Most parents who have had their child molested have thought about what they would do with 5 minutes in a room alone with their child’s abuser. I know I have played that scenario more than a few times. Thankfully for all concerned most people don’t act on it. Occasionally someone makes the news for taking care of the problem themselves, but ultimately they generally don’t feel better – assuming theny don’t get arrested in the process. People generally feel cheated that they don’t get the opportunity, but it is really for the best. (If it’s any consolation, sex offenders suffer more than their share of accidents being transfered between facilities and in transit to and from court. Prison is it’s own set of hazzards.)
The first time I spoke to a group of parents who had recently experienced disclosure, the first question that one of the fathers asked was, “how did you keep from killing him?”. It’s probably the one thing people want to know most when their child is sexually abused. You want to do something and you want to have some control over the situation that makes you feel better. But for the most part you can’t.
If you are running that 5 minute scenario through your brain, it’s important to take it to 10 minutes and beyond. It’s that point in the fantasy where the police end up dealing with a dead sex offender or one that is probably beaten to a pulp. Rest assured they will be at your house within a few minutes. You may as well just call the police yourself and save them a trip to your house. This next few minutes of the scenario that holds most of us back. It does require some rational thinking. Unfortunately not all of us get to that point of clarity when the urge to fix the problem strikes.
Randall Margraves is being hailed as a hero after asking the judge in the Larry Nassar case for his 5 minutes. He admitted afterwards that he wasn’t prepared for what was in his daughters’ victim impact statements. In a less publicized and policed courtroom, I think he would have gotten in a few good shots before being handcuffed and removed from the courtroom. On the one hand I give him credit for doing it, while still knowing it’s not the right thing to do. I also know that even if he succeeded, it wouldn’t ease his pain. He is lucky he wasn’t arrested. I hope the media leaves him and his family alone to heal rather than trying to parade him out as a hero. I would guarantee that he doesn’t feel that way. What’s on his mind is the damage is done and he wasn’t there to protect his children when the sexual abuse happened. It’s a horrible feeling. The one thing you can do is to be there to help them through dealing with the experience and to support your children. You can’t change the past, but you can help create your child’s future.