• Carmen Rempel

I had to explain roofies to my 12 year old today

Updated: Apr 11

*Trigger warning: Rape, sexual abuse


I had to explain to my 12 year old about roofying today.


We were skating at the outdoor rink downtown in the evening. She danced to her music as she skated around, drawing eyes with her joie-de-vivre. I was just trying to keep up and not fall on my butt while taking pictures.

We had been there for over an hour and both of us were thirsty from the effort. We hobbled awkwardly in our skates over to the little road-side food truck and bought a pop each. We sat on a bench near the fire, watching the little Timbits hockey boys rip around the rink playing a game of tag, while listening to a brass band play live Christmas carols. You couldn't get a more perfect Canadian Christmas moment than that one. After a few sips she put her drink down on the bench and hopped up to go again, grabbing my arm, saying "Let's go!"

I told her that we had to finish our drinks first, because we couldn't leave them open and unattended. She looked at me, rosy cheeked and big eyed and asked "How come?"


...


I asked her to sit down for a minute so I could explain something to her. She hobbled back and kurplunked down beside me, a serious look on her young face, no doubt mirroring mine.

I explained to her that sometimes people would slip a drug into someone else's drink so that they could take advantage of them sexually while they were drugged.

She asked me if I knew anyone that had happened to.

"Yes. I do. Too many." I said, faces and names of friends coming to my mind.

I told her that anytime she is around people she doesn't know and trust, to never leave her drink unattended. I told her to be aware that not everyone is to be trusted, and some do not have her best interest at heart.


My tone was solemn as I was grieved by the fact that I would have to share some of the dark things of our world with a child, for the sake of her protection. I was afraid that knowing about such evil things would cause a shadow of fear to come over her bright face. I didn't want knowledge of horrible things to make her feel unsafe and hamper her joy.


She simply shrugged, "Makes sense." chugged the rest of her Pepsi, and took off onto the ice, shouting over her shoulder, "I'll do a lap while you finish yours!"


She danced to her music as she skated away.

And as I watched this unaffected child make her way lightly down the ice, her charming simplicity almost a spotlight on her in the dark, I couldn't imagine that anyone would ever want to harm her. I couldn't fathom the depravity that it would require of someone to wish ill on this beautiful little child.


I grieved the state of the world she was born into.

I was born into.

We were born into.

For they were all beautiful children.


To my friends whose childhoods were stolen by evil,

I'm sorry,

it wasn't your fault.

You are a beautiful child who deserved better.


Teach your daughters to be aware,

but do not let them live in fear.

Teach them not to be naive,

but do not burden them with anxiety.

Instruct them about the evils they should avoid,

but give them the security of teaching them their strength.


Meanwhile,

Mothers,

Fathers,

Grandparents,

Uncles and Aunts,

Let us raise our children to have compassion for one another.

Let us raise our children to love, not just consume.

Let us raise our children to feel safe in the knowledge that if they speak up, they will be listened to and protected.


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