Yesterday I was crazed, swamped with work I’d put off all weekend, trying to carve out a spot in the afternoon to write here. Because although I write for a living, writing HERE is what keeps me sane and grounded (despite periodic exclamation-point-riddled evidence to the contrary).
But then my work day got cut short, because Chickadee—who has been doing her very best recently to make me reconsider selling her to the circus—texted me from school. During school. Which was weird. And it got weirder. And my baby wasn’t okay, and despite weeks of clashing wills and shrill shrieking about how I am the worst mother ever, when all was said and done last night, my nearly-as-tall-as-I-am teenager curled up in my lap and hugged me hard and whispered, “Thank you,” because when push came to shove, she knew that Mama had her back. Because I do, always.
Now I’m left waiting to see what happens next, and fairly vibrating with rage in the meantime. Until we reach a conclusion here, all I feel comfortable saying is that some situations call for a righteous anger, and I will do my damndest to teach my daughter that if someone tries to shame her for someone else’s actions, she has the right to get good and pissed.
(I shared this over at Off Our Chests because I wanted to make sure other teenagers see it. But this is one I hope you’ll click through to read, especially if you have kids.)
OMG!! Both of you have EVERY right to be mad! Good for you for standing by her during this. I am floored that happened to her. I hope the kid is punished and I hope she realizes her true friends will stand behind her!
Please let Chickadee know that there are a lot of people who are VERY proud of her for getting mad and not being quiet about this. I wish I could give her a hug without being creepy – “Mom? Who is this crazy woman we don’t know who’s patting my hair and telling me that she’s proud of me????” – but I’d be honored if you’d give her a hug, knowing that it’s coming from all of us proud women out here.
Poor chick – it’s a hard enough age…
Good for you MIR! I to was harrassed in school. It was so upsetting and my parents were very supportive. I was also in Chickies situation where my friends got mad at me. It was the “cool” boys that got in trouble and how DARE I get them in trouble for just teasing me. They were just kidding dont you know. It was and is something that will stay with me forever and makes me sleep a little less every night when I think that my little Minion could possibly experience that as well. I want to shield her from all things that are icky and scary in the world. I am fooling myself I know, but I have hope! :) Kids are down right mean. I only hope that the parents of the children that upset Chickie realize that what their children did was wrong. That was not so in my case, the father actually congratulated one child for the comments he made. You know because they were so “funny”. Snuggle her a little extra close tonight. I know little minion and I will be!
I tell my kiddos that abuse/mistreatment is one of those situations that fighting and/or swearing were made for.
I love how you are standing up for her, and I love LOVE LOVE that she risked punishment by texting you during school. She is learning well. What a wonderful woman she’s going to grow up to be.
Good for you for telling her to get angry. She probably doesn’t believe this now, but she’s going to be a hell of a lot stronger for having handled it this way and learning to stand up for herself early!
Reading your article made me think of the Sandusky interview last night. He says he was just “horsing around” with those little boys. At what point does just playing around turn in to harassment or abuse in the perpetrator’s mind? It seems it is not nearly soon enough.
Our next door neighbor was recently arrested for and admitted to sexual assault and molestation of young family members. He had a wife and two step daughters living with him. My girls would play with his girls, mostly here but sometimes at their house. It was a terrible conversation to have to ask my kids about their interactions with the dad and explain why. He is being held on multiple charges, including capital sexual battery on a victim under 1 YOA. He *raped* a BABY. It will be a death penalty case. This man lived next door to us for years and we all thought he was a really nice guy. It makes me physically ill to think about what could have happened to my children and what did happen to his.
What an awful thing it is to have to prepare our children for such awful scenarios. I’m so glad your daughter was able to see through her teenagerness and ask for help when she needed it, and that you were able to give her what she needs to feel safe and protected.
You are an awesome mom! Poor Chickie – no one should have to endure sexual harassment. And it is a crucial lesson for us to teach our kiddos to stand up for themselves. On the way to preschool this morning, my not-yet-4-YO and I practiced yelling “NO!” – because he has two bullies in this class who have made him their target.
It can be creepy, but I hope that Chickie knows that she – and you – have a lot of loyal readers in your corner. Just think of us as your Growling Choir.
Well Done Mama Bear. Tell to be Angry and Loud… because unless she tells, the perpatrator will do it again to someone else who might not be as strong.
I’m sorry your daughter is experiencing this. I’m glad that she has a strong Momma Bear to help her through.
I’m also glad you’re teaching her to stand up for herself. My school growing up had a no tolerance policy — which basically taught kids not to fight back. My mom always disagreed with that and told me to ALWAYS stand up for myself. I’m glad you’re teaching Chickadee the same thing. I’m sending thoughts of strength to both of you.
HOLY HELL. Oh, there is more than enough righteous anger to go around right now. I am royally pissed off on Chickadee’s behalf, and on yours. I speak from personal experience when I say there is nothing worse than being subjected to ANY kind of sexual harassment or abuse and being made to feel it’s your fault. You are my hero for reacting the way you did, and for letting Chickadee know that it’s okay for her to be mad as hell. She did the right thing, you did the right thing, and I hope that the school treats this like the VERY serious issue it is. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…!
When one of the girls from my high school was gang raped by the entire starting string of the basketball team, the school counselor said “oh my boys would never do a thing like that”. Then she went on to threaten the girl with suspension if she pursued the matter. What do you know, she dropped outnof school entirely. I never knew this story until I ran into her years later. The schools rumor mill made her out to be a dumb slut. What’s sad is no one questioned it. She was a year or two ahead of me so all I really knew about her is what was said. I wish she had gotten angry.
You are doing it exactly right.
Melissa B., I;m so sorry you’re going through that. It sounds truly horrifying. And while I’m nt usually a proponent of the death penalty, my gut screamed, Get him!, when I read that.
Mir, I’m proud of you and I’m proud of Chickie. Every time we call bullshit on this brings us that much closer to everyone realizing it is.
I cannot speak for your school, but the district where I work takes things like that VERY seriously. Also, you can persue other measures OUTSIDE of school if you do not like the outcome. I have worked in situations where one student has a restraining order on another, so even during school, they have to be separated at ALL times…per the law. And I have seen kids arrested over issues like the one you described. Good for you for getting mad!! I hope Chickie realizes that anyone who gives her crap for telling, is NOT a true friend. Good luck to all of you!
The one thing that stands out to me from both of your stories is what an awesome job of parenting you have done with Chickie. That she knew it was wrong, that she *came to you,* that she listened to what you said and stood up for herself.
I’m sorry this happened, but I love that she had the “tools” to handle herself.
Oy, what a tough life lesson. I had something similar happen with my room mate’s boyfriend. And it still makes me shake that I didn’t do more.
Over the weekend there was an article in the online news that I had my turning-13-years-old-on-Friday daughter read that was about this very subject. Most sexual harassment happens between 7th and 12th grade. She was uncomfortable with the subject matter but between that and reading the last few paragraphs in your “off our chests” post I’m hoping that this will be something that she’s empowered to do something about should it be an issue for her. Thank you!!
OMG—I’m so freakin’ mad right now! What is wrong with these kids? I’m so proud of Chickie and you for teaching her that she did the right thing and that it’s not acceptable! This is how bulling starts and I’m glad you are putting an end to it!
I wish you were my mom. :)
Love you, your anger, your voice, and the love you have for your daughter.
Good for you. We’ll be over here, cheering for you.
If the kind of sexual assault you experienced was so minor, why do you still remember it? Why do I still remember the two separate occasions that some jerk reached over while walking past me and grabbed a breast?
Because they’re not minor. They need to be stopped. Good for you for standing up for Chickie and for teaching her it’s okay to stand up for herself.
As for Melissa B’s neighbour (a one-year old??? how sick do you have to be?) and that basketball team starting string, there is no hell hot enough.
You know, I’m going to add to what I said. I agree with Another Dawn that what you endured was NOT minor. It is NEVER minor. I’ve had some very angry debates with one of my coworkers about the Sandusky situation, this is a guy who doesn’t think the people who witnessed him abusing children should have been legally required to report him. I was sexually abused as a child. One of my parents believed that I was telling the truth, the other didn’t. Even the parent who believed me did, in my opinion, FAR less than should have been done to help me and make sure no other child was hurt.
EVERY school should have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any kind of sexual harassment. Letting a middle-school kid get away with something like what happened to Chickadee, or even letting him get away with blaming her to other kids (as stated in your FB update a few minutes ago) should NOT be an option. That is sending the message that it’s okay, it’s funny, women are disposable objects to be used for your pleasure and/or amusement. It’s NOT FREAKING OKAY. It is never okay, and I agree that if the school doesn’t handle it appropriately then the police should be informed.
I am so sorry that this happened to Chickadee.
As the mother to a 13yo boy, I will be talking to him today about treating all people with dignity and respect. Which I suppose should be talked about more often.
Thank you for posting Mir.
Thank you for writing that. My husband went to Penn State and is so horrified and saddened by that whole thing, and we had a conversation about it, wherein I remembered an occasion when I was in middle school and “tattled” on some kid that I had evidence to believe was going to hurt some people. To this day, I don’t tend to tell people that story because they tend to respond with “you TOLD on him?” I don’t understand how those kinds of “playground rules” can apply to these situations, when someone is getting hurt; I see no grey area there. It makes me feel better to learn how to handle such a situation from you and all other other mama bears (my son is not yet 2, I will start early).
The “blame the victim” philosophy is so, so wrong. No matter what happens next, she will remember that you were there for her.
I was once asked to claim sexual harassment from a boss – a boss that others wanted fired. When I refused to accuse him, they turned on me. The person who started the efforts was eventually shocked at how far it went and how hard a hit my reputation had to withstand. Luckily, the boss survived. He was demoted for another reason, but he didn’t get falsely accused of harassment.
My husband is a police officer at a high school here in Texas and I can tell you that those little jacka$$es would have been toast. No harrassment, no matter how “minor” can be tolerated.
Chickie was very brave to bring this to you for help. She will be stronger for it both because of her own courage and because of your immediate and forceful response.
And, if you don’t get the response you need, let me know. I have access to a taser. . . :)
My son was physically assaulted by the principal in 9th grade. He through Selby (son) up against the wall and said ‘you’re stupid aren’t you, aren’t you!!) over and over. When Selby came home and told me I suddenly felt emotions I’d never felt and THE MOMMA BEAR CAME OUT!!!
I complained, I organized, I went to the paper, the police,the DA anyone I could think of and finally he was arrested and fired.
I learned a valuable lesson that day which you already know at your tender years. There are times when justifyable anger is indeed justified!
I wish someone had told me to get mad when I was her age. I did take him to court (and win) because even back then, I couldn’t see letting it happen to anyone else.
Mir, been lurking for a couple of months now. Have alternately laughed, cried, cringed, gotten mad, and applauded while reading your posts. But most definitely had to comment on this one!!
Your daughter SHOULD get mad!! What happened is NOT. HER. FAULT. She should be mad that some bully chose to harass her. She SHOULD be mad if the school sweeps it under the rug. Bullying is an underlying cause of SOO many issues these days. And schools are the worst environments regarding this. Just look at the fricken stories that have shown up in the news media the last couple of days: sexual harassment because a 9 yr old defended himself against being choked by a bully – by kicking said bully in the ‘nads? Or how about the little boy getting suspended because he called his teacher ‘cute’? – the little elementary school kid?
Your daughter and all school children should feel that it is Safe 2 Tell about incidents that make them feel unsafe, bullied, harassed, or that harm is going to come to others. And the schools have a VERY serious responsibility to treat the reports respectfully rather than dismiss and punish the child who reports the issue!
Here’s a website that may be of interest to you and your daughter . . and other readers
Thanks for all you write and for sharing your life with us. ;-)