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He’s Just a Child

Names have been changed to protect those involved, even the scum who did this.

CONTENT WARNING: ABUSE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, RAPE, CHILD ABUSE

“He’s just a child.”

Those words will haunt me for the rest of my days.

“He’s just like a child himself, he didn’t understand what he did was wrong.”

I stood there, numb to the core. My four year old child had been raped, and this was the explanation her rapist’s mother was giving me? The man I had trusted to watch my daughter, the man who I had invited into my home, the man who shared my bed…had raped my child during the short time I had been called in to work.

It had started as any other Saturday, waking up to my daughter jumping onto my side of the bed and asking to watch TV. I remember groggily turning the TV on to Disney and the sounds of Handy Many began to play before scooting over so that she could cuddle up with my cat at the foot of the bed to watch TV. Roger grumbled about it being too early, so I got up and took my daughter downstairs to watch TV there.

I wasn’t able to admit it at the time, but Roger had already begun abusing me by that point; stalking me while I was out, threatening people I was friendly to at work, setting up a key logger on my computer so that he could track my every move and see who I talked to and what I talked about, threatening me if I upset him, and in some cases even hitting me or throwing me to the ground and striking me just because I did something to anger him. I kept telling myself that his anger towards me was justified, that I had done something to deserve being hit.

I had stood by as he threw his best friend to the ground and beat on him. My only thought at the time was to get my daughter to safety. His scuffle had awoken her and I needed to make sure she didn’t see the violence.

I had already learned what happened when you fought back.

That Saturday morning, all I was thinking about when I got the phone call to come in to work was how quickly I could get done with my shift and get home. I didn’t want to leave my daughter with Roger, because he was still sleeping, but I had little choice. I didn’t have enough time to find a sitter, and I couldn’t take her with me to work.

As quickly as I could I got dressed and kissed my little girl on the forehead, assuring her I would be home as quickly as I could. I asked Roger to keep an eye on her and that I’d already given her her breakfast. She would be fine watching TV for the couple hours I would be gone, so long as he kept an eye on her.

My shift ran long and I remember how anxious I was getting. I kept trying to get home early but my bosses insisted that I stay even though we were barely doing any business. I cannot tell you how agitated I was by the time they let me clock out.

I’m pretty sure I broke several traffic laws on my way home, and I didn’t even lock my car as I rushed to get back to my daughter. I just felt something was wrong and I had to get back to her.

I could hear her crying before I’d even opened the door.

She was at the top of the stairs behind the child gate, crying loudly. All the lights in the house were turned out yet I could tell that she was crying to the point that tears were no longer falling. I don’t think I closed the door, all I remember is rushing up the stairs and taking her in my arms.

After that…my mind goes blank. No matter how hard I try, I cannot remember what happened for the next thirty minutes. I have been told that that was when my daughter told me what had happened as best she could as a four year old child, and I believe that. I just can’t remember it.

The very next thing I remember is hearing those words…

“He’s just a child.”

Even this I had blocked out. I had blocked out almost everything about that day…until today.

His mother convinced me to not call the police, convinced me that he hadn’t known any better. She wept as she begged me to think of her son while ignoring that he had raped my daughter. She begged for me to choose a twenty year old man over a four year old child. She told me that most likely my daughter wouldn’t even remember the event because she was so young.

“He’s just a child.”

I just stood there.

“He’s just a child.”

I couldn’t do anything.

“He’s just a child.”

I was just so numb.

“He’s just a child.”

I already knew what happened if I fought back.

“He’s just a child.”

I gave in.

I agreed to be silent.

“He’s just a child.”

No, he’s a rapist…why can’t I fight back? He’s a rapist, why can’t I remember? He’s a rapist, why won’t people listen?

He’s a rapist…and I enabled him.

Published inPersonal StoriesRape Culture

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