Everyone has went through the ‘closed mouth’ syndrome. We have at some point wanted to tell or ask someone for something but out of fear of their reactions, we kept our mouths closed.
I remember as a young girl I was always afraid to speak. I was adopted by a physically abusive woman who believed that kids were to be seen not heard. I became an introvert because of the way she raised me. I kept to myself because I didn’t really know how to speak for myself. This led to me being bullied and alienated from other kids my age, they thought I was weird.
This also led to me not telling someone when I was molested by a foster mother’s son (after my adoption broke due to the child abuse) at 14 years old. I was scared to tell her because I didn’t know if she’d believe me. If she kicked me out, I didn’t know where they would move me. She always said I was fast and promiscuous so for that reason, I kept my mouth shut.
I was raped later on that year when I went to another foster home by a guy I called my boyfriend. After being molested as a child from 3-6 years of age in my first foster home, being molested at 14, and now raped; I just figured that this was life. I had been told nothing different other then what I had experienced. So I didn’t tell my new foster mom about the rape either. I endured with a closed mouth and wounded heart.
I watched a movie this past weekend called “Mississippi Damned.” This movie touched bases on the true root of where a lot of sexual abuse begins, from family members and family friends. In this movie the sexual abuse begin with a young boy being conned into doing a sexual favor for his uncle to get money for a basketball playing trip. This young boy in turn, raped his younger cousin shortly after. She kept her MOUTH CLOSED. No one knew what happened because the family was rowdy and focused on themselves she didn’t know how to tell them. Come to find out at the end of the movie, it was discovered that the young boys mother had been molested all of her life by her biological father and her mother knew, and did NOTHING.
It was a generational happening for this family. The bad thing about this situation is that everyone had kept their mouths shut. If this mother would have set down with her son and spoke to him about inappropriate behaviors coming from adults based on her past, he would have known how to respond to the sexual proposition from his uncle. Since everyone had the ‘closed mouth’ syndrome, this led to more people being hurt behind this horrible action. The young man grew up in this movie and ended up engaging in intercourse with a young lady around 14 years old (consensual) but it was statutory rape. If the young cousin had spoken up and told someone, that could have saved that young ladies life.
This movie touched and broke my heart all at the same time because it touched home for me. It opened up my eyes to the problems that GROW behind the ‘closed mouth’ syndrome. All too often parents/adults, are too ashamed of something that they have been through so they keep secrets. Those secrets can lead to ruining the lives of many because there is no knowledge of serious situations that are or have occurred so the NEXT person doesn’t know what to do, so they do nothing.
I talk to my 7 and 9 year old sons all the time about inappropriate sexual behaviors. I ask them every week if someone has touched, said or looked at them in any way that made them uncomfortable. I want them to know that they can talk to me about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. I want them to be aware of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior from a peer or adults. I’m teaching my sons, AWARENESS. I want to protect them from ever being hurt, if I can help it.
The ‘closed mouth’ syndrome leads to pain creating pain. If people worried more about talking these things over with their children, we probably wouldn’t have so many cases of child rape and molestation reports in the news WEEKLY. Please don’t be afraid to talk to your children about ‘signs and behaviors’ that indicate inappropriate behavior that can lead to short term or long term sexual abuse. Teach your children to be aware of what isn’t okay, teach them what to do if something does happen. Talk to them, be honest about your past, so that your child doesn’t end up reliving what you’ve already went through.