“Maaaa, it’s them not me!” That was my daughter’s exasperated reply to me when in one of our bonding moments, I once more reminded her to be careful when she’s out with friends. I’d often remind her never to leave her drink unattended if she’s out drinking with friends, or if she does, not to drink it anymore. She would either not respond or just say that she knows. I suppose a mother’s worries never ends where her kids are concerned.
Years ago, a colleague told us about a neighbor’s teenage daughter who experienced a tragic misfortune with 3 or 4 other female friends. It was a story I could never forget and whenever I recall her story, I always have a tight feeling of suffocation in my heart. It always feels harder to breathe then. I know it can happen to anyone.
The story was about 4 or 5 teenage girls who decided to go out to a disco to celebrate their high school graduation. They danced the night away mixing with the crowd, drinking and eating...just enjoying themselves. Whether they left their drinks unattended or some guys connived with the waiter, they could never tell. All they could remember was waking up in a motel room. They had no recollection of what happened, how they got there, or who and how many brought them there. To say that they were molested is not a strong enough word. They were all minors. It was statutory rape. But no one could or would pinpoint who the culprits were. There were just no witnesses.
To add further to the tragic fate that had befallen the girls, the neighbor’s daughter got pregnant. In a generally very religious country, especially in towns, abortion was just not an option. So she bore a son...father unknown. Her own father had difficulty accepting the child...the child of a rapist. But is the child to blame? How does one deal with it? I personally don’t know if I can. To this day, I can’t imagine how the victims and their families must feel...or the child when he finds out how he was born. I think it’s inevitable. Such tragedies are never kept a secret forever.
My fears as a mother grow whenever I recall this teenager’s story. I shudder at the thought that there can be people just around us, probably even people we know or have met on the street who can be so heartless and without conscience that they would callously destroy a person’s future.
As a mother I worry for my daughter, typical teenager that she is who acts like she knows it all with the ways of the world. But I know I cannot keep her under my wings all her life. She has much to learn about life but I’m confident that her strong personality and independence will guide her through challenges she may face as she matures.
By Lylin Aguas