Childhood Innocence

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Normally when I read a book, I read it in one or two sittings. I find reading similar to watching a movie – I can’t do it in parts, I want the entire story lain before me immediately, in its entirety.

Currently, I am reading a book about the playwright JM Barrie, the author of Peter Pan and other plays. The book is a research into the playwright and the children that Peter Pan was based on. Its devastatingly detailed, chronicling their lives, their childhoods, and their crippling depressions and suicides. Apparently, JM Barrie was something of a psychopath, a child abuser and a pedophile.

As I read this book, I take breaks. Chapter after chapter details the powerful hold the man had on the children, how he manipulated and exploited their parents, their family members, everyone around him, to get what he wanted from the children. As a mother, and as a human being in general, I find it difficult to read a book about the suffering of children. I have only been able to read a chapter or two each day. Once I finish each chapter, I am haunted by what I read…the writer is so meticulous in his details – and there are family photos interspersed throughout the book – that I have dreamt of the children at night.

How did this happen? How did one man control an entire family? Why did no one call him out on this? He made friends in high places due to his fame as a playwright, so people allowed him his indulgences. They looked the other way – including the children’s own parents, grandmother, aunt and uncles. My heart grieves for these children. Of course they are all deceased now, but I still grieve for them. The horrible lives they lived, no one cared enough to rescue them. It was a travesty.

One of my daughters classmates from kindergarten has been on my mind lately. I never allowed my daughter to spend time with this girl because her mother gave me a very bad vibe. It has recently come to my attention that the girl may have been abused, and her mother looked away. The family has had issues with drug addiction, prostitution, etc over the years (my vibes are always right!), and it seems that the children have been a casualty.

How do these things happen in real life? How does a mother allow her husband, boyfriend, pimp, etc, to touch her child? How does she rationalize the behaviors of the child, once something has taken place – is it “normal” for a child to simulate sex with another child? No, it is not. Is it “normal” for a 7 year old to not wear panties and dance around her step-father, with her parts exposed? No, it is not. My heart goes out to this child. I wish I had known then. And finding this information out, I asked the person who told me, what did you do? Nothing.

No one does anything. Why are we so quick to look the other way? A child can not defend itself. That is what parents are there for – to take care of their children. If they are not taking care of them, someone must! It is not difficult to pick up a telephone and call the school. Make a complaint. That is all it takes. From what I hear, the situation for this little girl was so horrible that the authorities actually did get involved at some point, due to the drug use in the home. The damage that was done to those children…it pains me to think about it.

Smile, bright young darling.

Innocent, spritely, and pure…

Cherish each moment.

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