As a Mother I fear I have Failed.

I am the ex-fiancé of a sex offender, mother to his youngest chid, who’s now a teenager.

We met, dated, he was challenging but I was enthralled. Eventually he moved in, and after a couple of years we had a little girl.

I’d like to say he was wonderful and lovely, but he wasn’t, he was damned hard work. Arrogant, angry, challenging, difficult – but he’d confided sexual abuse by his violent drunken step father after his mother had walked out and disappeared for 5 years.

So, I figured in my wisdom that I would be the ‘one’ who’d stand by him. Prove that not everyone leaves.

Time passed by and life carried on.

Then, late one evening my other (then teenage) daughter said ‘he’ (step-father) had touched her inappropriately. Not sex. Touched.

We discussed it further, and although I had doubts as to the validity (he really did not seem that sort at all – everything but, in fact) we packed his belongings and dropped his suitcases off at his auntie’s house in town. I still remember watching the colour drain out of her face..

By the time we got home it was late, and my daughter was distraught from seeing her step- ‘auntie’ so shell-shocked; we agreed to make all the phone-calls (police etc) first thing in the morning.

Whilst I didn’t want to believe her, I had no reason not to, but I did have doubts based on other stuff she’d done and said. I think it was a phase that teens go through, and maybe me clutching at straws I guess.

The following day the police were informed, and social services notified. By this time, the reality of the enormity of the situation was beginning to dawn on me as well.

I was numb with shock. Who was he? I thought I knew him.

Clearly I had been tricked – fooled – conned. Scammed? I felt stupid.

Our lives had changed, and would never ever be the same.

And it’s never black and white. It isn’t neat, sweet, and sprinkled with polite etiquette.

It’s cold, harsh, embarrassing, soul destroying. Life changing. Nothing will EVER be the same again. And everything will always be LESS than it was before.

Life is meant to be about adventures and enjoying the experience of life and having more of the things you love and enjoy. Imagine being him, knowing that for the rest of your life you’ve already HAD the best it was ever going to be. That the rest could be restrictions, suspicion, rejection, can’t live with children, never be near children, reporting to the police station, always having to hide your real self. …

Going back to my story – The authorities eventually confirmed that he’d changed his name and had moved hundreds of miles from his native home-land as he’d previously abused and served almost 9 years for the abuse of another child many years previous.

As a mother, ex-fiancé, I was numb with shock. I was simply shell shocked.

Our lives were like ‘a train wreck’ and I had nobody to confide in.

I had loved a sex offender – what did that say about me? My judgement.

How can I tell my child her father is a paedophile? This would come later, much later.

A part of me hoped it would all be a huge mistake, I was so lost, isolated, and alone.

There was nobody to turn to; you can’t. I was acutely aware that my children would suffer the gossip monger misery if I shared my sorrows, and their lives had been devastated already, and ultimately – the mess seemed like my fault.

I’d brought this man into our lives. Into our safe warm loving happy home.

And we were left in tatters.

Police. Social workers. Reputation destroyed. Shame. Potential loss of our home. No job. Loss of our business venture. Everything in my name – and I’m at home with the tiny baby – under suspicion of ‘protecting a paedophile’ because I agreed he could still use our (2nd) car to keep his driving job as long as he made the payments on it.

It hadn’t even occurred to me that it would be seen as ‘helping’ him. In my eyes I was reducing my obligated outgoings and saving the roof over our head, and keeping food on the table.

I soon learned (this is my opinion) that there was a loathing, even a hatred, of sex offenders in general. it was like they were the ‘unclean’ within the murky dark depths of the dregs of society. Never to be forgiven as they were capable of the unforgivable. There was a feeling of collective hatred for him, and anyone like him, and my reluctance to join the collective ‘pedo-haters’ soon became a stick to beat me with as well. In short, if I wasn’t with them, I must be against them.

My weight dropped. My hair started falling out. Yet I kept trying to smile and be strong as the days scraped painfully by with meetings, visits, and action plans, fear, shame, and threats. I had to attend Panel meetings and justify myself as a parent – even though I had done nothing.

Then I was accused of colluding with him because I hadn’t jumped on the ‘beat the paedophile bandwagon’. So – the snapshot of my life was that I was Facing losing my home, my children put on the At Risk register, regular telephone calls from a power hungry social worker threatening to ‘take my children’ if I helped him. (which I wasn’t).

Help him do WHAT ? What else is left?

My (our) baby at this point (then) was three months old.

I knew she had every right to know him, and the law would have to take its due course and I would work with whatever was left. My concern was for HER to know she had a father, and eventually the CPS dropped the case, but the social services stayed involved for two years. In part, they were really helpful, but the destructive oppressive attitude of hatred and repulsion only intensifies the damage and devastation.

For years I was impacted by the experience. I doubted my ability to safeguard my own children. I doubted myself. My skills. My parenting. I didn’t know who I really was, as a part of me had been destroyed, and I was filled with self doubt, guilt and shame.

I’d committed no crime – but morally – I felt I had failed my children, and the sentence was ‘life’. Everyone had let it go, but I couldn’t. Hurting other human beings isn’t something that sits well with me; and I cannot fathom people who CAN help, but don’t. Or actively work in a destructive way when other approaches would yield better results.

As a mother, the ex-partner, I was the one who had to sit holding my daughter’s hand as she sobbed herself to sleep night after night because she could never truly have her daddy in her life.

He would never see her learn to swim, compete at sports day, attend her school awards.

No blowing birthday candles or Christmas shopping.

He was offered supervised contact through a Centre but refuses as it means ‘blowing his cover’ and so, she is denied contact. He chose to walk away and not face his truth…

The truth is – he IS a sex offender. At best, WAS a sex offender.

Eventually I knew I had to tell my daughter about the past.

She’d only ever heard that he had done something very bad many years ago and the police has sad he couldn’t see her until she was older. It was heart breaking. Every birthday, Easter, Christmas, she’d wait for something – anything from him that said ‘I remember you’.

I used to churn with anger watching this poor innocent child pace the floor wondering if he’ll remember her. On the flipside I was often relieved when he didn’t as that didn’t pose a different problem of contact.

Eventually it dawned on me that the sorrow wasn’t exclusively ours. And that ‘he’ would very probably have spent his share of staring out of windows wondering how she was doing, and what she’d got for Christmas and so on. And hopefully, regret the way he was, and maybe want to change.

As he’d opted to refuse Supervised contact, I’d send photographs and school reports to his family who’d share with him so he has some insight how she is, and in some way – I hope she will be the catalyst for his desire for change.

I cannot even envisage walking away from my child (or children) I think I would rather die.

As a human being I recognise that despite this awful inclination/weakness he is still a human being. In my eyes there was always hope to progress and move forward productively.

Fifteen years later I still carry the sadness of that experience.

Fifteen years later it still impacts my life.

And fifteen years later I wanted to foster children and was refused because of this.

I am a good and decent person and parent.

But it has taken me almost twenty years to realise that my humanity is not a weakness, it is my strength.

If You are a sex offender – STOP. Seek help.

It’s not a ‘Nobody’s getting hurt’ situation.

Children are bribed, forced, manipulated.

They don’t like it, don’t want it. It’s wrong.

This is someone’s child.

My little girl hasn’t seen her daddy for five years now.

And my heart aches for her emptiness.

And a part of that is my fault.

I have stayed, worked, studied, wept, wiped brows, mopped up sick.

As a mother, I fear I have failed.

Don’t Do It.