to assume most women would not stay with their husbands in this situation?

(482 Posts)
mrshunkermunker Wed 26-Feb-14 09:21:12

If you discovered your husband was a paedophile, would you stand by him? I know it seems like a no-brainer, but this is a situation in my family and ive been surprised by some peoples reactions. As its not something I want to talk about in real life, I thought here would be a good place to get an idea of other peoples thoughts (this is my first post).
So here's some background. My fil, an apparently upstanding member of society, was arrested for paedophilia two years ago. He had been grooming and abusing my ten year old neice and had thousands of images on his computer. He's now in prison. It was a complete shock to everybody, including his wife. Obviously its a really difficult situation and no one really knows how they'd feel if it happened to them, so I'm not 'getting at' my mil, who is a kind and generous person, but imoan overly adoring wife. She and other family members, including my own parents keep talking of forgiveness. I want nothing to do with the man (I don't mind my husband having contact with his dad, if he wants to). I can't imagine wanting to stay with a man in that situation. Surely that's not an unusual response to have?!

WarWarrior Wed 26-Feb-14 09:22:12

never, ever. Not ever.

AllThatGlistens Wed 26-Feb-14 09:23:24

I'd never, ever set eyes on him again. Ever.

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Wed 26-Feb-14 09:27:53


But you are right, people's reactions differ. My friend's brother was accused and eventually convicted of offences against his step children and their friends. My friend supported the victims, who were hugely relieved as for them the worst aspect was not being believed. My friend's parents no longer speak to him as they will not acknowledge his brother's guilt at all. They have chosen to cut off the child who did the right thing and support the convicted paedophile.

I cannot understand it at all.

ahlahktuhflomp Wed 26-Feb-14 09:28:56

I can understand why some people might stand by a spouse on the basis that they have sworn to stay together until death, but I could not begin to contemplate this at all with a child molester.

To be quite frank, it does not really seem natural that it is even a problem anyone should face, as a state that remotely gives a shit about the safety of its inhabitants will either execute such people - or given an ethical decision no to execute, permanently remove them from normal society, either of which should mean nobody really has to make this choice.

mrshunkermunker Wed 26-Feb-14 09:35:31

Thank you for your replies. I was fairly sure I wasn't unreasonable in my assumption. They've been married for forty years and she sees it as her job to 'help'him. I don't want to be unkind to my mil, she's suffering immensely and she is a good grandmother who my children love to see. But when she talks about visiting fil as though I'm concerned for his wellbeing I feel like I'm in a parallel universe.

oldwomaninashoe Wed 26-Feb-14 09:36:02

About 30 years ago my parents were friendly (through their church) witha lovely lady who was married to a schoolmaster, as he didn't attend church they only had contact with him occasionally socially. when his "crimes" were discovered his poor wife was so mortified that she upped and left her job her home, her friends etc. She told my parents she wanted to go somewhere were no-one knew her, or her history, and despite being a good christian woman she was not able at that time to show any forgiveness towards him.

To me that seemed a fairly normal reaction

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 26-Feb-14 09:36:36

Sadly, I think some people have very low personal standards and can (or believe they should) tolerate all kinds of appalling behaviour in their partners. Families are routinely loyal to the most atrocious characters currently doing time in various prisons. Remember Harold Shipman's wife?

What is unacceptable in your story is that others are trying to engage you in forgiveness. They are free to do as they please, of course, but they shouldn't be coercing you in any way to betray your DN. I also think your DH's loyalty is questionable.

Does 'upstanding member of society' mean there is a religious aspect to any of this? Religion tends to emphasise forgiveness of course.

Enb76 Wed 26-Feb-14 09:39:58

Regardless of the offence, your FIL is still the person that presumably your MIL loves. It's hard to turn off those feelings I'd imagine especially given how long they've been together. Without him, she'd have to start all over again and the fear of that may be more than the disgust at what he's done. I bet she feels that this way, she can keep an eye on him and make sure it doesn't happen again. I feel immensely sorry for her and anyone in the same situation.

vvviola Wed 26-Feb-14 09:42:54

An ex boyfriend of mine was arrested on similar offences.

I walked away the moment I heard. We'd been on the verge of moving in together, I'd postponed an important career move to be with him. Ok, so not a marriage, but still.

There is no way I could even contemplate having someone like that in my life. ten years on I still have literal nightmares about what could have happened had I not found out until further down the line

AnyFuckerHQ Wed 26-Feb-14 09:43:02

I think situations like this highlight how much "men" are prized by society and the underlying message is that we have to "understand" and forgive anything in order to preserve our relationships with them

Fuck that

bumbumsmummy Wed 26-Feb-14 09:44:25

You sound perfectly normal and your reactions are understandable so YADNBU

But when he gets out will he have access to you DC ?

Apparently this is how they work peodo's etc by surrounding themselves with supporters then they simply carry on

Could it be that your DH family are in denial about all this because if the true extent were known then the family as they see it would be destroyed ? And who can bare to think of themselves as facilitating such behaviour

Protect yourself and your children

MewlingQuim Wed 26-Feb-14 09:46:04

IME people say that they wouldnt have anything to do with someone like that, they even believe it.

But when it is a actually their partner, relative or friend suddenly its 'oh it must have been a mistake' 'she made it up' 'it wasnt that bad' etc.

People still expect the bad guys to have glowing red eyes and a widow s peak, not be someone they love.

smiffy54 Wed 26-Feb-14 09:46:58

An old aquaintance of mine, who i once considered a good friend, was convicted last year of possessing images of extreme child pornography on his PC. He was a valuable(?) volunteer at the family support groups that i managed, worked as a TA at a local primary school, and did my wedding photo's. i bumped into him, totally ignorant of the charges, and he asked for a character reference, which of course i refused. Teenage children now in care, and his wife, who is disabled, left to cope alone, because she has chosen to Stand by her Man.( she does not need daily care, and is working) I do feel guilty as she felt that she could rely on me and others for support but she always tries to excuse his behaviour and says he would never actually touch a "real" child, but...

Burren Wed 26-Feb-14 09:47:55

What a horrible situation. How is your niece?

I don't know, I would assume (if, as you say, she's a decent person) that your MIL is absolutely devastated, and that keeping going as usual -including prison visits to her husband - is her coping mechanism, rather than an indication she is indifferent to his crime. You'll know better than any of us whether she's trying to smother the whole thing in a veil of forgiveness, or desperately trying to find a way of going on living, like parents forgiving their child's murderer.

I agree with Cogito though that she should not be trying to engage you in her desire to forgive, though. And of course the difference from the murder victim parent situation is is that his victim is alive, young and vulnerable to a situation where it looks as if her abuser's behaviour is being condoned by their shared family.

I think it shows people's ability to stick their fingers in their ears and sing la la la I can't hear you!

I wouldn't walk away either. I'd run.

People really can be weird....

NCISaddict Wed 26-Feb-14 09:48:41

I think if, God forbid, one of my children was found guilty of this type of crime, I would still love them. I would not like them and would feel horrendously guilty and want them to admit their guilt and take whatever punishment was meted out to them but I couldn't stop loving them.
I guess it would be the same with a parent, would still love them but not like them and would not allow my children to have access to them whilst children.

Burren Wed 26-Feb-14 09:50:05

Oh, and does your MiL ever see your niece?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 26-Feb-14 09:50:59

It seems to be very common.

I think people "side" with the perpetrator in these situations so that they don't have to re-examine their own behaviour, and also out of fear of change, upheaval, and rocking the boat.

Sort of like: if I downplay, forgive, pretend it's all ok, maybe all this horridness will go away. I won't have to face it.

Or: If I downplay, forgive, or pretend the perpetrator's behaviour is ok, then I won't have to question my own judgement in befriending/marrying a bad person, or question whether there were things I could and should have stopped.

It's cowardly self-preservation.

mrshunkermunker Wed 26-Feb-14 09:51:06

Enb76 yes, thats very much how she seems to see it. Her motives are good, and I sort of understand where zhes coming from, but still find it hard to relate to her attitude.
Cogito, I wouldn't say people are trying to coerce me, more that they approach it from a different angle. Dh is not really being loyal to his dad, he's not visited or written to him and doesn't want our children to have any contact with him. There is no intention of contact with him, though his dad does write every so often. He may see him again, given his mother will be living with him when he comes out of prison.

I know of a woman who stood by her convicted paedophile husband, she also had children with him after she knew. I don't know what happened to those children but I hope to god he didn't touch them. (this was over 30years ago)

I don't understand people who stand by paedophiles.

SanityClause Wed 26-Feb-14 09:51:51

I had a BF, when I was younger, and his father had sexually abused his neice (i.e. the father's granddaughter).

My BF was the only member not to immediately forgive his father for what he had done, and he was under strong family pressure to make it up with him, and finally did. (Whether he truly forgave, or just smoothed things over, I don't know. I do know he now lives abroad from his family.)

Looking back at this, I am appalled.

Why was family harmony, and not rocking the boat seen as more important than the father getting his just deserts?

Reading AF's post, I think that she is probably right.

Spottybra Wed 26-Feb-14 09:52:13

I'd never mutter his name again or have any contact. But I have dc to look after first so that would be my main concern.

ghostinthecanvas Wed 26-Feb-14 09:52:21

Your parents are talking of forgiveness too? You don't actually say if you DH is. Just that you wouldn't mind him having contact.
FIL didn't abuse one child, he abused hundreds. He probably has physically abused more than your niece. How do her parents feel about all the love and understanding going on?
If my DH wanted contact with his father after something like this, thats a deal breaker for me. If my parents thought this was forgivable, again, dealbreaker. They could all fuck off.
I would also be talking to FILs own children. How deep does this go? Who else has he abused over the years?

WilsonFrickett Wed 26-Feb-14 09:52:27

^I think situations like this highlight how much "men" are prized by society and the underlying message is that we have to "understand" and forgive anything in order to preserve our relationships with them

Fuck that^


Yanbu. But then, it's not uncommon for women to believe and 'stand by' their man in this situation and clearly your MIL is very firmly in denial. By pretending everything is 'normal' she is protecting herself and 40 years of history. I have to say I'd also have huge problems with your DP wanting contact with his dad - I suspect that means it will all become a nasty family secret with everyone having limited contact and furiously pretending everything's OK. It's so not.

Your poor niece, I hope she is doing OK and that you are able to support her.

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