When parents hear that someone else’s child has been hurt, often their first response is to blame that injured child’s parents. In fact, that is probably the most natural response when tragedy strikes, since finding someone to blame is the most effective way for us to ease our own fears.
Blaming other parents allows us to tell ourselves: “This could never happen to MY child, because I’m a good parent, not like those NEGLIGENT parents whose child was hurt.”
While this is a very natural response, I would like to point out the reasons why it is a completely false accusation regarding the Nachalaot parents whose children were molested.
- Have you ever left your child in the care of a teenage babysitter or an older sibling? So did these responsible Nachalaot parents. But they didn’t know that the pedophiles had threatened the lives of their children’s teenage babysitters/older siblings if they didn’t bring them the young children they were caring for to be raped and severely abused.
- Does your child come home on his/her own from school or from a nearby school bus stop? So did the children of these responsible Nachlaot parents. But they didn’t know that the pedophiles were threatening their children returning home from their school or bus stop with death if they didn’t come to be molested before they went home. Upon arriving home late, the children would tell concerned parents that there was heavy traffic or that a teacher delayed them after school or other similar excuses.
- Have you ever rushed with a sick child to the doctor only to be told that it’s “nothing serious”? So did these responsible Nachalaot parents. In fact, for 6 years parents of the molested children were frantically taking their children to psychologists and pediatricians in an effort to figure out what was wrong with their terrorized and horrifically abused children. The psychologists and doctors repeatedly dismissed the parents’ concerns and assured them it was “nothing serious” just like your doctor told you.
I know many, many of the parents involved in this story. I know them well. I know them to be among the most devoted, most loving, most self-sacrificing, most responsible parents in the world.
I beg you, dear reader, to stop adding to the suffering of these struggling families by blaming them for something that could happen to any parent, even the most vigilant and responsible mother or father in the world.
I would like to add a few words to Chana Jenny’s post:
As parents, we can’t keep our children in a bubble. There is no age at which they will be able completely protect themselves against pedophiles, rapists, reckless drivers, and other dangers. By accompanying them everywhere until they are “old enough” (within reason, of course), we deny them opportunities to learn gradually how to manage difficult situations on their own. If we restrict them because of our (understandable) fear, our children would never take music lessons, join a sports team, ride a bicycle, or visit a friend—”just in case” something happens. Worst of all, we would frighten them into thinking that no one can ever be trusted.
More on Nachalaot and child safety: