Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
help me rationalize please(68 Posts)
Tonight I discover that my best friends bil has been imprisoned for child sex offense. I am in a state of complete shock I guess you would call it as we have socialised with this man since my dd was born (7 years) and although I know I never let my dd out of my sight so no harm has come to her, I am really struggling with my rage at my best friend's dh who knew this was his second offense and not only didn't tell me or my best friend but let us even invite thus monster into our home last Christmas as he is single and we didn't want him to be alone.
My friend is struggling to understand my feelings and has begged me not to say anything to her dh as he is obviously ashamed and embarrassed. She never had children and doesn't understand that I am furious that my dd could have been in a potentially harmful position. It doesn't help that I was abused as a child and this has always been my greatest fear.
My dh struggles with emotions and has said next to nothing...no anger, no fear, nothing. Therefore I am trying to work through how I feel alone.
I want to punch my df's husband but this will be fruitless won't it as its highly unlikely this situation would ever happen again isn't it?
My friend needs my support and I will be there for her no matter what but I need to vent how I feel and it looks like you mnr's will have to be my release.
Please tell me something to reassure me that everything will be ok and I haven't let dd down?
And I am sorry for any spelling mistakes, I am too upset to check.
I'm not sure why you shouldn't say something to your friend's DH. He knowingly allowed your child to be placed in danger. You have absolutely no chance of being able to maintain a relationship with your friend if you don't say something because it will eat away inside of you and then come out in a worse way.
I'm sure he is embarrassed. He should be on his bloody knees asking for your forgiveness. But I don't see why you should brush this under the carpet just because it happens to suit him. And not having children is not an excuse for failing to understand why you would be angry, by the way.
Given this has understandably triggered memories of your own abuse, I wonder if it is worth seeking some counselling? This may help you process your thoughts in a safe space.
Of course the main thing to remember is that nothing did happen and your dd is thankfully unharmed. Your friends have demonstrated a very severe lack of judgement, however. Him before and her now.
Thank you trib, I agree with what you say.
I just can't get my head around why he thought it was ok to not tell me? He has kids, he should know how important it is? Why isn't she angry with him? I mentioned that she must have had a right go at him for not telling her and she just said "he has enough on his plate"!
This is what made me think that there is something wrong with how I feel? I need someone to tell me my reaction is understandable...or not.
"I just can't get my head around why he thought it was ok to not tell me?"
There could be any number of motives ranging from avoidance to thoughtlessness to misplaced family loyalties to him having been convinced by his brother that he was a reformed character. Keeping silent as your DH is doing will only result in frustration and resentment. Punching people is no way to get your point across, however. If you've known her DH for so long a 'what were you thinking?' conversation is necessary to clear the air. If he's ashamed and embarrassed it'll give him chance to apologise in person.
I'm sure he's embarrassed He may have even thought it was a one off and his B would ever reoffend or even that he was innocent originally. YOu just don't know but I think you should speak to him. However he felt, he had a duty really to tell you as although nothing happened, it could've & the risk was clearly there if he has reoffended.
I'd try to keep my cool and speak to him (though I'd want to punch him too).
Sorry you're having to deal with all this. I imagine it's pretty uncomfortable considering your own history
"I haven't let dd down?"
You can't protect your DCs from risks you don't know exist. You can't protect DCs from risk in general, it's always a judgement. You can't monitor their every waking movement, you can only provide reasonable supervision. Short of asking your friend 'is your BIL a paedophile?' or asking the police for background checks before inviting someone over for a meal, how were you to know there was anything wrong with the man?
Now that you know the truth, you won't let this man within a mile of your DD. So no, you haven't let her down.
Also, just because you haven't had children doesn't mean you can't make sure you're keeping others DCs safe.
I've had similar recently in that someone I know was imprisoned for the seconds time for child sex offences. It's awful and you can't rationalise it. I've got no helpful advice but I know how you feel.
I need someone to tell me my reaction is understandable...or not.
An acquaintance of mine was imprisoned (for a loooong time) for sex offended against children. I'm child free, so in a very diffetent situation to you, and I didn't spend much time with him - more of an Internet friend. But when I found out about everything I was so so so shocked. Speechless, jaw in floor-shocked. It was one of the worst experiences I've ever had, which sounds odd and like me being a bit 'special' but the whole thing was vile and he seemed so ordinary.
I think I'm saying to try to be too brave and deny your own feelings of, I presume, shock and disgust. You're someone's mum so it's different but don't underestimate your reaction and please look after yourself x
I'm wittering now, sorry. I wrote my ex friend a letter that I never sent then put him from my mind. He chose me, out of our mutual friends, to invite to write to him in jail
Thank you all for responding. I really needed to be able to discuss this with someone. The anger is bubbling away inside me but I didn't mean it about punching, it was just an expression of showing my incomprehension and anger at how someone could knowingly let me take my child to bbqs and parties and times when you are relaxed...I'm waffling with all the thoughts. I can't stop trying to remember every move that was made in every social gathering for the past seven years.
I do know one thing and that is if my brother had been in prison already I would never have put my friends in the position I have been put in. I would never have believed that prist would have stopped his thoughts and actions towards children. I really don't think it's a simple as locking someone up. All I know that it takes children away from the danger of him whilst he is locked up...which will probably only be a few years with good behaviour.
I understand that I can't know that my next door neighbour could be a paedophile but I take the necessary precautions with anyone I don't know well. I feel that I should have been told or should never have been invited around when he was there.
My friend I believe would never have allowed it to happen if she had known but she is not angry at him?
she got angry at me because I said I couldn't understand how he could have allowed this situation and when she phoned back to apologize for swearing at me she said she didn't 'think' that I would be upset! How could she think that? If I had been
Thank you kali, I think maybe if a write a couple of letters and then tear them up, stamp on them and burn them then maybe that will help? I have done that before to try and help me with past issues. If anyone wrecked my dds life like the first 30 years of mine were then I will have failed. I can't believe the danger was there and someone knew!
She swore at you? Doesn't sound like much of a friend to me. If you want a rationale for her response I think there it's summed up as 'closing ranks'. Going on the attack to defend her DH's judgement. Most people would be mortified at finding out their BIL was a sex offender and would not only be furious at their partner having been kept in the dark but would also insist they apologise to anyone their poor judgement had affected. She'd want to make amends and repair the friendship. I think you're going to have to give the whole family a wide berth if she's doing the opposite.... because it means her judgement is as bad as his.
One hears a lot about writing letters you'll never send and I was sceptical but it really worked for me. A couple of drafts to something I was happy with. I did show it to some mutual friends, some of whom understood was I was trying to do, and some you couldn't understand why I cared about him. Which I didn't, it was for me.
As I say the situation was different and I didn't have a DC who I was prevented from protecting through others bad decisions. I'm sorry that you have been and completely empathise your anger. Uselessly, I dont have specific advice on that apart from not doing anything too hastily.
Men who abuse children are vile creatures. Your friend is so completely out of order it's shocking. I'd worry about these people's moral fibre and integrity. You don't allow child abusers anywhere near anyone's children, it's just so wrong. I'm not surprised you're so angry, quite bloody right too. If I was in your position I'd think hard about these people and whether they are deserving of your friendship
Maybe he couldn't believe it was true about his brother. He didn't keep anything from you if he Honestly thought it wasn't true or if he had repressed his thoughts about it?
It's something that is so abhorrent he may have just pushed all the information away, IYSWIM?
So abhorrent this is the second time he's been imprisoned
As usual, Cog has it with the rubbish friends and their crap reactions. Its gone way beyond "Poor them, they couldn't believe he was a monster!" and managing ones reactions to let them off the hook.
My step father abused me as a child. When my mother found out he was dying she wanted to get back with him as he was 'the love of her life'.
If they had got back together she would never have seen me and my child ever again.
I still feel massively betrayed after telling her what he did that she would consider getting back with this pervert years later.
When he died his first and second (me & my half sister) families were banned from his funeral in case we told what he was really like.
Not quite the same but I understand your anger.
Some things are unforgivable. Putting a child at risk of a known bastard is one of them. I would never forgive or trust these people again.
Thank you again all. I have to try and calm down and get my thoughts straight, it is so hard. I really value all your opinions on this.
Xales, I am so sorry that happened to you especially with the double betrayal of your own mother. Why do women collude with the monsters so often?
my friend told me she recalled her husband telling her when they first got together that he was visiting an uncle in the town where his brother was in prison. How can she not be furious that he lied to her? Is she 'colluding'?
we are supposed to see them tonight, my dh is fine with going but I don't know if I can sit there and pretend I am not beside myself with anger I have never felt before. I wouldn't be able to confront df's dh as his mother who is suffering with dementia (who knows all of the situation) will be there as paedo was her carer. She is confused and upset and she doesn't deserve to be involved in an argument, which I am sure it would end up as if they continue to justify not telling me.
friend said she can't bear the thought of him being beaten up in prison again! How dare she say that to me? She is being an ostrich as she hasn't even got the full information of what he did and doesn't want to know. I know I could Google and find out but not sure if that would torture me more?
They have known for a week or so but her dh made her promise not to tell me until sentancing.
I know she is suffering but how can she not understand how I feel? I don't think my loyalty to her as a friend is stong enough
For me to not say anything.
I'm sorry I am waffling, I can't think of anyone to talk to who isn't involved in the circle of friends. She has asked me not to say anything other than my dh but I really don't think she has a right to ask that...especially when it will be in the paper?
I think your friend really needs you to be her friend in this. I know you have worries about What Ifs, but this isn't just about you.
I've read through again, I can't see why you are so upset with your friends. They've done the best they could in a situation any of us could find ourselves in.
OP, it seems that you are in a swirl of emotions at this point, and I can imagine that this is a turbulent and confusing time for you. I am sorry that this is happening, especially as it brings up memories of your own abuse as a child.
So it seems that your friend and her husband have deliberately kept some very important information about BIL secret from you. The reasons are not important. It is the fact that they kept this secret from you in the first place. If you had know that there was a previously incarcerated child sex offender in your social circle, you could have taken the appropriate decision and steps to not have this person in you company. The fact that they deliberately deceived you is the crux of the argument.
To complicate matters even further, your friend has asked you not to have it out with her DH because "he has a lot on his plate". Having a lot to cope with does not absolve him of the responsibility of his deception. You would be well within your rights to have it out with him and tell him exactly how much he has knowingly endangered the welfare of your child.
Lastly, I think that in the long term, these people are not friends that you should be associating with. A true friend does not put you and your loved ones in the path of danger to satisfy their desires (whatever they might be). They could have chosen to manage this so differently. The recidivism rates for child sex offenders are very very high, and they are rarely ever considered 'reformed'.
You don't have to see them today! You really don't. Not if you're not ready.
This bit is all about Buzzard. Her friends can deal with their reactions while she deals with hers.
I think it's very clear that you don't socialise with this pair any more. It's not their fault exactly that they have such a dysfunctional relative, but it was their choice to hide information which would at least have given you a choice. FWIW I don't believe your friend was in the dark. If she knew the brother was in prison in the past, surely the obvious question is 'what is he in for?'
Thank you, the thing is I haven't made it all about me as the reason I agreed to still see them tonight was to show support so how anyone can say something so cruel and heartless when I am obviously suffering is beyond me.
I spent several hours on the phone with her last night to let her talk it through as she has to tell other people as well.
I out of anyone else has more right to be sickened and angry as I am the only one who's child has been exposed to this monster regularly.
I am going now to find all the gifts he gave my dd to get rid of them if that's ok and I'm not making it "all about me"?
thank you to everyone else for your kind words that have really helped someone who has no-one else to talk to. I considered phoning my mum who I am not particularly close to but didn't want her to feel a fraction of what I feel. How selfish am i?
If it would make you feel better, and your daughters won't miss the presents, get rid of them then.
I was lucky I had a close group of people in the same situation to talk and talk and talk to.
Do what you need to to do. And when you've personally come down off the ceiling you'll hopefully feel better placed to respond. It's probable that your friend isn't having the easiest time of it either.
Another bunch of
Tell everyone. He has abused children he is dangerous I'd want to know, who wouldn't? He's given up his right to privacy by irreparably damaging who knows how many children. I'm surprised by some comments here, but that's what you get in a public forum. You know who's making sense and who isn't. Ignore the selfish stuff, it's crap
Thank you cogito, I agree. Sorry if I wasn't clear (i seem to have lost the ability to be clear) but my friend's dh lied to her when he was 'visiting', she didn't know about his brother having done anything before last week. It was her lack of reaction to him not only lying to her from the beginning but also allowing her to invite us along whenever his brother and mother visited, which was frequently. I thought maybe it hasn't sunk in with her yet and when it does then she will react in the way I would have?
Telling everyone would cause harm and upset to the friend, her family and perhaps a paediatrician living 100 miles away.
Unlikely, one incident is not enough to prevent right actions. Preventing other children being abused, now thats responsible and right
So your friend was as ignorant as you, and has also been lied to be the husband? The poor woman, she must feel dreadful. And grateful that you spent seven hours on the phone with her. She must be all over the place.
She may be furious with him behind closed doors or, yes, it may have not sunk in yet. But the fact that she swore at you, is openly defending her HD, and doesn't seem to have the emotional intelligence to work out why a mother is upset at her precious DCs having been exposed to a dangerous man.... that's why you don't socialise with her. The pair of them are irresponsible.
Thank you kalid and job. I hope that some people get the joy they are after when they reduce people asking for an outlet to tears. Maybe that is good as I never cry and it might help.
My dd won't miss the gifts as they were jewellery which she isn't interested in and yes, it will make me feel better to remove items that were touched by a filthy pervert and given to my innocent child. Strange that!
Joblot, he has been imprisoned. What cjildren are at risk, that will also be protected by talk?
Newsflash- child abusers often continue to access child porn and groom families, and he will be released at some point. Recidivism is a big issue with child abusers.
He can access porn and groom children from prison?
You think recidivism facilitates child abuse? I think paedageddon causes more harm than good. The OP's children came to know harm. Not because she feared a "paedo" monster, but because she took sensible, healthy precautions she should.
Sorry, "to no harm" not "to know harm"!
I am gobsmacked at those who are defending a child sex offender who has been incarcerated for a second offense and the family members who deliberately kept this information from the OP. If you chose to do something as vile and despicable as to molest children you deserve the consequences. There is no coincidence that even in a jail, child sex offenders are considered the lowest of the low and often are beaten to a pulp when other inmates find out what they are in for. An adult choosing to sexually molest an innocent child who relies on and trust the adult to do the best by them deserves what they get.
I would imagine your friend thought you wouldn't be upset because it was known nothing had happened to your dd. That shows a staggering lack of empathy. Yet you're meant to sympathise with the fact she is having to notify people of her BIL's imprisonment?
In terms of not telling other people - sorry, I see no reason why you should comply with that when there's every chance they will try and cover up what he's done when he is released from prison a second time. Why should someone else be put in the situation you have been? I wouldn't be telling all and sundry but you shouldn't have to conceal it either.
And please, for your own sake, don't go and see them and play nice tonight. It strikes me you haven't been angry enough with them and in front of his mum is not the time to lose it. If your DH is sufficiently unmoved by events that he wants to go along - fine. Do yourself a favour and count yourself out.
I'm absolutely stunned and disgusted by your responses Vivacia. Parents need to be made aware if someone socialising with their child is a predatory paedophile ffs!
"The OP's children came to know harm"
More by good luck than good guidance. The sentiment that 'nothing happened, so what are you worried about?' is exactly why the OP's friend should be given a wide berth.
Ah you clearly know much more than I. Not. Unfortunately like drug use, prisoners manage to acceess things they shouldn't. You sound terribly naive. And you do not know if op's daughter has been affectedby him. let's hope not.
To think that a paedophile not having to be alone at Christmas is more important than protecting an innocent and vulnerable child from said paedophile just beggars belief.
OP your friends husband is not your friend. I'm so angry for you
Zazzles, where has someone defended a sex offender? Furthermore, my whole point had been that it is not the convicted criminal who will be hurt by malicious talk,
I will be telling no-one for the sake of my friends but if I find out that when he is released again he is allowed to continue to mix with people with children (as there are others in the family) I will tell them in a heartbeat. This, I believe is the correct sane way to act...and that is from someone who feels like she is crumbling and is doubting herself.
My last comment aimed at vivacia btw
Paedogeddon actually has nothing to do with the recidivism rates of child sex offenders, but good one for trying to throw in a word that you thought no one who know to derail the line of conversation.
And of course a high recidivism rate means more child sex abuse, not only as a statistic, but in the individual child sex offender. How do you think the BIL got to his second offense??? Because he relapsed and did it again, ffs!!!
maristella absolutely, the OP and her husband should tell the friend's husband exactly that. But tell him, not punch him. I for one would want him to know how angry and betrayed I felt, and I'd want to hear his reasons.
What have I said exactly that disgusts you?
jewellery for a 5 yr old was probably a red flag I didn't see? Not childish jewellery iyswim? Just thought it was a typical present from a childless(thank god) middle aged man
Buzzard, I wouldn't even start second-guessing your actions here, re red flags. There is every reason to believe that your children are safe because you kept them safe and didn't put a foot wrong.
Bin it all, Buzzard.
Can you talk to your DH? Maybe try x
You have Vivica, you have taken the side of the sex offender and his family, therefore, in essence, that is defending them. I see nothing in your posts which offer sympathy to the OP. Therefore I must conclude that you side with the sex offender and his family. Do you have a child sex offender in your family Vivica that you are struggling to conceal???
Or sell it and give the money to the NSPCC. Or bin it.
Sorry, I'll shut up now x
That is exactly what I thought of in the night kalid was to sell it and give the money to an organization I found online that helps people who have been affected by monsters. Thank you so much for your support
I tried to talk to dh before he went out (pre-arranged) he just cannot do emotions. Not his fault, it just isn't there. He is worried that I will explode after a drink and tell df's dh what I think. I wouldn't though, my experiences have made me an expert at self-control. I will though have to question him at another time when it won't cause further distress.
I do however need to ask you all a further favour and advise me on the sensible thing to say to dd (6 1/2) to explain why pervert is not around any longer because she will notice. I don't want to put the fear of god into her about every man she knows. This I do not trust my own judgment on for obvious reasons.
"He hurt somebody and has gone to prison which is what happens to adults when they do something bad enough"?
That says nothing about the OP Vivacia, only that a sex offender got what he deserve.
I'm outta here, as I don't want to feed a derailment which is what Vivacia is after.
OP, do you feel as though you need to ask your DD about any I appropriate contact the BIL may have had with her at any stage? If not, then just explain he did a very bad thing and has to go away and can't see you all again.
If you're worried about whether she could have been abused I'm not sure how you ask a 6yo that but hopefully someone will be along soon who will know.
Ignore Vivacia, that poster is just always trying to goad people, it's not just you.
Thankyou something you seem to understand that nagging thought that won't go away. I don't believe that I have ever given the opportunity for anything to happen but am wracked with guilt that she has kissed him goodbye and to thank him for presents etc. I will wait until I am calmer though before I say though. It is difficult when I doubt myself so much. I have always taught her that no-one is allowed to touch her unless it is a doctor and I am there with her but I know that she doesn't take that in completely.
I'm sure nothing has has happened with her as a 6yo would probably mention something that would sound alarm bells for you, even if they didn't think anything of it themselves? I'd maybe ask her if he's asked her to keep any secrets?
She knows the only secrets she is allowed to keep are nice surprises. I am pretty sure its ok and I have to be careful not to create false memory.I will tell her he has gone to prison for hurting someone and just see how she reacts I think? Am a hawk where my child is concerned. My anxiety is through the roof, I need to try and calm as with her school friends this afternoon in a public place with is going to be awful for atm. No decision made yet on later. My dd loves them so much, they are the closest people to her other than me and dh.
"He can access porn and groom children from prison?"
It has been known! It has also been known for paedophiles to gain access to children whilst in custody. Hopefully this will never happen again, but...
I have heard terrible things about paedophiles in prison as have 2 friends who are at a high security prison that contains the worst offenders. This is how I came to know that prison is not the answer unless they spend the rest of their lives there in solitary. I won't go into details because I wish I didn't know.
Join the discussion
Please login first.