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Senior Contributor

Upset about ‘grandma kisses’



im really upset about people, trashy news channels included, taking the piss out of children’s education to protect them from harm. Every child has the right to decide who touches them and when and it is important that they learn about their rights and what consent is. No loving grandma will miss out on kisses and cuddles, nor will anyone be prosecuted for kisses and cuddles with their grandkids. 


I see it too much on the internet. Photos of half naked children, public, not thinking about the safety of the children nor wondering if their kids would consent to photos on the internet, later in life. I’ve experienced it so many times where parents tell their children to give me a hug or a kiss and i always back off and say it’s the child’s choice. It’s not disrespectful from the child to say no to touching even a close family member. It’s essential that they know they have the right to say no and it’s essential that we respect their decision. Yes I do high fives with children or I just say hi or I give them a hug IF THEY WANT TO. 


Why do people not understand that this protects children from being vulnerable to sexual abuse? Why do people still believe it happens to other children only, or it’s a thing of the past. It is still happening and it makes me so unbelievably upset that people take the piss out of an effort to protect innocent children. 


And I fully support the grandma example, because if children know they can say ‘no’ to grandma and not be punished, have a healthy conversation with their parents or grandparents about their choice and why it’s so important to have that choice, then these children will be empowered to say something if they get approached, by their closest family member, any other family member, a neighbour, a stranger... they will know they are allowed to say NO and that they have unconditional support.


i am so sick of people not looking at facts and making their children vulnerable. 


I didn’t tell, i don’t even know if I knew it was wrong, because I was so young. I wish someone had given me the power to understand that it’s wrong, at least it wouldn’t have gone on for years.


I try to talk to people but even if I tell my story, their actions don’t change and it makes me so incredibly sad. 


Re: Upset about ‘grandma kisses’

@Aeiou   I fully agree with everything you just wrote.  I didn’t say anything either.  By the time I even knew what sex was (Sex Ed class in school) I had been sexually assaulted by 6 different people.  My last abuser called

himself my “adopted grandfather” (he was not a relative) and quite often kissed and hugged me in front of my parents - like grandparents do.  What happened behind closed doors was a total other story but to begin with I didn’t know it was wrong either.


My kids were all taught from an early age that their bodies were their own, and how to recognise when they were uncomfortable and how to say no.


It bugs me too that people get annoyed that kids can’t hug and kiss their grandparents, when the fact is most abusers are known, or related to the child.  Child protection needs to come first.

Re: Upset about ‘grandma kisses’

Thank you @Razzle for writing back.


I need to remind myself that not eveyone has the same opinion as the sensational media, but it's hard when they are real people around me making the same comments.


I learnt in therapy, and this is not to give my parents a free ride, that things were different back when I grew up. I still remember how proud I was to be 'all grown up' and responsible for myself at a very young age, which I now know was child neglect, and made me more vulnerable to be abused. I learnt that there wasn't much parent education around these subjects and there was most certainly was no internet, no royal commission, no metoo movement...


What are parents going to tell their children nowadays? That they were too ignorant to inform themselves? Down played what children learnt at school? Neglected them by putting them in front of a tablet before the age of 1? Breached their privacy, and we have to remember this is a recent phenonemon, by publishing photos from pretty much every stage of your life (including those we would have kept to dig out on their 21st)?


When debates like this come up, I feel worthless, I feel like people are saying a child is a property, so I was a property and it was ok what happened to me? I feel hopeless because the world is not learning or changing.

Re: Upset about ‘grandma kisses’

Hi @Aeiou and @Razzle   I'm hearing you and agreeing.    Protecting a child's innocence should be the most important thing.  And teaching them that their body is their own and they have the right to say no is a very important part of that.  I too had sa as a child.  I could say a lot about that and the impact it had on who I became, but would like to say instead that there are some in the world now who are writing a new script.  Working to undo transgenerational trauma.

My grandchildren are being raised this way I'm glad to say/see.  So as a grandmother I have learned to ask 'would you like a hug?' or 'can I give you a kiss?'  every time.  And as a result of my kids modeling this behaviour with their children, I now do it with everyone, no matter what age.  



Re: Upset about ‘grandma kisses’

@Aeiou   I think things were very different back when I was a child.  My abuse happened 40years ago.  No one had even heard the term paedophile let alone knew anyone in the community like that.  (Only my last abuser would have been considered one, the others were young adults, but not yet 18.)


My body was telling me that what was happening wasn’t right, but he started telling me that it was ok, that it was nice and that I would enjoy it.  It was only just before he started fully assaulting me that I knew it was wrong because he began to threaten me and by then I was helpless to stop it.


He groomed both myself and my parents, doting on me in front of them like I was his “adopted” grand daughter.  Then he started asking my mum if I could go to his flat on some weekends for lunch, which she saw as totally harmless, after all, he was a great man that just wanted to spoil me.


There was one weekend that (as I knew what was coming) I begged her to tell him I was sick and couldn’t go.  She got mad and said I was selfish, that he’d been so nice and all he wanted was to make me lunch.  She had no idea that I was being raped when I went there.  As it was, this particular day she called

him and said I was sick so I didn’t go, I caught up with a friend from school instead.  When I got home later that

day he was sitting at our kitchen table.  He’d called to check on me as I was “sick”. I had to walk him home and he threatened me all the way to his place that I would never do that again, and when I got home mum was so embarrassed to be caught out in a lie that she told me she would never lie for

me ever again.  That’s how well he had groomed my parents.


And you are right about parents parading their kids on social media,  not  that they realise what they are doing, but they are pretty much offering up their kids like a menu.  It sounds harsh, but that is the reality.  And I know what you mean by the media, all offended that we’re all too politically correct and you can’t even hug your own grandchild - well, no you shouldn’t unless that child says yes.


The child’s rights need to come first 

Re: Upset about ‘grandma kisses’

@eth   Our own experiences do lead us to better educate our own kids.  I did everything I could without going full “helicopter” parent to make sure my kids were safe.  I knew what red flags to look for, but I do worry that because my own kids didn’t experience it that they could get complacent and not know what to look for when it comes to their own children - and my kids generation are so much more into social media and that does worry me.

Re: Upset about ‘grandma kisses’

I wish I knew what was right or wrong when I was abused for 3 years as a child. I was never told.  Nothing was ever explained to me. 

I was totally used, abused and trust taken away from me. 

@Aeiou @Razzle @eth 

Re: Upset about ‘grandma kisses’

Sending warmest wishes @BlueBay @Aeiou @Razzle   Words are not enough sometimes, just want to say I feel for all of you with what you've gone through (#metoo). And I know that we're not the only ones on the forum who have.  The stats are really high for childhood abuse and later mental health problems.  It's a tragedy.  

I agree that the advent of social media, and the internet generally, have made so many predators more able to find their targets.

Another thing that riles me is how they groom their prey.  It's so insidious sometimes.  My child had some very close calls - I think single mums like I was are easier targets.  The worst was when I was in and out of hospital (post s attempt) and my own mother had her step-son babysitting my child despite knowing he had just finished serving time as a paedophile.  I didn't find out til a couple of years later, and because my mother wouldn't answer my questions I had to ask my child about it.  And the guy had clearly been grooming her based on the conversations she told me about.  I didn't talk to my mother for 15 years after that.  It is still 'the elephant in the room' and my now adult child (parent of my grandchildren) wants nothing to do with her, but she just doesn't get it (mum).  I could go on here but will stop now.  


Working towards living 'in the now' and dropping all the baggage I've carried for so many decades (as my closest support people would like me to be able to do) seems an insurmountable task at times.  

Re: Upset about ‘grandma kisses’

@eth  I’m hearing every word you say.  My first sexual assault at age 8 by the group was opportunistic, and when one of the group members got to me again a few weeks later, that was opportunistic too.  The next sexual assault at 10 was also opportunistic.


But the man who repeatedly assaulted me  for almost 2 years when I was 11 and 12 groomed both myself  and my parents for months before hand.  My family don’t know about my CSA, (not many people do) but if you asked my

mum now, and my father before he passed away what they thought of that man, they would sing his praises, in their eyes he was a good person who spoilt me rotten.


The other thing that really $hits me about the media is when someone finally comes forward and begins court proceedings against the abuser.  They finally have the courage to speak up only to be shot down by the key board warriors for waiting this long to say something.  I held my secret for 40 years, and only then did I tell my (at that time) marriage councellor, my best friend and filled in all the blanks to my husband.  I had told him before we married that something had happened, but gave no details, in fact, I’d only told him about the man and the 1 member of the group.  


Leaving the “baggage” behind so to speak is near impossible, I’ve tried.  Just when you think you are moving forward something happens and drags you right back to the start.  

Re: Upset about ‘grandma kisses’

Heart @Razzle  Very sorry to hear what you've been through.  

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