much for your kind comments. Interestingly, neither of the boys enjoyed Tracey Beaker, I think it reminds them that they were once in care... Although not in a home. Tracey often imagines her birth mother as something soecial... I'm guessing that the boys will go through that at some stage as well. Unfortunately, deep down, they know the truth....