One of the most disturbing cases of child crime has struck close to home. In fact, right where I live. It’s made national news, the tragic story of two 12-year-old girls who nearly stabbed to death their friend.
In case you don’t know about the story, they planned it for months. They lured their friend into the woods and while one of the girls held her down, the other stabbed her 19 times—in the arms, legs and torso. Amazingly, she managed to crawl out of the woods where a bicyclist found her. She will live—but can you imagine the horror of living with what her “friends” did to her?
I don’t normally address newsy items on my blog. But as a mother, it deeply affects me and in some ways is personal.
From the accounts I have read, most people who knew the girls never could have imagined such a horror. They had good families, good upbringings. There’s some talk about one of the girls possibly suffering from a mental disorder. But that seems to be the default when something unthinkable such as this happens. Is it possible? Of course. Something is clearly wrong with someone who acts out in such a way. But one of the things that can’t be ignored is how those girls spent their time.
I took it upon myself to visit the website that apparently sparked the idea of murder. It’s called “Creepy Pasta.” I don’t suggest anyone going to the site unless it’s for research purposes, which is what I did. And believe me, I spent not more than a couple of minutes before I reached the conclusion it’s filled with nothing but evil and darkness. They claim it’s a literary site. While that might be true, it’s filled with paranormal and horror stories.
One of the fictional characters that these girls were trying to “please” when they attempted to murder their friend was a fictional character called Slenderman. That immediately caused a reaction in me. I had heard the name before…out of the mouth of my daughter. Back when she was in middle school. I remember at the time asking her who that was and she simply laughed it off.
If only I had taken the time back then to research it. But we had taken all the necessary precautions to block websites and have reports sent to my husband’s email on sites visited. Never once did I think about the possibility that at someone else’s house my daughter was looking at things she shouldn’t.
Without divulging too much information—but feeling it’s important to share the truth—she began to step foot into the dark world (not Slenderman but other avenues). I should also point out that it was with a friend she had grown up with in the church. I didn’t know this was going on but the signs were there. I guess I’d convinced myself that it was “just a phase.” At the same time, she had become the victim of bullying. Again, something I wasn’t aware of—and so with the combination of both, my daughter began to change.
Today she is no longer bullied. She is now terrified to even step a toe into the waters of evil and darkness. But it doesn’t mean she hasn’t dealt with the repercussions. We’re still dealing with some of the effects today.
I guess the point I want to make is that we can’t assume all is well in our children’s lives simply because we don’t see the bad. Too many parents (especially Christian parents) have their heads stuck in the sand. They believe that because they have put protective measures in place, it’s foolproof. That just because their children are raised in the church, they don’t have to worry. Or that since they see their children acting one way, it’s not possible they have another side to them when they’re not around. We’re fooling ourselves. And the devil is laughing.
It’s getting harder and harder to protect our children. But we have to do what we can to get into their world—to know what’s influencing it and to accept the very real possibility that it may not be what we think. We all want to believe the best. We want to trust that our prayers, our commitment to live a Christian lifestyle is all it takes. But the harsh reality is that sometimes it’s not enough. I’ve seen it in my home and in others.
I wish I had a solution to all of this. I wish I could say that if you follow this 10 step plan, you’re guaranteed holy children. That if you live right, your children will do the same. But all I can offer is my heartfelt plea to take your head out of the sand. Ask questions. Investigate. Don’t believe everything your children tell you. Check up on them. Look through their belongings. Look up their friends online. Go see if they’re really where they say they are. And if they complain that you don’t trust them, tell them they’re right.
© 2014, Stephanie Romero