Last week I received a very disturbing and heartbreaking email message from a mother who follows my blog. She asked me to share her email message with my readers so they will never experience what her family has experienced.
Hello Jackie, I have been reading your articles for a while and sharing them with my daughter; and we enjoy them. Jackie, last Thursday my daughter was raped by a guy she met on Instagram.
My daughter’s father and I are divorced. I found out that he went behind my back and allowed our daughter to date this man. He thought it was okay because he was ‘supervising’ them at his house. I can’t tell you the rage I felt and how many tears I have cried. Unfortunately, my ex-husband sacrificed our daughter’s well-being by trying to be our daughter’s friend instead of her father and protector.
My talking to my daughter wasn’t what she wanted to hear. She wanted her dad’s validation and approval. My daughter knew I would never approve of this guy, but since her dad trusted him she believed the guy when he said, “I won’t ‘try you’ if you let me come over while your family is not home.”
This man was not 18 years old as he told her father he was. By the way, I wouldn’t have even allowed her to date someone who was 18 years old. He also gave my daughter and her father a fake name.
My ex-husband had the nerve to ask our daughter, “At what point didn’t you think you should have fought back?” I could have screamed! I kept calm in front of my daughter and told my ex-husband what the police told me, which was we are blessed our daughter wasn’t found dead or beat beyond recognition because that is how they are finding many girls who are meeting guys on social media sites.
Jackie, my daughter is in counseling/therapy. I know it’s only by God’s grace and mercy this man didn’t kill my daughter. She just turned 16 years old. He stole her innocence. I pray they find this guy, but please tell your readers to be very careful about social media and about trusting the wrong people. Sincerely, one hurt mother
When I read this letter I tried, unsuccessfully, to fight back tears. The email message brought back memories of the hundreds of letters I have read from students who have also been raped. At least in this young lady’s situation, the parents found out about the rape and secured counseling for their daughter. Most of the young ladies I receive letters from never attend counseling, resulting in far too many of them managing their pain by self-medicating.
5 Things Parents Can Learn From This Story:
Below are five things I thought would be beneficial for parents to keep in mind with their children:
1. Parents should be very vigilant in monitoring the social media sites their children visit because social media sites are a predator’s paradise. Check out this online resource to help your child understand the dangers of developing a relationship with someone online.
2. Young ladies often look to their fathers to set the standard when they are choosing their boyfriends. They will often choose a boyfriend who is like their father or a boyfriend who their father will approve of them dating. Choosing whom they will enter into a relationship with is one of the most significant decisions a young lady will make. Fathers MUST understand how influential they are in that decision. As I stated in a previous post, daughters really do need their dads!
3. Children’s brains do not fully develop until they are in their twenties. It is imperative that parents protect their children from dangerous situations, even when their children do not recognize the danger. Based on the stage of the daughter’s brain development, I can understand how she may not have understood the danger in dating someone she met online. It is unfathomable to me that the father did not recognize that danger. For more information on the teen brain development, check out this Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain.
4. As a parent, you have a responsibility to perform your parental role for your teen(s). The time will come when you can be your children’s friend. During the teen years, they need parents not friends.
5. When a person is raped, blame should never be placed on the victim for not doing enough to avoid the rape. You can learn more about protecting your child from sexual assault here.
This is one of the posts that you should definitely share with your teens to help them better understand the dangers of social media.
I cannot imagine having to face the pain that this mother and her daughter have experienced. I spoke with the mother last week and she and her daughter are on the road to healing from this horrible experience. Please pray for their continued healing.