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when the need to protect stops being hypothetical. - Page 4

post #61 of 71
I haven't read through all of the responses, but I feel a need to reply. I am in your exact situation. Except, the boy is my brother and he's 19, not 17.

Clearly, I don't have the whole picture, so I'm probably going to be making a few assumptions, but bear with me...

My brother S has Downs. He is 19, but functions on about a 6-7 year old level for most things, a few things he's a little higher...maybe a 8 or a 9 year old. I'm 9 years older than him, so I was married and had kids while he was still very young. S began hitting puberty about 9-10 year old. Sadly, while delayed in nearly all other areas, it's not uncommon for a child with Downs to enter puberty earlier than 'normal.'

Despite being told from very early on to treat him as you would any child, my mother has not done that. At 19 she still fixes his plate for him, cuts his food, etc. She is convinced he is not capable of doing these things, even though it's clear to the rest of us he could. Sadly, this need to 'baby him' transferred over into sexuality issues when S hit puberty. She didn't have the "birds and the bees" talk with him. She would tell him to stop, but not explain why, or give him an alternative when he would 'hump' his stuffed animals in the living room while watching t.v. She's also very religious, so she considers masturbation sinful, so while saying, "that's something you should do in private" probably would have helped a lot, she would simply tell him to stop.

This has led to an overly sexual teenager. When I was pregnant with my first son, he came up and hugged me and kissed me on my breast. I yelled at him, and pushed him back, and my mother yelled at ME for getting upset with him. She has this deep-seeded need to protect his feelings from everyone, even when he is seriously in the wrong.

It's well known within my family (aside from my mother) that he has problems with boundaries. He's affectionate to a fault; hugs too long, kisses too much, stares inappropriately, etc. He's also aware enough to know my mother will let him get away with things, and will be sneaky and manipulative. HOWEVER...He is NOT being sneaky because he is a predator. He's being sneaky because he simply views these behaviors as something he KNOWS is wrong, but knows he can get away with, NOT because he's trying to get my child alone so he can molest him. Think of it as a 'normal' child sneaking into an R rated movie, or eating the entire package of cookies and lying about it. He knows it's wrong...but he doesn't equate it as being any MORE wrong than something like that. We had an incident a few months ago, similar to what you went through, except it was my oldest son. They got out of our site for 2 minutes, and my husband found S and my son in the bedroom, and my son had his pajama pants off. He was sitting in one chair, and S was sitting in another, and my son was adament that nothing had happened. But...it was enough to shake me to my core. I had a frank discussion with my mother, but it changed nothing.

So, we've had to take protective measures. I have explained to my oldest, in very clear language that he is NOT to be alone with S. We make sure that someone is in the room with S all the time. I make sure I change my toddlers diapers in a different room. Tickling is off limits, as is sitting on S's lap. My job is to protect my kids, and while I won't cut him off, I am on high alert when he is around my children. I've also made sure that they know to be very loud and vocal if S begins to make them uncomfortable.

Anyway...Sorry to have rambled for so long. I just know exactly how you're feeling. Even though I'm positive nothing happened, I felt shell-shocked and terrified at how close it may have come to happening. It's scary, and makes you feel powerless. I'm terribly sorry that you're going through this, and that your daughter experienced what she did. If you want to PM me, you're welcome to. It's something we've been dealing with for several years now.
post #62 of 71
The fact that he has enough awareness of the inappropriate behavior to initiate it behind closed doors, alone with the OP's child, is predatory behavior, regardless of the age of the person in question.

I hope you and your DH are able to have a straightforward conversation with your BIL's caretakers regarding this behavior, in order to protect other children.

He's not a monster because he has DS. But he's not NOT a monster because he has DS either. The concerning behavior is irrelevant to the DS dx, and as a legal adult he can and will be held accountable if it continues.
post #63 of 71
Thread Starter 
I continue to feel so glad I posted, and I'm not sure why I ever hesitated.

Jen and Sierra, your posts, coming from places pf experience and understanding, are unbelievably helpful. I feel like I hit the jackpot. Thank you so, so much for taking the time.

Jen, there is a huge amount of resonance for me in what you wrote, right down to MIL's attitude (though there are some differences) and your brother's response to it. All very familiar.

My dh and I are reading all the responses and will be sitting down together to have a big discussion in the next couple of days.

I think that, probably, what makes us both the most anxious is figuring out what to say to MIL. She and dh have a history of beating around the bush and struggling to communicate, even about lesser issues and lesser decisions. I'm speaking out of turn here, but I'm willing to bet that dh is pretty nervous about what to say, and how to say it.

But this thread has given us so much to work with, and will be a huge help when we sit down to figure all of that out.

Please keep the thoughts coming, if you have them!
post #64 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I'm not dismissing this at all, but how did he repeatedly try to rape you? Was he not being supervised by your mom? There's a big difference between allowing a relationship, and allowing a relationship without supervision.
Because I lived in extreme poverty and when you live in extreme poverty there is not always the luxury of having an adult with free time to stand guard.
post #65 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
Because I lived in extreme poverty and when you live in extreme poverty there is not always the luxury of having an adult with free time to stand guard.
Just for you.
post #66 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
Because I lived in extreme poverty and when you live in extreme poverty there is not always the luxury of having an adult with free time to stand guard.
If you mom couldn't stand guard, then I can't even begin to imagine why she thought she should try to foster the relationship. I also don't see what this has to do with the OP, honestly. She's not in the position of choosing whether or not to let her BIL be alone with her dd.


What a nightmarish situation. I'm so sorry.
post #67 of 71
Thread Starter 
Sending out to all those who have personal experience with the pain of abuse. Your courageous willingness to speak out helps mamas like me to have the strength to do what is necessary to protect our children from this fate.
post #68 of 71
I have no advice, but wishing you the best. And job well done in looking out. Just the idea of being on such high alert during a family visit makes me feel stress.

post #69 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
If you mom couldn't stand guard, then I can't even begin to imagine why she thought she should try to foster the relationship. I also don't see what this has to do with the OP, honestly. She's not in the position of choosing whether or not to let her BIL be alone with her dd.


What a nightmarish situation. I'm so sorry.
I waited a day to respond to this so that I could be polite. You are entitled to think that it doesn't apply, but your opinion is not the universal correct one. The OP thought she was ensuring that her daughter would never be alone with BIL and only managed to just barely arrive in time to stop something. When people believe that through simple vigilance they can completely protect their children I think they are praying for luck. There will always be moments when unprotected contact happens. That is life. You may believe that someone (any mother anywhere on the planet) can be 100% vigilant but I don't. We are humans.
post #70 of 71
NM...this is just not going to come out right.
post #71 of 71
I coach for Special Olympics.
I bring my 5 and 7 year old daughters. My 7yo speaks up when she feels uncomfortable. She has that personality. My yo doesn't. One of the athletes who has DS asked A to sit on his lap. She said no thank you. He then asked R to sit on his knee. She wandered over and I watched closely. He was just bouncing around. She looked uncomfortable so I asked her to come by me. On the ride home I asked how she felt about what happened. She said she didn't like it. It was a great opportunity for me to have a good talk with her. I explained to her that it is ok to say no. You can say No thank you in a nice way. If something makes you uncomfortable it is not rude to say no. The talk went more in depth and the next wk he asked her to sit on his knee again. I waited to see what her response would be. She said No thank you and moved closer to me. I was so proud of her for speaking up instead of being worried about hurting his feelings. I explained to her that if she ever feels uncomfortable around him or any of the other athletes she can blink in a certain way and I will help her out of the situation without embarrassing her. I would never allow my children alone with them. I do not turn my back at all unless they are safely on the other side of me. That one athlete is inappropriate with them but doesn't understand. The other athletes that have DS have told him to stop because it is not ok. So I think it depends on their level of understanding. He says thinks like he loves her. I explain on the way home that he is different and why he is different. She is learning a lot through this. She is learning to stand up for herself with the comfort of mom being there. She is learning about people with disabilities. I always give her the choice whether she wants to go or not. She always wants to come and play so I allow it. It is funny because me other daughter has no problem saying Not a chance. lol.
If I were you, I would still visit but ALWAYS be right there because your BIL does not understand proper boundaries. I would also explain this somewhat to your daughter and equip her with the right words and actions if a situation arises.
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