or An Object Lesson in Denial
My extended family just had the annual family reunion. I manage to keep informed through a sympathetic cousin. She is a semi-retired social worker (currently a full time mom). I am forced to rely on her information because my own brother and sister wish to have nothing to do with me.
You see, about 7 years ago, I blew the lid off of three generations of pedophiles in our family tree. Only one was openly known at that time. He had been jailed for over a decade. A male cousin of mine. All that was known was that he was in jail for molesting a boy. I only recently found out that it was actually 20 plus counts of sexual abuse of 5 different minors. Seven years ago, I openly accused that man’s father of molesting me and his own three children.
Needless to say, I myself have not been an honored guest of ye old reunion.
The result 7 years ago was difficult for everyone. The victims, the perpetrator, and the innocent bystanders. My brother and sister belong to that latter category.
Not survivors of incest.
Not child molesters themselves.
They are just part of the extended family. They have been forced to face the ugly truths of childhood sexual abuse within their own family. There is understandable shock, anger, and even degrees of denial. It is a very difficult thing to comprehend, let alone endure. Especially when, later, additional stories of molestation happening to my aunt and her mother (my grandmother) came to light. Three generations of pedophiles with different predilections attacking different family members.
I visited with my siblings in person just after making my accusation. I wanted them to have every opportunity to ask questions and test my credibility. I was afraid they would not believe me. But that was not the case. They were not all that surprised. They had suspected something greater behind the curtain of just one pedophile cousin and our own dysfunctional parents. They found my revelation to only confirm their suspicions.
Hate isn’t a very Christian thing.
To be more accurate, I have loathed both my brother and sister only temporarily.
I simply have no respect for them anymore.
They have a twisted moral compass and zero credibility as “decent human beings.”
I tried to keep up talking with them even after my brother seriously hurt me by asking that I “don’t raise a stink” on the family name.
The Uncle that molested me and his three children had worked for the largest employer in the city. A large factory. A well known international manufacturer that has sponsored it’s own NASCAR team since the 1990’s. My brother was very proud of his own place in the company and was “afraid it would hurt his career” since he had the same last name; and especially since he now had a very prestigious position with the company in security. His job position has direct ties to the tighter security fears after 9-11. He is very high up.
That hurt. A lot. His job mattered more than my cries to protect the next generation.
A couple of years later I received a short, intelligent text message from my sister-in-law that said: “We do not know what kind of support you need from us, but your brother and sister are not able to give it. And I do not want to be stuck in the middle.”
I was shocked. Outraged. Betrayed.
I was very clear about what I needed from them.
At the time I broke the silence they asked me point blank: “What do you need?”
Right after hearing me explain what my Uncle had done to me, what he had made me do; I told them.
Just keep in touch with me. Please.
I live 350 miles away. Mom and Dad refuse to accept that Uncle could do such a thing. They said that I was sick. No one was talking to me that I needed to hear from.
“Just send me a text once a week or so,” I asked. Tell me what you had for dinner. (I used that very example!) I just wanted to stay connected with them. Let me know what their kids were up to. The family was into hunting. Sports. There is a farm. Lots of work going on. Anything they would care to share, I would be glad to hear. Give me a lifeline please.
“We do not know what kind of support you need from us, but . . .”
And that was water under the bridge by 2018. I had written them off.
So, I haven’t had any contact with my brother and sister for about six years. I was pretty resigned to let it stay that way.
What happened now?
I found out something that made my twisted world turn a new screw.
The annual family reunion that recently took place was held in a home just yards away from my brothers house. There are over 14 people in my generation. We have all had our own kids. Some two, some more. There were six in my perp uncle’s generation. Plus spouses. So, there is a substantial number of people that come. My cousin was kind enough to send me pictures. I noticed that my brother and sister, their children and grandchild did not attend. I asked why.
“They never come,” I was told.
I found that fact singularly infuriating.
My brother was in fact working at the time of the get together. But his wife, two sons, daughter-in-law and grandchild live just yards away from where everyone else had gathered. They came from miles. From across states. And my brother’s family couldn’t cross a field? My sister couldn’t drive with her husband and son the ten miles from her house ?!?
What possible reason could they have to avoid the family for over 5 years?
“They never come.”
They were not sexually molested.
Their children had not been harmed.
They didn’t have to break down a wall of shame and silence to come forward and expose the truth. They didn’t alienate their own parents. They didn’t win the hatred of three other victims.
All they had to do was endure the fallout like all the other innocent family members.
The three children of the accused perpetrator Uncle didn’t come. Makes sense.
He is thankfully dead as far as I’m concerned. But his wife didn’t come either. Also makes sense. But one of her grandchildren faced the potential shame to come! And the accused was his Grandfather.
I want to know what possible reason my brother and sister could have in cutting themselves off from the entire family for 5 years. What right do they have to hold a grudge? Why should they be angry? What possible shame do they have ?!? How have they been wounded?
From my point of view, their only shame is in abandoning the brother that only asked to be talked to.