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Dangers, maybe earlier than you think.

on April 30, 2010

A friend of mine (who gave me permission to post this story, but who has asked to remain nameless in order to protect her son) is going through a hard time with her family right now.

I’m posting her story in the hopes that it will help someone learn to protect their child, even before they think it’s necessary.

WHEW.. deep breath.

I’m telling my story in the order of which it appears to have happened not in the order of which I learned things.

Over a year ago my then 12 year old son was at school. He heard from another boy that there was a picture online of the girl from Harry Potter’s breast.
Curiosity got the better of him and he waited up until my husband and I went to bed and crept downstairs and looked it up.
What he saw was to say the least much more than he bargained for. The images stayed with him. He decided to look again, and again, and again. Before long he was addicted to p*rnography. He was m*sturbating multiple times a day and all he thought about was s*x.
At first there were no symptoms. We had no clues. He was a good boy who got perfect grades and was obedient (for the most part) and helpful at home. Active in church and happy. He never showed interest in girls nor has he ever kissed a girl.
The first symptoms we attributed to puberty. In hindsight it was severe sleep deprivation probably. He was staying up most nights past when we went to sleep and then some and getting up like normal.
He was angry, aggressive with his words, short tempered, depressed, moody, negative and unhappy.
Before long we hardly recognized the boy we once knew. He started lying, manipulating and lost interest in almost everything. He appeared to no longer care about his life. Still we had no clue.
At some point for reasons he doesn’t remember it started becoming harder for him to access the p*rn. He was having mental withdrawals from it.
Then one day the unthinkable happened. He was changing his little sister’s diaper and all he saw was her v*gina. He didn’t see her the sweet little girl she is, just her body. He touched her. She became his substitute for p*rnography.
This behavior continued for a time, until his guilt became too much for him to bear. He quit touching her but still didn’t confess to us.
Several months later we found out about the P*rnography. Through the inspiration of the spirit after noticing some odd behaviors in our daughter I asked him if he had ever touched her.
At that point he told me everything. He sobbed, he expressed his horrible guilt. He asked to confess to our Bishop. We all discussed whether or not to contact the authorities, he said he wanted us to so he could get help.
We called and took the girls in to get examined and my Son went to the police station to confess.
(He had been completely honest, everything he told us checked out and none of the other girls have been touched.)
They placed him under arrest. My 13 year old son spent 4 days in what was basically solitary confinement.
He is now not allowed contact with his siblings, can’t live in his home, is on house arrest and probation and still may be put in a psychiatric facility for up to 2 years.

I desperately wish we had made different decisions regarding computer safety. I wish we had known 12 is not too young. I wish the computers had been more public. I wish we’d had passwords on them. I wish my son could have his innocence back, his life back.

I know in these times it’s easy to dismiss our son looking at p*rnography as age appropriate curiosity. I know most boys who look will not have these consequences. But it’s not worth the risk. P*rnography is a tool Satan uses to desensitize men and demoralize women. He is there waiting to reel in the hook when these young men “bite”. If even one family locks their computers and saves one young man it is worth sharing my very personal struggle here.

My daughter will thankfully probably never remember this. My son on the other hand will never fully recover. He can never erase those images from his head. He can never get the time back with his family that he will now lose. He may never get over his crushing guilt for what he did to his sister. He will never be the same. He is forced now to face adult things as a child.

I know that we, for one, are going to learn from their situation, and we will be putting blocks on our computer this week. While Zi is only 8, she is a full on reader and could easily type something into the browser that would take her to a site she wasn’t expecting.

Edited to add from my girlfriend:

***It has been brought to my attention that some people may not understand why we involved the authorities. First and foremost he could not get therapy if we didn’t, the therapist would be required by law to report. Second it is VERY serious. If we follow the proper route now he has no record and he has a lot of young life to fix this. If we didn’t and it happened again, 1) he would probably have to register as a sex offender forever and 2) it would be that much worse. Please let me stress calling was one of the hardest things my husband and I have ever done if not the hardest. We did not do so lightly or without a lot of prayer, tears and talking. We have since been told by people who know that parents often don’t report first offenses and it almost always gets worse. We are trying to  give him the best possible shot at fixing his life in the best way we know how.***


5 responses to “Dangers, maybe earlier than you think.

  1. Cliffwho? says:

    I know this was put on to show the danger of what can happen by having a computer go unchecked, and rightly so Jamie. But, I really can’t get past the stupidity of the parents for getting the authorities involved in this. They may as well have stamped sexual pervert across his forehead for life, because that’s what they’ve done. Should have been handled in house…Unbelievably stupid move on the parents end. A 12-13 year old doesn’t know the consequences of involving authorities. I’m sorry Jamie… I can’t believe the anger this blog stirred up in me for those parents…

  2. jamie says:

    Cliff, all I can say is that none of us are in the parents shoes, you know? It was actually the child’s decision to go to the police. The parents were and are really at a loss. They could see that by going to the police, the child was going to get the counseling and help he needed… help that he would not have gotten otherwise, and get it now, before even more damage happened. Had they just put him in counseling, the counselor would have had to report to the police anyway. This way, his record will be expunged when he is 15. If he continued to offend? He would be labeled as a sex offender, and it would follow him for the rest of his life.

    I mean, how do you prepare yourself for something like that? And how do you keep a child who has abused one of your other children in the same house? I honestly don’t know what I would do in their shoes, nor do I want to speculate as it’s something that I hope never happens in our house.

  3. Cliffwho? says:

    To each his own I guess. If he was 16 or 17 I could see it.. anyway doesn’t matter now.

  4. Cliffwho? says:

    Actually what does matter now is that I apologize to the parents for the things I said. Whether or not I agree or disagree it really is none of my business anyway. I spoke in anger which is also a stupid thing to do, and I should know better. I do hope all works out for the best. Once again … My apologizes.

  5. jamie says:

    Thanks Cliff. She really appreciates your apology.

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