to tell my estranged sister her daughter may have been abused?(12 Posts)
As my nickname suggests, I am the family 'crazie' as I dared to voice the fact that my family is very dysfunctional and I was abused every which way as a DC.
On one of the last phone calls I had with my mother, before she cut me off for causing her such pain for questioning why she physically and emotionally abused me, I 'disclosed' to her that I had been sexually abused from the age of 8. This is something I think she was aware of as she became very abusive at around that time, but for her twisted reasons she did nothing about it except for blame me.
Her reaction was to deny it and turn it onto herself, i.e. that couldn't have happened to one of MINE, then she dismissed it as 'probably that teenage babysitter' and asked me if I could let it go and 'get over it now'? I could not get a word in edgeways at this point to tell her it was NOT the babysitter!
She then mentioned my 4 year old niece, saying that she was worried that something may have happened to her as she was always red and sore down below. My mother was practically bringing her up at that point while my sister worked although my niece spent every other weekend with her dad who my sister had split with. TBH I was suspicious that my mother was saying this to deflect me from what had happened to me as after all I was not important but my niece was and wouldn't it be terrible if SHE was going through that? I thought my mum was accusing sister's ex who she had always hated and my first instinct was that it was ridiculous. I asked my mum if she would talk about it to my sister and she said she would so I left it there.
At this point I have no idea if my mother has discussed this with my sister and I suspect not and she has cut me off since. I have not spoken to any of my siblings in almost 2 years because of me falling out with my mum. I think my sister should know about my mum's suspicions even if they are not true but this will probably make me be seen in an even worse light as my sister may think I am trying to get back at mum for saying this, especially if my mum has not said anything! I can't say nothing though can I, in case there is a small chance my mum is right and my niece is still having stuff happen to her? I also don't want to plant something in my sister's mind which could devastate her if it was just something my mother cooked up to make me forget what happened to me.
I think I would write her a letter explaining just the facts, i.e. the context and what your DM said to you, no opinion, and let your sister decide what to do with the information.
I think you have to.
How long ago was the conversation with your mum?
You have a duty to safeguard your niece. If she is being abused it's already been going on for a long time and needs to stop. If she isn't. Well, your family already think you're the crazie and you've proved you're strong enough to get by without their approval. I'm sorry, I can't advise you <how> to approach this, but it doesn't sound like your family understands how to protect children so would contactibg the SS safeguarding team
anonymously an optiob you would consider?
Sorry for what you eent through OP
I'm genuinely sorry you had such a traumatic time when you were growing up.
Because of the abuse you suffered and because of the way your family dynamics work I think you're right to feel you shouldn't ignore this.
If it was me I would try to contact your sister first, by letter/email if you don't think she'll talk to you on the phone, face to face would be better but that's probably not an option after all this time.
If your sister ignores you or decides you're doing it for other reasons, I would probably take the decision away from her and go to SS or the police.
I don't think I've missed it, but you haven't said who it was who abused you, but I got the impression that this person has (unsupervised?) contact with your niece (might be stating the obvious). If that's the case I can't see that you're left with any choice but to take it to the bitter end, wherever it may lead you.
Although I would be concerned about how you might be equipped to deal with the fallout or dredging up of old memories. Is doing this for your niece something you realistically think you're able to do?
I'm not a professional in this area so I'm only saying what I personally make of the situation, but what you've described seem much more than just suspicions and things have happened in the past to make it worth looking further into.
Your mum will easily dismiss any letter you write as part of your 'crazyness' which will further distance your sister from you.
Better to contact SS, tell them what you've told us and let them deal with the situation objectively.
I'm thinking that it's highly likely your mother is making it up to deflect attention from your terrible situation but you have been left in the position where there's a possibility that its true.
Unfortunately you may still find you will get the blame for contacting SS even if you report anonymously as you are the family scapegoat.
How long ago did your mother tell you this? The first thing you should have done is write factually to your SIL and with DD's safety in mind. It might be worth naming who abused you during your childhood too so that your relatives can be wary of contact. Is it worth going to the police about your abuse? The abuser could still be abusing now.
Awful and messy situation you're in op - huge sympathies from me.
I think Poorincash may have the best route for you. From what you've described I think there's every chance your sister will ignore you and add it to the list of crimes/slurs you've supposedly committed against the family.
At the very least involving outside agencies mean the family don't get to decide the rules they should be playing by. You ( if you're strong enough) can break that cycle of secrecy.
I have no idea where my sister lives now so police and SS involvement would be difficult. I know she has moved recently (from Facebook).
At the time that my mother told me this (last April), I was already estranged from my sister but my mother was still in contact with me as she 'was trying to forgive me for what I'd done to her' and has told everyone else that I was going through a 'breakdown' and should not be contacted.
It is only since she cut me off (and my DC) with seemingly no care in the world after I would not back down that I have started to question whether she has talked to my sister about it and whether she made it up to take my mind off my abuse which is sickening.
I cannot believe a 'grandmother' would have a suspicion like that and not act on it though. The only way I can find out is by asking my sister and then I would obviously put the thought in her head when it could have been total bullshit.
FFS I am not the type to bury my head in the sand though.
If you don't know where your niece lives you could contact the NSPCC instead. Their website says you can contact them even if you don't have full details of where the child lives etc:
Was the person who abused you connected to the family? Could it be the same person?
Sorry you are going through this.
Thing is designated, you're so embroiled in the family politics and emotions, even if you were on better terms with your sister I would be hesitant to advise you to go straight to her with the information your mothers given you.
I would be very wary, knowing what I know, that anyone in your family is equipped to deal with the situation properly or without making things worse (for instance tipping off the abuser or completely burying their heads in the sand).
Tbh I suspect that either route is going to cause you more heartache whether it's obvious or suspected you're the one bringing up the issue if abuse, but going straight to the authorities will allow things to be investigated sooner rather than later. Don't allow the same people to block and decide what happens again.
I'm really wishing you the strength to do this, it's a mammoth of a task to ask you to undertake but your (frankly odd) mother has given you this information knowing exactly what context you would hear it in and I believe has given you no choice but to relay it to organisations who can protect your dn.
If it's a sick game shes playing then it's a lesson in how to behave and if not you've done the right thing in the eyes of society - what your family thinks is irrelevant sadly.
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