Last week The Times reported that two young girls are to be locked in their bedroom at night with intruder alarms so that their mother can sleep with a man who has served a prison sentence for a sexual offence against a girl who was under 13. Part of the report justifying the arrangements explained that the man slept on the side of the mother away from the bedroom door so any attempt on his part to leave the room during the night would be likely to disturb the mother; this, it was claimed, would deter him from approaching her daughters .
The girls’ father left them and their mother some time ago and has a new partner. He has no contact with his daughters now.
I wonder how the “professionals meeting” which sanctioned such arrangements might react should the girls decide that such arrangements reveal a significant risk to them. What would these experts say should the girls decide not to wait to see whether their step-father really was a reformed character and seek ways of killing him before he can attack them? Why, we should surely be asking ourselves, why should these girls not launch a first strike lest mother’s new love take advantage of his easy proximity? We do know that, should the girls stay their hands, and should the man strike again, it will then be too late for them to act in self-defence.
Usually we are not surprised to hear of the determination of mothers to protect their children at any cost to themselves. In this case it seems to me that it is not only the girls’ father who has abandoned them.