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‘I don’t want my child to know her biological father because he may be a pedophile’ |

Health And Family

‘I don’t want my child to know her biological father because he may be a pedophile’

THE SEX ADVISOR - Eppy Halili Gochangco - The Philippine Star

Dear Eppy,

I was praying for guidance from God about what to do with my child when I thought of you. I need to know what is best for my child.  I know that I won’t hear God answer me, but I know He’ll find a way to make His answer known.  I have a child born out of an affair but carried the name of my ex-husband. Her real father is a married man and we parted ways because I found out that he may be a pedophile.

He would send me e-mails telling me that our child needs to know the truth. In my heart, I feel that doing so may only be detrimental to my child.  My child loves my ex-husband who she thinks is her real dad. Another reason I want to keep the truth from her is to protect her from a man with pedophilia tendencies. 

But there are times when I’m confused about being merciful.  I am keeping a father and child away from each other. But there is no such relationship as far as what the public and my child think is the truth.  Am I a bad person for trying to protect my child by keeping her away from her real father?  What, in your expert opinion, would be better for my child?  The truth or the shield I am building to protect her from emotional pain that the truth may bring?  Please enlighten me.

Confused Mom

Dear Confused Mom,

First of all, I’d like to thank you for reading The Philippine STAR and my column.  Thank you also for trusting me to help you find a solution to your problem.  I do hope that God answers your prayer through insights in my response.

Now, let me tackle your concerns.  No one has the right to judge you when it comes to protecting your child.  How can you be bad when your purpose is to protect your child?  Usually, I always respond by reading up on scientific and academic articles to support my position. But this time, I would like to speak from the heart.  This one time, I will step out of my “be objective” suit because this is a matter neither science nor the academe can truly respond to.  I feel that even if science has studied millions of cases similar to yours, it can never truly address your dilemma.  I can only try my best to present you with a different perspective to your concern.

If you feel that your daughter’s father is going to molest her, don’t you think there are other measures to prevent this?  The fact that you are able to keep your child away from her father until this time tells you that you have complete control of this.  If your child carries the last name of your ex-husband and not the name of her biological father, then legally, he can never come near your daughter if you say he can’t do so.  

If your intentions to keep a secret from your child is to protect her, then even if society and all professionals say that it is wrong to lie to your child, my position is that, from my heart, if that is the best way you can protect your child then you just have to do what you have to do and keep that guilt with you for the rest of your life.  No one has any right to challenge that choice.

But consider this: You seem to be so focused on protecting your child through secrecy that you might not be aware of the consequence of that type of protection.  Your daughter’s biological father can just approach her one day and tell her the truth.  Let’s say he does this when she is 14 years old.  This is the age when teenagers are overexcited, oversensitive, overemotional, and over-reactive.  When that day comes and your ex-lover gets a hold of your daughter, she will have to deal with two things: 1) She will have to deal with the pain of betrayal by her mother.  When she feels betrayed by her own mother, she will take it real bad.  How can she trust the rest of the world when she can’t trust her own mother?  This may affect her ability to relate with someone; and 2) because you were successful in keeping your secret, your daughter will succumb to the kind old man who told her the truth.  In order to take vengeance on you, she will connect with this man, opening herself up to the possibility of sexual abuse because she didn’t know that the man in front of her is the man she is in danger with.  That is, because you kept that information to yourself.  Thus, you have unwittingly set your daughter up to fall prey to the very person you protect her from.

If you read books that write about sexual abuse cases, there is a pattern in mothers who were sexually abused as children.  They unintentionally and unconsciously put her child in a situation where her child will be sexually abused.  Were you abused as a child?  Is this why you fear for your child?  If yes, then reflect on your mode of protecting your child, it might actually set your child up for sexual abuse instead of preventing the sexual abuse. 

I am curious about what you mean by “protect.”  May I know who you are really protecting?  Are you protecting your child from molestation, or are you protecting yourself from the consequences of letting your child know who her real father is?   Consider all these questions before making a final decision. Eppy                 

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