To feel shaken by this *possible trigger warning*(17 Posts)
Name changed for this as it's very outing but I really need to get some help getting perspective on this one...
Watching a film last night, with PIL, about children who were groomed and abused in the 1959's (cheery xmas viewing!) but for some reason it triggered a memory for me that I haven't thought about for 20 years.
When I was a kid, I was approached by the magician at my friends party and asked to help him out with his magic show. He had lots of rabbits as part of his act and I loved them, so readily agreed. Anyway, apparently I was so good as his assistant that we wanted me to do it at another party.
My parents agreed as they knew the family so would be attending anyway.
Long story short, this guy befriended me and my family and ended up regularly coming to my house, bringing me baby rabbits to pet and teaching me tricks etc. It all came to a head though when he wanted to take me to Pontins for the weekend to help him do a show. My parents said no as I was too young to go alone (I must have been around 7) and they couldn't come because of my other siblings. I remember being quite upset at the time but can't remember seeing him again after that.
Fast forward to last night when my brain decided to remind me of this and as an adult, I recognised this behaviour to be a red flag.
So, I decide to google this guy's name and found an article from over 15 years ago about how he admitted sexually assaulting a 11 year old girl that he befriended through his magic act! It turns out that he was due to be sentenced for it but killed himself the day before sentencing and was found in a local woods.
I feel sick! Just thinking about how close I came to getting into a terrible situation. Everything I have achieved in my life (career, DC, DH etc) could have all been denied to me by this horrible man! And I feel awful for the other girl. We didn't report anything as his behaviour was just seen as being a bit weird but if we had, maybe we could have saved her.
Obviously, there is no way to find out who she was to see how she got on but I dread to think what happened to her.
I'm sorry if I'm rambling but I just can't make sense if it. Im surrounded by xmas decorations and over excited DC, but I just can't concentrate on any of it. I just feel so shaken.
Am I being silly? After all, nothing happened to me and people have near misses all the time but, it just feels so close to home!
Sorry this post is so long or if I've upset anyone. Thanks for reading, if you're still here!
I don't think you can feel guilty - nothing happened that the police could have acted on. It must be awful to realise you had such. Close scrape but I wonder if your parents actually protected you and cut contact because they had their own suspicions.
Just be grateful you escaped. This man was a criminal deviant and they are experts in manipulation and deceit. You were lucky and should enjoy your life knowing your family protected you. We now recognise this behaviour but the secrecy around paedophilia protected these monsters. Enjoy your life.
Of course you're not being silly.
I can't imagine what a terrifying shock that must have been.
That poor little girl. The bastard's bailed himself out, though, so The poor little one or her family gets no justice. please please please do not blame yourself though. Only that dirty pervert is to blame, and What the police have done anyway. I mean they could hardly arrest someone for "being weird", could they.
How awful. It sounds like your parents grew suspicious (I mean who wouldn't when a grown man requests to take your daughter away on holiday?). Are you able to talk to your parents about it?
There's nothing for you to feel guilty about with regards to the other girl. Poor woman. I expect this has affected her throughout her life. But that was his fault not yours in any way.
You are not being silly. You have had a huge shock and, understandably are thinking about what could have been. It is all very new and raw. Talking it through will help. You aren't being silly you have memories and emotions to work through and come to terms with. It will be okay.
You had a close encounter and was luckily your parents said no. I think our mind does tend to dwell on what if's and you start to analyse things.
I hope the feelings abate soon.
You're not being unreasonable at all. I think it's very natural to feel in turmoil about this. It's certainly something that you might want to talk through with an abuse counsellor.
I had a similar thing happen to me in the 1960's by a man who tricked me into going into his house by the promise of seeing some new born puppies, who then exposed himself to me. I was about the same age as you were and in that era I was allowed to go to school and the local sweet shop on my own. I managed to get away as I was crying and asking for my Mum and luckily he let me go. I was too scared of a telling off from my Mum who told me constantly not to talk to strangers. He was actually a neighbour who lived in the next street, so in my childish way of thinking not really a stranger, as I'd seen him walking his dog and stroked it on occasions. I often feel like you do and wonder if he went on to attack anyone else and have felt guilty for years that I didn't do something about it. I suspect that your parents had their suspicions about this man. Maybe it would be helpful for you to talk to them about it? I was very protective of my children when they were younger because of this incident so it did teach me a lesson but like you I can see that it could have changed my life.
Definitely agree with seeking some professional help - extremely disturbing to realise how close you were to danger. I empathise as when I was about ten, I was allowed into town for the first time on my own to go to the library. I walked down a quiet back street that I'd been down many times before with my mum. There was a guy parked there - he stopped me and asked if I could help him, as his car had broken down and would I mind sitting in the passenger seat and watching the lights on the dashboard while he checked the engine. I set off at a jog, and told my mum when I got home.
We still occasionally talk about it now. It's possible this man meant no harm to me but it's also weird that a middle aged man would ask a young girl to sit in his car. I'll never know his real motives, but it's disturbing nonetheless. You need to talk about this to someone. So glad your parents prevented you from going with him, but it doesn't make the near-miss any less frightening.
That is disturbing Op but you have nothing to feel guilty about. Just be thankful that your parents put a stop to that man's approaches.
I always remember a magician that did impromptu performances in local pubs and clubs when I was a child. He always beckoned over one or two children to show a trick and would be very touchy feely with us. It felt uncomfortable and I didn't really like him but as a child it was impossible to articulate.
He was later jailed for his paedophilia. It was a horrible shock to find that out as an adult and have that moment of clarity.
If you can, I suggest talking to your parents about this. Tell them about the TV prog and what you found out by Googling the magician. Mention that it's upset you. They had their suspicions and were sensible.
You were young and mustn't blame yourself. Paedophilia was one of those forbidden subjects until fairly recently, it was brushed under the carpet and people pretended it didn't exist.
You are not being silly at all. That is a terrifying story. Have you told your DH or your parents so you have someone to talk to?
You are very lucky that for whatever reason your parents stopped you from going on that trip!
Not being silly at all. I have a number of childhood experiences that scare me when I think back in them as an adult, knowing now that they were near misses or worse. As a society we're more aware of potential danger signs now, but that doesn't mean that seemingly innocent behaviour will always be noticed as something more insidious.
I would definitely talk to your parents - you never know, maybe they were aware something wasn't right and this would of course have gone over your head as a child. And talk through your feelings with your DH or a close friend - talking about it should help you make sense of it.
Thanks all. I have spoken to my parents this morning but my DM is a very difficult person and turned it around to be about her (as usual). My DF said that he thought it was all a bit odd at the time but they didn't really click as to what his intentions were, where as my DM said she knew ( she didn't) and that she was an amazing parent for saving me and wasn't I lucky blah blah blah! She also said that the other girls parents must have been terrible parents for not knowing!! DM can be a fucking moron sometimes!
Luckily DH and PIL are lovely ( we are staying with PIL for a few days over xmas) and have let me just talk in through while the other one entertains the DC.
Feeling a bit better today but still feel sick at the thought. It was just all so calculating and manipulative! Just awful!
Anyway, thank you again for your support. Hooray for MN
Glad to hear at least one set of parents was comforting to you and that you've been able to get it off your chest a bit. It can be a real shock having anything from your childhood revealed in its true, generally grim, light, and this must have been a horrible revelation for you
It's good you feel you can talk about it.
Your mum's reaction may be defensive, perhaps she feels guilty or that you are blaming her in some way? Awful that she blamed the other girl's parents. Of course, no one is to blame but the predatory paedophile. Men like that often prey on children that are in care or are neglected by their parents so thank goodness you had your parents to protect you. Your mum can't speculate on the other girl's situation.
I think it best to try to leave this in the past as much as you can and not delve any further into this man's past online. Please don't torture yourself with "what ifs". Do something nice together as a family and try not to dwell on it.
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