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How would you handle this? *maybe triggery?*

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 

Dh and I are faced with a difficult situation and could use an outside perspective. We're so close we can't tell if the ideas we're discussing are over reactions, under reactions, or what.

 

Ds is 13. He will be 14 in about a month. Up until last week, he had never kissed a girl, or really had much interest in doing so. He tends to be a little oblivious to such concepts, still. He is enrolled in an online high school as an incoming freshman. This is a public school. Every year, the school has an end of summer camping trip for high school students. It lasts 4 days, 3 nights. Families can come with and camps separately, but most students come alone. We were having transportation issues and ds was very anxious for some independence, so we sent him on his own. He flies alone to visit family across the US, so this was not his first time away from us or anything. The parent volunteer in charge of the camping trip connected us with a local family for ds to ride with. I took the extra step of meeting them ahead of time before entrusting my son to their care. They seemed like a really sweet family. Their child was a very quiet 16yr old girl that basically never looked up from her phone the whole time.

 

They were leaving early in the morning so we dropped ds off the evening before and he slept on their couch. We didn't know, but a 17 (will be 18 the day before ds turns 14) yr old girl was dropped off after ds. The kids were not monitored and the girls spent much of the night sexually harassing ds and trying to coerce him into sexual activities. By the time they left for the camping trip, ds had seen both of them topless, had his first kiss (he's not even sure with which one, as a lot happened with both), and been thoroughly groped. Things only escalated from there. By the end of the camping trip, he had showered naked with both girls alone and at the same time, and quite a lot had happened. There was no oral sex or intercourse, but that's about where the line was drawn. Most of the activity was initiated by the 17yr old. There was also another boy being treated the same way, but with most activity initiated by the 16yr old girl. That boy is 15, and ds was led to believe they began pursuing the other boy when he was around 13 and this kind of thing happens with them very regularly at school events and when the parents allow the kids to spend time together unattended otherwise. 

 

Ds is very confused about what his part in all this was. He started off being shocked and scared and clearly saying no and pushing the girls away. Eventually, he was only saying no to more extreme acts but participating without coersion. He feels guilty and powerless. What transpired was a mixture of him making choices he deeply regrets, and these girls coercing or sometimes physically forcing unwanted acts on him. Both consensual and non-consensual acts - neither of which can be proven. However they began years ago, the acts with the other boy are entirely consensual now. 

 

The only one thing dh and I are sure of and agree on right now is that

1) ds needs to see a therapist asap

2) that he needs to be isolated socially from this group of kids

3) that neither kid will be going to any future school activities without dh or I present

 We are brand new to the state and not familiar with local resources. So, we are going to meet with a church leader (hopefully today) about getting a referral to a therapist through the church. The church will most likely help cover the costs, as well. We're not super fundamentalist or anything though - so don't worry that ds is going to be told he's going to hell or something. 

 

Other ideas that have been discussed are

1) reporting the incident to the school

2) reporting the incident to the police/cps

3) discussing the incident with the other children's parents

4) avoiding all contact with the other children's parents

5) moving to a different part of the state (would involve breaking our lease, but we could pull it off. Ds would not have to face these kids at school events 4+ hours away, and honestly neither kid is making friends here because they can't find many kids that don't spend their spare time harming themselves or others)

6) doing right by all the kids involved vs. keeping our heads down, mouths shut, and taking care of our own without regard for others

 

Ideas and input are welcome.

post #2 of 79

I have to be honest... I would likey pull my kid from this school and enroll him locally (seriously - this is more extreme than anything either of my kids dealt with in public school). And yes, I would let the school know why you have withdrawn your son.

 

I would likely ask the other parents "what the hell?"

 

Cops, CPS? Will likely require more proof than your son said it happened.

post #3 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by incorrigible View Post


Other ideas that have been discussed are

1) reporting the incident to the school

2) reporting the incident to the police/cps

3) discussing the incident with the other children's parents

4) avoiding all contact with the other children's parents

5) moving to a different part of the state (would involve breaking our lease, but we could pull it off. Ds would not have to face these kids at school events 4+ hours away, and honestly neither kid is making friends here because they can't find many kids that don't spend their spare time harming themselves or others)

6) doing right by all the kids involved vs. keeping our heads down, mouths shut, and taking care of our own without regard for others

 

Ideas and input are welcome.

 

 

I'd think reporting to the school administration, the board of the school (which is separate and may not know what is going on) and the police are the right steps. The school is required by law to report this, but they may not, so I would.

 

I'm on the board of school. This is extremely serious. Taking appropriate actions can help protect other children. I wouldn't bother with the other parents because their responses are pretty much wild cards.

post #4 of 79

Ooh, I am so, so sorry your son had to experience this! greensad.gif

 

I, like the others, would definitely report this. Both to the school and to the police. These girls are abusing young boys!!

 

Big, big hugs to you all! hug2.gif
 

post #5 of 79

I would not go to the police, cps or anything like that.  That is overreacting, imo.

 

I would go to the school & the school board.  With the police, cps & the school/board it will be your dh's word against theirs(and they will most likely deny it or say your DS/the other boy initiated it.

 

However I would want to know why these kids were not supervised during this(and previous) camping trips.  How was your son able to shower alone with both girls plus do other stuff with them, and these girls do it to at least 1 other boy.  Where were the adults?

 

My dd is the same age as your son(14 in nov) & has been going to a summer camp for 3 years now. The kids at this camp are aged from 9-18 with some of the young adults there too.  The boys stay in 1 dorm, the girls in another.   Boys are not allowed in the girls dorm & the girls are not allowed in the boys dorm. They have had some of the younger boys staying in the basement(dorm rooms still) in the girls dorm but they are not allowed on the girls floors & vice versa.  there are people supervising to make sure the kids stick to these rules.

post #6 of 79
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your input. I just found all this out late last night, and dh and I are still processing and discussing. We can't contact the school until Monday morning, so there isn't a lot we can do right now. We have a meeting with a church leader to get set up with a referral for a therapist after church tomorrow. Ds is really having a rough day and I feel so bad for him. =(

 

Carrie, that's the kind of supervision we are used to at organized events and were led to believe would be offered on the camping trip. I'm astounded that they would encourage new families to send their children to this alone, then allow something like this to happen!

post #7 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post

I would not go to the police, cps or anything like that.  That is overreacting, imo.

 

 

 

When any person is sexually assaulted, calling the police is the appropriate thing to do. The OPer's son was sexually assaulted repeatedly.

 

Also, the police and the school board need to know if there is a pattern of lack of supervision at the school that makes it unsafe for students. Students have a right to be safe at school (and all school events). This is a matter of public trust, both at public schools and at private schools. This is a police matter.

 

The school is required by law to report this, but because they ALLOW this pattern to continue, I wouldn't trust them to do so.

 

Incorrigible, I'm so sorry for what your son has been and for what your family is going through right now. I think you and your DH are handling a very difficult situation as well as possible.

post #8 of 79
This will probably be an un popular answer, but I think for the sake of his mental health and his current and future attitude about sex, it might be best to minimize your reaction. I would not go to the police, but definitely would talk to the other parents and would talk to the school/camp about the lack of supervision.. I have two teenagers, and I would be very upset if this happened to either of them, too, but I feel like how you respond will make a powerful difference in how he processes this, for a long time to come. Though sexual play is normal for adolescents, it sounds like this was quite a bit more than simple flirting. These girls sound very aggressive, and they need to be talked to about their behavior, and they need to be taught some healthy boundaries. I just feel that responding too strongly might make things even worse for your son. You said that at first he was coerced but then began acting on his own- I imagine he has very mixed feelings about what happened and is very confused. Having to work that won't with a therapist (unless the already have an established relationship where your son feels safe) might be even more traumatic. He may just need some reassurance that all the feelings he has been having (negative and otherwise) are normal, and that his parents are addressing the situation with the girls' parents..
post #9 of 79

It would be easy for a lot of people to minimize this because the attackers were girls and the victim was a boy. But there is a huge difference between sexual abuse and sexual exploration, and it's about power. DS is younger, he's the new kid, he's inexperienced with sex, and he was outnumbered. No-one who is just learning about how sex works should be left with the impression that coercion or force are part of sex. What happened to him was sexual assault, and you need to treat it like sexual assault. He may feel guilty because he went along with what they wanted, but that was just a way to get through the situation. I don't know if calling the police would expose him to a humiliating round of "questioning" that so many rape victims are subjected to. That might traumatize him even more, especially since there's a good chance he won't be taken seriously. Still, they sexually assaulted him, have done it to others in the past, and will probably do it again. Just because they are girls, that doesn't make it ok for them to molest younger kids. Give the older girl a couple more months and she will go to jail for what she's doing, and spend the rest of her life having to register her address with the police.

 

Sorry, I really don't know what to do either, besides getting him the help he needs. I just feel badly if these girls are never stopped because no-one feels like they have enough proof to call the police. I think your ds' word is enough to at least get an investigation going- maybe that would scare them if nothing else.

 

Have you asked him what he would like to do about it?

post #10 of 79
I would file a complaint and request a restraining order with the police. I would demand better supervision from the school or if your son wants to move I would do that and report why you are moving to the school board. I wouldn't tell the girl's parents because that will give them time to form a cover story if you do go to the police. I suggest reporting this ASAP.
post #11 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennyanydots View Post

 I feel like how you respond will make a powerful difference in how he processes this, for a long time to come.

 

 

I know a lot of people who were sexually assaulted before they were adults (partly because I'm fairly open about being sexually assaulted when I was 10). For those who managed to tell their parents (most don't) none found being minimized helpful.

 

Pretending that this isn't a big will not help.

 

This is a big deal. He said no repeatedly was pushed into sexual acts. This is a big deal. He deserves to have help and healing, just as a girl or woman would need after days of being sexually molested.

post #12 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

 

When any person is sexually assaulted, calling the police is the appropriate thing to do. The OPer's son was sexually assaulted repeatedly.

 

Also, the police and the school board need to know if there is a pattern of lack of supervision at the school that makes it unsafe for students. Students have a right to be safe at school (and all school events). This is a matter of public trust, both at public schools and at private schools. This is a police matter.

 

The school is required by law to report this, but because they ALLOW this pattern to continue, I wouldn't trust them to do so.

 

Incorrigible, I'm so sorry for what your son has been and for what your family is going through right now. I think you and your DH are handling a very difficult situation as well as possible.

I agree, I feel like no one would hesitate if this were two 16 & 17 year old boys sexually assaulting a 13 year old girl. The idea of anyone not calling the police would be absurd. Why would it be any different this way?

post #13 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennyanydots View Post

This will probably be an un popular answer, but I think for the sake of his mental health and his current and future attitude about sex, it might be best to minimize your reaction. I would not go to the police, but definitely would talk to the other parents and would talk to the school/camp about the lack of supervision.. I have two teenagers, and I would be very upset if this happened to either of them, too, but I feel like how you respond will make a powerful difference in how he processes this, for a long time to come. Though sexual play is normal for adolescents, it sounds like this was quite a bit more than simple flirting. These girls sound very aggressive, and they need to be talked to about their behavior, and they need to be taught some healthy boundaries. I just feel that responding too strongly might make things even worse for your son. You said that at first he was coerced but then began acting on his own- I imagine he has very mixed feelings about what happened and is very confused. Having to work that won't with a therapist (unless the already have an established relationship where your son feels safe) might be even more traumatic. He may just need some reassurance that all the feelings he has been having (negative and otherwise) are normal, and that his parents are addressing the situation with the girls' parents..

I really agree with this.  It might be hard to separate your reactions from his.  He likely does have a lot of conflicting feelings, and may say things he thinks he should say or you want to hear?  I have no doubt that he has regrets for parts that he was pushed into, and the girls do sound aggressive - but he is at the age when sexual exploration starts.  If he wants to see a counselor, I'd do that.  If he doesn't, I wouldn't force him to.  I wouldn't involve police, CPS or the school as I think that could make things worse for your child.  As parents, I'd follow his lead while trying to keep my cool as much as possible.  Moving seems way over-reacting to me.  I am confused as to how/when he'd see the girls - it is an online program or public school?  I also think that there is a lot of difference between a 10 year old and a freshman in high school.  I'm glad it didn't go past the line that you mentioned in your original post, and now both you and he have new knowledge about what your comfort levels are for new situations.  I'd let it settle for a few days and proceed from there based on his requests - "how are you feeling about what happened at camp?" vs. yes or no questions.  I do agree with Jennyanydots that your reactions to this can affect how he processes it, and how it affects him long term.

post #14 of 79
Thread Starter 

Kirsten - This is a PUBLIC SCHOOL that uses a variety of distance and in person learning programs. Ds's actual classes are online, which doesn't matter because these girls are much older and in different classes anyway. They also have access to him on the school message boards (where participation is mandatory and a part of your grade), and through the school's private mail system. The social and enrichment programs are a mixture of in person and online, and at least one of these girls is in every non-academic program. The school programs are their only social outlets. They participate in these heavily. That means that if he does anything more than attend classes, he will have to interact with his abusers. And lets be clear here that a 16 or 17 year old that forces and/or coerces a 13 year old into unwanted sexual activity is a sexual predator and abuser. That's not a debatable fact. It's also completely unacceptable to ever say that an abuse victim asking for help is only doing so because they think that's what someone wants to hear.

 

Thank you all for the opinions. Things are far from over, but I think I have a workable game plan. I can see that this thread is going to become a debate (hopefully an intelligent debate, instead of a heated one! lol). So, I'm not going to visit it much after this post. You all are welcome to debate the social issues surrounding our problems, but it wouldn't be good for me emotionally if I were to participate. I need to keep a calm head about these matters.

 

Ds just wants to live his life without fear. He's willing to take whatever actions needed to never have to see, hear from, or otherwise acknowledge these girls again. He also wants to make sure people in authority know how these girls behave so they can't do this kind of thing to someone else. The more his experiences and feelings come to the light, the more it seems he was trying to rationalize what happened by telling himself some of it was consensual. There was not a single interaction initiated by him, and his initial reaction was generally to say no or try to push them away. He was classifying "not continuing to push them away and say no for every second" as "agreeing". We're doing what we can to include him in the process where it is empowering and not further traumatizing. (more discussing options and making decisions together with him...but avoiding making him tell personal details to strangers. you get the idea)

 

As it stands:

- I strongly disagree with the idea that boys don't have the right to say no, or are incapable of wanting to say no. 

- I also strongly disagree with the idea that boys rights are not important enough to stand up for. 

- I do agree that how we handle this will shape my son's ideas about sexuality, power, and interpersonal relationships for life. Dh and I are showing him with our actions that it is never acceptable for anyone to be treated the way he was treated. Our goal is that he will never accept or imitate this kind of behavior in the future.

- Our church has offered to pay for ds's therapy. We have a referral to a group of child and family therapists who specialize in domestic violence and other common traumas. Ds will be able to choose which one he is most comfortable seeing. With his past traumas, he's very familiar and comfortable with the idea that a therapist is someone we hire to help us work through and understand our more complicated feelings. I'll be calling them tomorrow and expect he will have an appointment sometime this week.

- I will be calling the school tomorrow morning to report this. It is important that they know 1) the lack of supervision and 2) that there are sexual predators using their events to find victims. The older girl will be 18 in 2 weeks. Even if the other victim is no longer trying to protect himself, engaging in these behaviors will be a felony at that point. 

- I cannot take out any kind of protective order on a minor in this state. In 2 weeks, when the older girl turns 18, I can take one out against her on ds's behalf. She was the primary instigator against ds. If she attempts to contact him or there is any threat of continued contact - I will do so at that time.

- I contacted an abuse hotline for our area for advice too. Because there was no penetration and there is no evidence beyond racy (underwear, not nude) pictures and text message sent to my son by these girls, CPS will not assign a caseworker and the police will not pursue the matter even if I want them to. I did this while he wasn't home, and won't be telling him. He doesn't need to feel any more helpless. He needs to be able to take actions and make choices and stand up for his rights. 

- Dh and I have decided on what minimum actions we are willing to accept the school taking to protect ds from future contact. I'm willing to play hardball a little bit to make these things happen, but shouldn't have to. I think we've come up with a plan that would be acceptable even to someone that believes boys can't say no. A public school should be willing to take some simple actions to reduce the ability of younger sexually active students to access each other on campus. These are the kind of actions we expect.

- If the school administration has a surprisingly bad reaction of some kind, we will of course remove our kids. At that point, I will start taking action against the school administration. I would be very shocked if it got that bad though. This school is still pretty controversial locally, and they are unlikely to take a strong stance against someone willing to rock the boat. The fact that I won't back down should be enough for them to work with us toward a fair solution. We are not going to remove ds from a program that's so perfect for him in order to make it more convenient for a sexual predator to access other children, though. He isn't getting punished for her actions. 

- We're also taking actions on our own. These kids keep making harassing texts and calls to ds. So, we deleted his phone's history and all saved info that related to them - and changed his phone number. We also deleted his facebook account outright. It's not been a particularly positive program for him anyway, and he doesn't need the temptation to see if they're still posting things about him. 

 

As for moving. This is only a temporary residence for us. I mentioned we are new to the state. This was a comfortable place to land while we decided where we want to live. We had found the area we want to live in - before any of this happened. It's in another part of the state - a good 4 - 6 hour drive from here! (depending on weather and traffic) We are just waiting until our lease is up to move. If we give the management notice before doing so, there are no serious consequences for breaking our lease. We will just forfeit most of our deposit. DH and I have decided to start looking for a place to move. We're not putting a rush on it, but are actively looking for the just right place. If we find it before our lease is up, then we will break the lease. We have 2 more moves left in our foreseeable future. This one is to a comfortable home, near our acreage, while we spend a few years building our dream home (mostly ourselves). The next will be into that home. While we live here, ds will likely be unable to attend most of the in person enrichment and social activities without facing harassment and/or shame for standing up for himself. In our next location, he will be building real roots in the community and it's a community these girls aren't part of. The kids will have the same school, teachers, and classes. They will just have their social and enrichment activities with a different group of kids. We can make sure to heavily monitor these events, so even if there are more predators ds won't be an easy target again. Our entire household is comfortable with this game plan. Ds's relief is practically tangible, since we formed it. He has become very sensitive to the attentions of girls though, and wants to drop off the MMA team he trains with (lots of wrestling, and the girls always ask for him as a partner because he's basically unaware they are any different than boys), and hyper focus on academics (the girls that victimized him are not very studious and in remedial programs) and church activities. I hurt for him, and I'm angry for him, but I'm just keeping myself cerebral and logical. 

post #15 of 79

FWIW, I think you are doing the absolute right things.

post #16 of 79

yeah im shocked in general just based on the thought that is the male/female roles were reversed this thread would have a very different tone. that is infuriating to me and truly shocking. 

 

 

i few random thoughts from a girl that put a predator away in prison for what he did to me when i was 12:

 

  • minimizing it is a horrific betrayal  of your child's trust, so is leading them into a version of the story that you want to hear. it is a nearly impossible line to walk as a emotional parent
  • you can normal sex and be sex positive while still having a strong harsh reaction to the misuse of sex as power. sexual assaults are not about sex, they are about power and manipulation, if you explain that first and separate the two things as much as possible, it is then easier to show someone how one is always bad and the other can be a beautiful thing in the right time and place.
  • there is no difference what so ever if the victim is a boy, if anything it may even be slightly harder on them, since they have been told by society that they are always supposed to be the strong one. all reactions you have should be the same for either sex.
  • victims, even if they don't mean it will start to have there memories shift and change, the story never stays the same, this is not about lying, it is just how the brain works. best to get the whole story out as fast and you can and recorded or witnessed by an official person. long repetitive taking about it will hurt the memories. counseling is probably best after the police report, not before it.

 

good luck, i feel for you and your son, this is hard. you sound like you care very much and are thinking about this very carefully, you will all get thru this. 

post #17 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

I agree, I feel like no one would hesitate if this were two 16 & 17 year old boys sexually assaulting a 13 year old girl. The idea of anyone not calling the police would be absurd. Why would it be any different this way?

This exactly was my first reaction.  I assume your hesitation is based on making your ds even more uncomfortable/upset by what happened and I understand that completely.  I can imagine it is even harder for a boy to talk about something like this because he may feel like he was "supposed" to like it.  I am so glad for him that he has a relationship with you that he felt he could come home and tell you what happened. 

post #18 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

FWIW, I think you are doing the absolute right things.

Me too. . . you have a good game plan.  I hope everything works out and your son is able to heal and move on.  

 

Amy

post #19 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post
 I am so glad for him that he has a relationship with you that he felt he could come home and tell you what happened. 

 

 

yeahthat.gif  It says a lot about the relationship you have built with your son up til now, and the level of trust he has in you.

post #20 of 79

In response to the bolded - are you kidding me???  Overreacting?  What if this was a 13 (almost 14) year old girl and a 17 year old boy??  Just because the boy was the victim doesn't mean it is still not sexual assault and a crime.  According to the boy he said no.  No means no.  PERIOD.  I would go to the police.  Otherwise you are telling your son it is okay for him to be victimized because he is a boy.  I cannot believe people think that it is overreacting to go to the police! 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post

I would not go to the police, cps or anything like that.  That is overreacting, imo.

 

I would go to the school & the school board.  With the police, cps & the school/board it will be your dh's word against theirs(and they will most likely deny it or say your DS/the other boy initiated it.

 

However I would want to know why these kids were not supervised during this(and previous) camping trips.  How was your son able to shower alone with both girls plus do other stuff with them, and these girls do it to at least 1 other boy.  Where were the adults?

 

My dd is the same age as your son(14 in nov) & has been going to a summer camp for 3 years now. The kids at this camp are aged from 9-18 with some of the young adults there too.  The boys stay in 1 dorm, the girls in another.   Boys are not allowed in the girls dorm & the girls are not allowed in the boys dorm. They have had some of the younger boys staying in the basement(dorm rooms still) in the girls dorm but they are not allowed on the girls floors & vice versa.  there are people supervising to make sure the kids stick to these rules.

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