Should we break through the veil of silence?
She found the courage to tell her brother what had happened. She told him quite a few years ago. Her motivation was very sincere, as she was concerned about any children they may have and she wanted to warn her brother to be vigilant with exposing any children to their father. Good on her!
Here is my dilemma. She hasn't confronted her father about the abuse and has not told her mother either. Her parents are still together and in their 60's. She still sees her parents and either stays at their place or they stay at hers. She is very cautious about not letting her daughters be alone with him. I applaud her for that.
The question I ask is....Should she tell her mother at least about what happened? Should she confront her father and let him know that she remembers what he did to her all those years ago?
I have found this situation numerous times as I hear about other people's abuse. I myself, didn't find the courage to confront my father for 34 years. So, I understand the reluctance to tell the truth. I am not judging her. But, is it better to get it all out in the open and let everyone be aware of what these men are capable of? That way everyone can make the choice from a position of truth as to whether this person has access to any potentially vulnerable victims. We did not cause any problem..they did! They are the ones who chose to molest their daughters and we are left with the agonizing decision about how we should handle it and who we should tell. Understandably, people don't want to 'cause waves' and tear apart families. But you know what....the family has already been torn apart by the abuser. The family is living a lie, pretending that everything is ok and all is normal. It's not. They are worried about how they will be perceived or believed. What a terrible burden this places on the already traumatised victims. As far as exposing our children to these people though, that is another matter.
My partner purchased a book last year "Allies in Healing" by Laura Davis. It is geared towards partners of people that are healing from SA. (great book..I highly recommend it) In it, there is a chapter that asks the question of whether or not we should let our children have any contact with our abusers. I will quote...
"In this situation, I have a definite opinion. Where children are concerned, it's always best to err on the side of caution. I have heard hundreds of stories from survivors who were certain they were the only victim, only to find out years later that their brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews, sons, daughters, and sometimes grandchildren had all been abused by the same perpetrator, an abuser systematically working his way through several generations of the same family. My grandfather started abusing me when he was 71. Age alone is not a deterrent.
Seriously ask yourself: "Would I let my child bond with a suspected child molester if he wasn't related to me?" If you found out that the local scoutmaster had a history of sexually abusing children, would you keep sending your son to scouting? If your babysitter was found guilty of molestation, would you keep paying her to take care of your baby girl? Why should your child's grandfather be treated differently?
We've all been raised with the commandment "Honor thy father and thy mother." But when people sexually abuse their children, they give up their right to be treated with respect and honour in the family. At the moment the survivor's father abused him, he gave up all the normal rights and privileges that go along with being a parent, including his right to have a relationship with his grandchildren." End quote....
I know this is a very difficult issue to address. As survivors we try so hard to be good parents because we know how bad our parents/other abusers can be. We try hard to protect our children. I guess the message here is that we cannot allow our children to have a relationship with the abuser. He/She forfeited that right a long time ago. That was their choice.
Let us make a choice that protects our kids. Yes, it may be awkward and uncomfortable to have to keep our kids away from the abuser. That is a small price to pay for keeping our kids safe. We don't want our kids to go through what we have.
I would like to hear your thoughts on this difficult issue.
Take care all.