When we are married there is no earthly relationship more important than that between a husband and wife. When one divorces however, things need to shift and your children become the most important earthy relationship, period.
I know several people who think I am crazy, I have literally been mocked because I believe that I should remain single. I believe that remaining single will give my kids their best chance at a stable home.
For several years I use to teach a course at the Billings Family YMCA where I worked as the Family and Youth Program Director. The course was simply called “Childhood Abuse Prevention”. Although this course was directed towards childcare workers and how they could help a child who may be experiencing abuse, I learned a lot that I applied to my own life and my own reasons as to WHY I feel led to remain single. This particular blog will focus on my #1 reason for staying single, I have several – but to me, this reason is a no-brainer.
Most resources will tell us that every year in the United States, over 3 million children are abused. This abuse would include, physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect. What is more difficult to find is a breakdown of WHO is doing the abusing. One great resource that I had found is actually on the Department of Health and Human Services page here. Now, you have to read carefully and not just look at the graphs to find out exactly what the break down is. For example, the graph will show you the big picture – that 51% of ALL charged cases of abuse came from the biological father. However, the breakdown of the percentages of what type of abuse comes a little later and shows us this: 50% were charged with neglect only, 26% were charged with physical abuse only, 7% were charged with emotional abuse only, 7% were charged with sexual abuse only, and 11% were charged with some combination of the above.
To me, being a single mom wondering about dating and someday remarrying, I was really interested in what percent of abusers were boyfriends and stepfathers. Here is what they found of all charged abuse cases.
Boyfriends of the mother: 31% were charged with neglect only. 30% were charged with physical abuse only. 20% were charged with sexual abuse only. 6% were charged with emotional abuse only. And 13% were charged with some combination of the above.
Stepfathers: 20% were charged with neglect only. 34% were charged with physical abuse only. 30% were charged with sexual abuse only. 4% were charged with emotional abuse only. And 12% were charged with some combination of the above.
Moms, are you paying attention here? In reality, The percentage points remained some what close – except in the area of neglect and sexual abuse. Biological fathers are more likely to be neglectful and less likely to sexually abuse their children when compared to boyfriends and stepfathers. HOWEVER, Boyfriends and Stepfathers are MUCH more likely to sexually abuse your child. Much. More. Likely.
I want to also point out that these numbers are based only on those who have gotten caught and who have been charged with the crime. According to the Department of Justice, only about 30% of sexual abuse is actually reported to authorities. How much higher are these numbers really? The point is, much higher than we think.
My choice for remaining a single mom is my choice. I believe that protecting my children is more important than having a companion. I am not ignorant to the fact that children are also abused by uncles, cousins, older kids, and even women. As a mom, I have also done everything that I possibly can to prevent this from happening. I also know that sometimes really bad things happen. However, I have made the personal commitment to NOT bring it into my home and to keep my home a safe place for my children.
I think that if more moms are aware of these statistics, it can help them guard their children from abusers. Take steps and the actions needed to guard your children because the fact is – once the sexual abuse has happened, it’s happened. Their lives won’t be the same.
The real question is this mom, will you do anything differently knowing this?