Living in fear of molestation

A parent asked a question about molestation on the Parent24 expert’s page. Essentially, she was concerned that her husband may have molested her Grade 8 daughter while the daughter was sleeping in between her parents on their bed after she'd had a nightmare. While this may or may not be a case of molestation, it concerns me that the expert’s response was, essentially, "don’t allow an adolescent to sleep in the parental bed."

Fair enough. If the kid is not in the bed, he or she won’t be molested in that bed. Common sense. But how much of our parenting is fear-based?

Farewell to innocence?

This is the bullshit that parents deal with: You now have to be careful of being naked at home, or bathing with your small kids, or having their friends come for a sleepover. I especially don’t do the latter, because, as a single dad, I know that my daughter’s friend’s parents would rather eat broken glass than allow their kids to come and stay over at my house, even if the parents know me.

I get that, but it’s horrible that there’s such a climate of fear.  I wouldn’t let my kids sleep over at parents whom I don’t know- and that’s my right as the one responsible for them, especially when I know that 20 000 kids are being raped or sexually molested every year in SA, mostly by family members/extended family/family friends.

Overreacting to typical issues

It’s tiring to have to parent defensively and to make sure that there’s no possibility of room for accusation: Our first reaction to mood swings or anger, or acting up or even depression in our kids is to assume that they’ve been interfered with by a molester. To drag the old fear of "a red under every bed" into play- do we now fear a molester in every bed?

The real problem is that kids who live in this environment of suspicion will grow up fearful, too, and there will be guilt tainting the family experience.

We fear the worst, but we shouldn’t always expect it, right? Despite being annoyed about the culture of fear we seem to have cultivated, I know that abuse happens, so always make sure you know how to recognise the signs, and what to do about them.

Do you think parents create an unnecessarily fearful environment?
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Gauteng DA leader Solly Msimanga says the party's voters want it to explore conditional coalition talks with the ANC. 
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
It's a step in the right direction. An ANC-DA coalition would be the most stable option for SA
33% - 2825 votes
The DA should focus on working with all opposition parties, including the EFF, to unseat the ANC
15% - 1256 votes
The DA should rather remain in opposition than form a coalition with the ANC or the EFF
52% - 4465 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.