My Son Was Exploited, Here's How To Help Others

Two Years Is Not Enough

****POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING FOR THIS POST. IT IS RELATED TO THE HARM OF MY CHILD. PLEASE CONSIDER THIS YOUR TRIGGER WARNING.****

 

It’s Monday, the 5th of March, 2018. Two years ago today I found out my ex was a monster who was harming my child. Honestly just typing these words, or glancing at the calendar is enough to bring tears to my eyes right now. Two years ago today my world completely stopped, and nothing has been the same for even a second since then. There is no way to put into words how absolutely and immediately your life comes to a halt when you realize your child isn’t safe and desperately needs you to protect them. It’s an ineffable feeling.

I wanted to come here and write about this two year mark but I didn’t know what I wanted to say before about 10 minutes ago. I want to tell you what I’ve learned in these past two years, with the following caveat- This isn’t *that* post. I’m not going to be ending this post with an inspirational message, and not all of the things I’ve learned are in the whole “silver lining” sort of thinking. I’m a blunt person in general and it wouldn’t be authentic to who I am to make this post anything but completely honest. So, if you’re looking for a rainbow sort of post you aren’t going to find that here. It’s not that post.

The last two years of my life have been the most devastating, heartbreaking, and impossibly unbearable years of my life. I’ve gone through a lot of crazy things in my life but going through this makes those other things look like a cold drink on a hot day. I’m *not* thankful for my experiences these past two years. I’m still angry, and hurt. I still feel inexplicably strong hate in my heart for this entire situation, and I can’t say I know when that will go away. It’s possible it may be a permanent part of my personality now, I have no idea. I just know I haven’t reached any sort of point where forgiveness or any other evidence of change in attitude has happened. Again, this isn’t that post.

This is what I’ve learned in the past two years:

– Hate is real, and it’s not a feeling that makes rational sense in any way, shape, or form. Hate is just there. It’s not a constructive or healthy part of anything in my life, but it’s also not going away. Hate is a part of me now. It may always be that way.

-Leaving a partner isn’t easy, even when you know exactly what they did, and why leaving is not just the right choice, but the ONLY choice. I’ve learned you can know someone is a monster, and still feel your heart break over leaving them. This isn’t something people talk about openly but it’s a common sentiment I’ve heard from many parents who have left similar situations. Love doesn’t just *end* when you leave. I have definitely spent time being confused over the amount of hate I have conflicting with being hurt over leaving someone I loved. It’s a very painful mix of emotions and I really don’t like it.

-The quality of the people in your life is much more important than the *amount* of people in it. I’ve lost a lot of people these past two years, but I’m ok with that for the most part because I’ve realized the people I have left are far far superior to anyone left behind. Smaller support group? Sure. But infinitely more valuable.

-Family is different than relatives. I’ve learned family is about who you choose to involve in your life, and that it’s not always the same as the people you’re related to.

-Feelings, in and of themselves, are basically worth nothing.  They don’t solve anything. Feelings are just there, and even if I’m feeling a very strong emotion it doesn’t actually serve a constructive purpose in my life. It doesn’t mean the feelings don’t matter, or that I am a robot who feels nothing. It’s just the realization that actions are what changes things. Not feelings.

-*My* world stopped, but no one else’s did. It’s true that everything stopped for me two years ago, but that didn’t happen for anyone but me. The world still moved on. Sometimes I really wish I could talk to someone who says; “My world stopped that day too.” It feels like having someone say that would offer some sort of consolation that I’m not alone in this. It’s a very selfish thing to want, but I still want it anyhow.

-Leaving is hard. Clearly that’s a very obvious statement to make, but it still bears repeating. I never expected this to be easy, but I didn’t know it would be as hard as it has been either.

-Leaving is REALLY hard but, it’s not impossible. Nothing I’ve gone through since 2016 has been easy, but there have been countless times I’ve thought a new situation was impossible to handle only to prove myself wrong by handling that exact situation. It hasn’t been a graceful process. Sometimes the way I handled something was extremely rudimentary and unrefined, but I did live to see the next day. I have yet to meet the situation which actually proves to be impossible.

-Being self sufficient is invaluable. I’ve learned that my lifelong habit of doing things my way, or on my own, or both has become an asset. I credit having the strength to walk out the door and report my ex entirely to my tendency to depend on myself more than anyone else.

-Crimes like this have a ridiculously painful and drawn out legal process. I found the pictures on March 5th. I reported my ex and left two days later on March 7th. It took until May for him to be arrested, and he wasn’t sentenced until October 14th. Sometimes I felt like law enforcement was more concerned about my ex than my son, even if that clearly wasn’t true. After living it, I now have a new understanding of why so many people opt to not report someone or press charges.

-I’m not the same person. Good or bad I’ve gone through a change that is so deeply ingrained there’s nothing that would ever undo it.

The final lesson is the hardest, and probably the most honest of all the things I’ve learned.

-2 years is not enough to make it stop hurting. I may know logically that feelings change nothing, but that doesn’t make them go away. 2 years is not enough time. I’m hurting. I’m sad. I am wiping the tears away just to write this post. I hate everything about this feeling and this day. I want it to stop. I want to not remember. The pain is real, and it’s intense. A man I loved harmed the most precious thing I’ve ever had in this world and it still feels like my heart is being ripped from my chest. I hate this. I really really hate it.

Two years is to this situation what a band aid on a bullet wound is to the human body. It’s not enough. I don’t know what will be enough, I just know two years… Is not enough.

 

 

 

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If you know or suspect a child is being sexually exploited please use the above information to report it. Children need us to speak up and be their advocates. You can help them. 

 

 

 

 

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