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“We Want Hope for Our Son”

You could hear the anguish in her voice. “We want hope for our son,” the woman said. “We just feel so frustrated with everything we have tried before.” Her son is acting out sexually in a way that has ostracized him from his community and made his parents his jailers. Other programs, ones that promised they could address his issues, have not been successful.

On this day she is part of a conference call between an educational consultant and Clinical Director Todd Spaulding. Despair fills her voice and the room. “This is not our first time or our second time or even our sixth time talking to someone who says they can help,” she says. She continues, “I’m coming from a place where I don’t understand.” Her voice rises and catches, “What have I done? How did I mess this up?”

The consultant assures her it is not a matter of “messing up.” He adds, “Oxbow is the best opportunity your boy has ever had in his life to talk without shame and guilt.”

Todd asks for more information about her boy – his age, specific sexual activities he is engaging in, other, seemingly unrelated behaviors. He explains Oxbow’s 90-day evaluation process. He talks about the school’s sex-specific culture. All Oxbow students have one thing in common, he says: sexual trauma, sexual abuse, or sexual addiction.

 She is skeptical and worried. What if being with “those kind” of boys makes her son act out more?

“Come and meet them,” Todd invites. He says, simply, “They’re great boys.” She is silent for awhile, perhaps thinking about her own son. She will come and see for herself.