As parents, our primary job is to protect our children and teach them the ways of the world. We teach them right from wrong, good from evil and people to stay away from. What do you do when one of those people they’re supposed to stay away from is under the same roof? This happened in my own home, and my own daughter was the victim. How can I face her?
Everything seemed normal, but it wasn’t
We were a typical nuclear family, husband, wife, and child. My husband and I both worked full-time jobs, and our ten-year-old little girl flourished in creativity and happiness. We lived frugally, and always spent time with family on our days off. Things were great, and they were what seemed reasonable at the time. I never knew the signs to look for, nor did I ever think I would have to!
How was I supposed to know?
My husband was in the National Guard, worked full time at a local gas station and was incredibly smart. He loved video games and played so well with our daughter. The only irritation I had with him was his excessive drinking at times, and we occasionally fought about it. Looking back now, I can recall he would begin trying to initiate sexual foreplay only when our daughter was present. I can remember a few times coming home to him running out in the hall from our daughter’s room to greet me, looking guilty. I wish I had recognized it then because I could have saved my daughter.
The horrible day forever seared in my memory
I was running late one morning for work, and in the midst of the chaos, I left in a hurry without my work badge. Usually, I wouldn’t worry about such a thing, but I had been getting a lot of flak about it at work, so I turned around back home. I had only been gone for about twenty minutes, and already the house felt wrong when I walked back in. It was quiet at first, but I could hear my daughter crying. Then I listened to the familiar sound of the bed creaking rhythmically. I ran to her room and saw my husband, the father of my daughter, raping her in her own bed.
How do I even begin to help my daughter?
I had failed my daughter as her mother, her protector and as a human being. My own husband had been raping and molesting my daughter for months. I was so busy with work that I hadn’t even noticed my daughter’s personality changing.
I didn’t even know where to begin, but I started with my daughter. I needed her to feel safe, and see that he would never touch her again. We moved far away after the help of a fantastic lawyer, victim’s advocates, and a ruthless prosecutor. We all made sure he could never see my daughter again, and he would be in prison for years to come.