Dear Dr. G.,
My 15 year old daughter and I have a very nice and open relationship. She recently told me that her best friend who is a 15 year old boy confided in her that he had been sexually abused by a male babysitter when he was younger. I feel sorry for this boy but I do have concerns about whether or not he might try to molest my younger son who is ten. Should I continue to allow him in my house? By the way, my daughter encouraged him to confide in his parents. Apparently, he did and they have taken him for professional counseling.
I don't mean to sound insensitive to my daughter's friend but I don't want my son to get molested, to turn into a sexual molestor, or even a homosexual. Sorry just being honest.
What should I do?
An Anonymous Mom
Dear Anonymous Mom,
Okay, take a deep breath and let me fill you in on the facts.
First, the majority of sexually abused boys do not turn into sex abusers. Secondly, there is no data to support that men are homosexual because of abuse.
Second, your daughter seems to be an excellent friend to this young man. It was wonderful that she encouraged him to confide in his parents. It appears that he is getting the help that he needs. And, yes, teenage boys who were molested as children are at risk for mood, substance abuse, and other mental health problems. They feel great shame about what happened to them especially at the hands (literally) of someone who was supposed to be taking care of them. Look at what happened when you learned of this boy's victimization. You immediately assumed that he would harm your child.
Consider this-if we get robbed we don't immediately go out and rob someone younger than us.
Third, I do believe that you should be vigilant and watchful about who your son is around. While I would not suggest that your daughter's friend and your son shower together I would certainly not recommend banning this young man from your house. You should focus on who is minding your son other than you like his coaches, babysitters, and even relatives.
Good luck and please don't scapegoat your daughter's friend. He has already suffered enough.
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