Originally published on Medium on December 21, 2016 By Wading in a Sea of Red.
When I was a little girl, I loved fairy tales.
There were heros and villains.
There were monsters with claws and sharp teeth, found in forests, or closets, or under the bed.
The brave hero always saved the day, in the end.
My mother told me fairy tales are not the same as real life.
Nothing lurked in the shadows or around corners.
Nothing went bump in the night.
Nothing pounced on unsuspecting little girls and swallowed them whole.
There are no such things as monsters…
I did not recognize the monster, when I encountered him.
The monster did not have claws, or fur, or sharp teeth.
The monster did not live in the woods, or in my closet, or under my bed.
The monster was a chameleon, hidden in plain sight.
The monster had many masks he hid behind.
He wore the mask of nice guy.
He wore the mask of deacon in our local church.
He wore the mask of prince and swept the maiden off her feet.
He wore the mask of husband.
Who could have guessed the most dangerous disguise at the monster’s disposal?
He wore the carefully crafted mask,
of loving father, to the tiny fatherless girl.
The monster lurked in the shadows.
The monster hid around corners.
The monster went bump in the night.
The monster devoured unsuspecting little girls.
The monster chewed me up and swallow me whole.
There ARE such things as monsters…
My mother was right about one thing. Fairy tales are not the same as real life.
Sometimes, there are no heroes to save you.
Sometimes, the monster wins in the end…
Please, tell your child the truth about child predators.
- No age is too young.
- No child is immune.
There is a fine line between protecting your child’s innocence, and putting your child’s innocence at risk.
No person, be they family, friend, or stranger, is above suspicion.
- Every child could become a victim.
- Anyone could be a predator.