Friday, 12 April 2013

Frank, my dear, doesn't give a damn

“You’ll never guess who just walked into the shop”

That’s how the phone call from my very good friend started today. It sounds delicious doesn’t it? Who? I almost squealed, excited. Hopeful for some gossip.

“That bitch, Deidre Smith*”

Oh. Not so delicious. Not gossip. Horrible, confronting and painful news.

Deidre is the wife of the man who molested my friend’s two children when they were very young. She is the mother of my friend’s ex-defacto, her children’s step-father. She is the woman who didn’t participate in the molestation but knew about it. Turned a blind eye to it. Kept quiet about it. Enabled it. 

She is the woman that my friend and I HATE.

It’s a strong emotion, I know. But it sits real and heavy in our guts. My friend, let’s call her Molly [because I don’t actually KNOW anyone called Molly] has grown children now, but at the time of their abuse they were both under 5 years old. Molly didn’t know what was happening then. But Deidre did. SHE KNEW. And we hate her for knowing and for sharing cups of tea with Molly and smiling in photos with Molly’s kids and for getting on with her life,seemingly unaffected.

There are many, many resources for childhood victims of molestation, sexual abuse and rape. There is support. There is a general level of public understanding and empathy. In our culture, at least. As there should be. But often, it is the family of the victims that are forgotten though they suffer too. Make no mistake the ripple effect of child molestation is more like a tsunami... some people drown, some people never return after being swept away and homes are destroyed.

In Molly’s case, her suffering is threefold. 

First she has had to endure almost crippling guilt at the realisation that this happened ‘on her watch’ and SHE HAD NO IDEA that it was happening. It wasn’t until her children were grown up that they finally revealed to her what they had suffered as preschoolers. 

Secondly she has had to deny her own deep, burning desire to exact revenge on her children’s abuser AT THEIR EXPLICIT REQUEST. 

And lastly,it is her ongoing struggle to support an adult son who battles debilitating depression and agoraphobia as a result of the horrific acts against him as a toddler.

There was never any reason to suspect the man who molested Molly’s children. I’m going to call him Frank because that’s actually his name and it feels good for me to ‘out’ him, albeit under a shroud of anonymity. Frank was a lovely man. He was friendly and funny and charming. He had good relationships with his friends and a pleasant, happy wife. Two successful, grown [childless] sons. He looked after his home well and loved Molly’s kids. AND THEY LOVED HIM TOO. Molly could barely believe it when she finally found out what had happened, it seemed so unlikely.

And that’s what I’m here to tell you. It’s not always obvious when children are being molested. In fact, it often isn’t. In this, real-life, example I can tell you the following truths:
  • Those kids WANTED to visit Frank. EVERY TIME.
  • Molly TRUSTED Frank.
  • Neither of Frank’s grown sons gave ANY INDICATION that something was ‘not right’ with their dad.
  • Frank’s own wife welcomed Molly’s kids into her home and turned a blind eye when Frank visited them in bed. And the bathroom. And the shed.
  • Molly’s kids showed NO SIGNS of being uncomfortable or scared of Frank. 
The other truths I can tell you are these. When a child’s innocence is stolen by sick bastards like Frank, it affects the rest of their life and the rest of their family and the rest of their family’s lives. When pricks like Frank get their revolting paws onto babies, hearts are ruined. When disturbed fuckers like Frank are left unchecked, scars are formed and futures are destroyed and hatred grows and grows and grows.

My final truth is this. Sometimes sick fuckers look like nice guys... and girls. Sometimes the only thing standing between your child and some disgusting pig is you, your gut instinct and your perceived over-protectiveness. It is your responsibility to be ever vigilant with your kids. Don’t assume you’ll KNOW that there’s something going on. Hundreds of thousands of people have proven how easy something like this goes undetected. In the case of Molly’s family even her two kids didn’t know it was happening to the other.

My friend Molly hates Frank and she hates Deidre too. She was happy to hear that he suffered before he died. She was happy to know that his last days were not easy, just as her son’s days are not easy either. She had nothing to say to Deidre that day. She was paralysed with rage and her voice was strangled with betrayal. But Molly’s ready for her when she comes again.

And Deidre better watch her back.

*Deidre Smith is a make-believe name for a real-life monster.

Please, if your gut is telling you something isn't right with your little one... seek external help. Follow the links in this blog or contact your state government department listed here.

"the world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil
than from those who actually commit it"


  1. I think we need to stop believing that pedophiles are a small percentage of the population. The sooner we realise how common pedophilia is; the sooner we'll realise that we all know at least one pedophile. I estimate that about 20 to 30% of the population are pedophiles based on the percentage of people that I know have been affected by pedophilia. Yep, that's at least 1 in 5 people that you need to look out for. They're everywhere.

    1. Thanks for your comment Anonymous. Though terrifying, as a parent I believe it is my duty to be ever aware and vigilant. I hate that I was able to write on the topic with such intimate knowledge but that is the reality of many people and, as you rightly say, the sooner we realise how common paedophilia is - the better xx

  2. I'm so sorry for what happened to your friend's children. That is horrific and unforgivable. It's a real fear I have, for my children. What we can do is to educate them, to tell them what is right and wrong, when it comes to being with adults. The world is a scary place.

    1. Thanks Alison. I'm sorry too :( The world IS a scary place and education/awareness, for our children AND for us too, is the key to protection.