In and out of court every year, four different judges and four different attorneys, $50,000.00 in fees and 15 years of time. Over the years, visitation had evolved into a regular every-other-weekend schedule.
"Mom, I am not going back." No longer a boy with eyelashes so long you could sweep the floor with them, the 6 foot tall young man with a deep voice and broad shoulders wrapped his arms around her from behind and squeezed her tight. Within the grip, his mom wondered where all the time had gone. A gentle kiss on her cheek and one more whisper in her right ear: "No matter what, I am not going back to that man's house." His mom continued to wash the dishes that were in the sink while he turned and walked away to meet some friends to shoot hoops.
Abuse. It had found him. All the years she worked to keep communication open were in vain. All those years she believed, or maybe it was hoped, she could help her son beat the statistics.
In most abuse cases, children do not talk, and when they do talk, statistics report they are telling the absolute truth 92% of the time. Her son proved to be no exception.
For years, his birth father had been using control tactics with him. When the boy would disagree with a behavior or an action, he wouldn't be fed for the rest of the day....or worse, his birth father would race down the highway at speeds over 100 mph threatening to wreck and kill them both. In addition, the abuser would give the boy a good karate chop in the throat to bring him to his knees and would routinely force him to the floor, laying on top of him making breathing difficult, in order to punish what he considered "bad behavior" such as when the boy requested to go to a friend's birthday party during a regularly scheduled weekend
Perhaps the mother should have noticed signs. For instance, when her son stopped asking to reschedule weekends with his birth father to make a social activity. Was it that she did not want to see the signs or was the boy that good at creating a "cover"?
When he finally opened up and told his mother the multitude of abuses he had endured, she thought she would die. The knot that formed in her chest that day made a home within her and faithfully serves as a reminder whenever she looks into the large brown puppy dog eyes of her son or catches the gleam of his smile with a dimple on his left cheek. She has named the knot, her nemisis, "guilt"and allows the pain to strengthen her resolve to protect her child.
Histerically: "Why didn't you tell me?"....."I tried to keep open communication with you and thought you would feel comfortable to tell me anything"......"Why did you hide the abuse?"
His response is what still brings a flood of tears to her eyes to this day. She was seated on the edge of her bed when he told her he needed to speak with her about something very important. Upon hearing the tone of his voice, something inside her warned the news she was about to hear was going to be big. Her heart began to race and her hair felt as if it were standing on ends. Standing in the doorway of her bedroom wringing his hands, with voice shaking, her son told her the news. When he saw his mother begin to cry, with composure, he turned and closed the door behind him, walked over to where she was sitting and knelt at her feet with his head bowed. Leaning his head forward upon her knee, he explained: "I wanted to tell you so many times, but I didn't want to hurt you, Mom. I knew there was nothing you could do about it, so I thought it was something I had to endure on my own."
She bent over and placed her head on his and they cried and cried. As each tear flowed from her son's eyes, he released years of pent-up secrets. The secrets had given the abuser power, and as each tear fell, that power was literally sucked back from birth father and placed into son. As for mom, the tears that fell that day were tears of regret and sorrow. She knew her son was correct. If he had had admitted the abuse, the abuser would have conveniently called him a liar and denied every charge. It would have angered the abuser even more; and as a result, the abuse probably would have escalated.
The fateful moment her son finally told the full story, he made a decision he would never return to visit his birth father again. The relationship, broken and battered, was finally over and behind him. This time, his birth father had gone too far and had threatened him; the threat was so sincere, her son believed his birth father might be capable of killing him. In addition, he believed his mother could be in danger as well.
On that day, two sets of heels were dug deep into the earth. One set of heels were those of a teenage boy fast becoming a man who was determined that he had rights that protected him from being abused....the other heels of an abuser who was just as determined his son was legally responsible to visit him, and if he refused, the abuser would make sure his son spent time in Juvenile Hall and his mother in an empty jail cell for contempt of court. One set of heels dug deep for the cause of freedom.....the others dug just as deep for a cause called: "control".
What if I told you this is still not the end of the story?