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My uncle has been accused of sexual abuse and I need to talk to you

(58 Posts)
ToProtectTheInnocent Tue 12-Apr-05 23:14:25

To protect, that’s why I’ve changed my name. Doesn’t feel right to do this with people knowing who I am, for my family’s sake, so sorry for the name change.

My uncle has just been on trial for sexually assaulting his daughter and his granddaughter.
The jury found him guilty today and the judge has given him 3 weeks to get his affairs in order before sentencing him.

He is about 76 years old and will probably die in prison.

So, me and my family, my parents, his wife, his other kids, his brothers and sisters, his other family, his friends are all sitting there tonight feeling all sorts of emotions, and the big question did he or didn’t he?

His daughter, the accuser, through a difficult phase she sent her DD to stay with him, and her mother, even though he allegedly abused her as a child. The granddaughter then blossomed and came out of her shell while in the care of this alleged abuser. Would you send your DD to live with the man that abused you as a child?

The mother, the wife, is saying there’s no way it happened. There are times and incidents that she says are impossible.

My uncle is/was an alcoholic, admits to being a bad father, but has been impotent since his drinking problems began.

Don’t know what to think really.

From my cousin’s POV, why say it happened and go through that if it didn’t. I know she’s angry, very angry with her father for his terrible parenting and I know she hates him basically. I also know her DH has been the instigator in all this. I know my cousin is an angry, pretty fucked up person.

I know my uncle admits to being a bad father but he swears, to our faces that he didn’t do what she is accusing him of.

If he did do it, why has she waited until he is 76 and will die in prison?
If he didn’t do it, could she lie like this, I can’t imagine she could but then again I can’t believe he could do what she’s accusing him of.

There was an incident where my cousin says as a young child she stole money from his wallet and he beat her really badly. My aunt says that she would have seen the marks and she knows it didn’t happen.

There was also a time when my cousin was doing some sort of course and had to submit some papers actually on child abuse. She asked her mother, my aunt, advise on a question and my aunt said to her DD ‘ well actually you don’t know this but I was abused as a child by my step-father’. Why didn’t my cousin choose then to disclose her story of abuse.

There was another time when my aunt, full of despair at my uncles drinking, drove him to a rehab clinic and left him there and was ready to leave him for good, my cousin was well aware of this. Why then as her mother was about to leave her father did she not speak out.

I want to, and mainly, perhaps wrongly, do believe and still love my uncle.
But why would my cousin do this if it weren’t true?
It’s so hard.

I don’t know what to think. Only 2 people know the truth and they both have very different stories. It’s so awful.

I don’t know why I’m pouring this out here, but it seems like a good place to let off.

All I ask is that if you post, and you think my uncle is guilty, please spare mine and my families feelings, just a bit.
We’re hurting and love my uncle very much, so please, please, I’m asking you to not condemn him. I don’t expect you all to believe he is innocent, I just don’t want you to lash out with anger at someone that is accused of such awful crimes. We’re all mothers, or fathers, here, we all feel strongly about this subject, but right now I’m, we’re hurting and we’re seeing it from the side of a 76 year old man who will die in prison and we don’t know if he did or if he didn’t. I’m trusting this with you. I know I’ve changed my name but you must understand why. Be honest, be yourself but please don’t be cruel.

I hope I don’t regret sharing this, but couldn’t not.

Frizbe Tue 12-Apr-05 23:18:33

don't know what to say really {{Hugs}} to you hon, its a really difficult situation, can he appeal?

beansontoast Tue 12-Apr-05 23:18:38

so sad for you and your family.i cant begin to think how you all must feel.hope you get some answers/peace of mind

ToProtectTheInnocent Tue 12-Apr-05 23:22:29

Gosh, I didn't realise how long that post was.
I'm unsure about appealing but I'm sure I will find out. I feel so teary tonight and am not ready for bed as too much is going on inside my head.

ToProtectTheInnocent Tue 12-Apr-05 23:23:24

He is facing about 10 years in prison by the way.

joash Tue 12-Apr-05 23:30:14

Whilst I do sympathise with where you are coming from on this - I really cannot see how he would have been sentenced without there being real evidence.

You ask why your cousin didn't disclose at various times throughout her life - it's not that easy. She probably feels guilty enough about what happened to her, then on top of that she may be feeling guilty, because no matter how angry she feels towards him, she may actually still love him and she's also aware of what the rest of the family are going through.

I'm 41 and my family (apart from my mother) don't know what happened to me at the hands of my stepfather ... and I was actually hospitalised on a number of occasions, had a termination at 15 and often went to school, etc, covered in bruises.

People see what they want to see and what they expect to see. Anything,even bruises and actually seeing something, can be rationalised if those looking are blinkered enough.

My mother was present on some of the occasions that I was beaten up and actually removed my stepfather from my bed on at least two occasions - yet she adamently insists that nothing happened (and she does believe that).

I know that you are hurting and confused - but please, give some of your thoughts to your uncles daughter and grandaughter - they still have the rest of their lives to live with what happened to them as well as the fall-out from finally opening up.

BadgerBadger Tue 12-Apr-05 23:32:20

Hi TPTI, this must be a very difficult time for you.

I can completely understand the last sentence of your post, most of my family were in denial about my step fathers abuse of me as a child too, which led to my ostracisation from the rest of the family (though several harrowing years later, they stand by my side at last).

I hope your niece and cousin are ok. I do understand that this must be very hard for you, but TBH, through years of battling my own family's closed ranks and disbelief of what my stepfather did to me, I have to say, my sympathies lie with the victims, the abused.

BadgerBadger Tue 12-Apr-05 23:33:03

(sorry, that should be "...last para of your post...")

jamiesam Tue 12-Apr-05 23:36:39

Really sorry about the situation you're in. I totally understand your comment about 'if you post and think my uncle's guilty, spare my feelings'. However, I suspect that you might never know the truth about the situation - and I wonder if the secret might be to find a way not to have to choose who you support. The bottom line is that all of the parties are a victim in some way. Not sure if I can make this make sense. What I mean is that nobody (nearly nobody) is totally guilty - whichever one you decided was the guilty party would have some reason, excuse, whatever for having done what they did - to justify your compassion?

I hope the comparison isn't too crass, but it struck me yesterday, on the local radio news it was said that Harold Shipman was finally cremated after the police advised his family that any grave would be a massive target for, well vandalism or worse. Hundreds and thousands of people can't possibly forgive that man, and yet his family have been trying to persuade that he should be given a normal burial. I can only think that they still love him. It seemed mad at the time when I was listening to the radio. I'm not so sure now.

Ignore me if this is less than helpful. I can't begin to imagine what you're going through. I'm so pleased that you've got such an extended family to talk it through with.

BadgerBadger Tue 12-Apr-05 23:37:28

Just read Joash's post.

Though I wasn't sexually abused, the dynamics she has described (of not telling/mothers denial/explaining away of injuries) are extremely accurate discriptions of my experience too.

ToProtectTheInnocent Tue 12-Apr-05 23:45:47

Oh god , I want to say if they were abused, if they are victims, but how can I, knowing you went through abuse and your family wouldn't/couldn't accept it? Feel so, so utterly distraught. Oh my dear God. No please God, no. He can't have, can he? Please is there no chance that he is innocent and that she is just an angry woman pushed by her husband, angry at his neglect as an alcoholic father, but not a sexually abusive one, oh please

Is it wrong of me to want to believe my uncle? What does it say about me? What does it mean that I still love him and don't want him to die in prison?

My friends’ husband has just had his dad arrested for the same thing and I don't doubt my friends DH.

Oh sweet Jesus, I'm in pieces here.

How can I support my mother if I begin to believe he is guilty of such awful things?

Why did she send her DD to live with him?

I can't stop crying.

ToProtectTheInnocent Tue 12-Apr-05 23:48:52

Thank you for posting and helping me with this, I need to hear what you have to say but stress again the need for you to be gentle, as you who have posted so far have been.

BadgerBadger Tue 12-Apr-05 23:52:30

TPTI, I hope my comments didn't upset you further. I do not think you are wrong to want to believe him, not at all.

I know that her having sent her DD to live with him is causing you a lot of confusion. TBH when someone is abused (IME) there can be a period of denial on the abused's part too, a wish, want and need for 'happy families'.

Sometimes people who are abused have extreme difficulty in accepting that it has happened. It is a can of worms once opened, and takes someone with balls to open it.

joash Tue 12-Apr-05 23:54:06

Your reactions make you a normal, caring human being. This isn't your fault, you obviously love your uncle and theres nothing wrong with that.

As for why she sent her daughter to live with him, I can't answer that but I can say that at the age of 18 I managed to get away from my parents home. A few years later I discovered that the stepfather, his new wife and her kids had moved close to where we lived. To cut a long story short - I had his stepdaughter as a babysitter fro my own kids, struck up a friendship with his wife - she is a nice woman and put up with him visiting even though I had two DD's of my own.

Dh knew that I had been abused, but it took me almost six years of being in constant contact with this person , before I finally broke down and admitted to Dh that he was the one who had done all those awful things to me - survivors of abuse, often do the strangest things and respond to their abuser in ways that look odd and contradictory to those in the wider family (once they hear the accusation). For me, it was about keeping the peace and not wanting anyone to know that it was him and not wanting my own kids to know what had happened to em (they still don't know BTW).

I still saw - contact your cousin, talk to her, it's risky, but you might be a good source of support for each other.

beansontoast Tue 12-Apr-05 23:55:20

you are allowed to think the best of him afterall,you had your own relationship with him..that wasnt abusive...

try not to torture yourself with the thought of him dying in prison,itll do your head in even more.

im rubbish at this,i just want to let you know that someone is listening to you...x

nightowl Tue 12-Apr-05 23:58:20

what a horrible situation to face . i cant tell you if your uncle is guilty or not, no-one can. with lots of cases like this there is never any proof on either side.

it could well be that she is a very bitter woman looking for revenge but it could also be something that has been on her mind for years. there are countless reasons why children do not report abuse, only to go through life bitterly knowing it happened, and maybe finding the strength years later to report it. when the person cant hurt them anymore. or perhaps when something suddenly triggers an urge for justice to finally be done.

it hurts a child more than anything to report something like this only to not be believed and sent back home with fear of reprisal. they are scared that if they are not believed (sadly this happens) it will make life worse.

they may be scared of being taken away from their mother and so put up with it.

scared their mother will take the abuser's side. its a sad fact that although some women know this goes on, they spend their days in denial. they know deep down that yes it could have happened or yes it did happen, but the reality is something they just cant face up to.

the fact that some people tell lies about things like this is awful. it not only hurts innocent people but also sometimes casts doubt on the children who really do need help.

like i said before, i couldnt possibly say if i thought your uncle was guilty or not. i honestly dont have any idea from your post but just thought i could maybe answer some of your questions. best wishes.

beansontoast Tue 12-Apr-05 23:58:53

oh blimey having said that...i hear my ds awake upstairs now!
i hope you get some sleep.

ToProtectTheInnocent Wed 13-Apr-05 00:02:58

Oh God But is there no way that she could be lying? You see, I don't blame you, but you have all, automatically taken it as 'he has abused'. Is there never a case, a reason, where men, fathers, uncles are wrongly accused?

I'm so, so sorry to those people posting who have been abused for wanting to take the side of my uncle when your families denied what had happened to you. I really am. I'm just finding it so hard to get my head round his lying to his family, in the face like that. I know you'll all scoff but he just isn't that type of man. Oh that sounds like utter tosh given what he is accused of and I'm so sorry.

joash Wed 13-Apr-05 00:05:28

I don't think that anyone is making the assumption that he is an abuser - we're just telling you what the situation looks like from a survivors point of view. My stepfather denies to this day that he ever hurt any of us - regardless of the medical evidence to prove otherwise. Abusers are often very likeable, beleiveble people - which is how they manage to get away with the things that they do.

joash Wed 13-Apr-05 00:06:12

And perhaps I should state now that I do doubt very, very much that she is lying.

BadgerBadger Wed 13-Apr-05 00:07:41

At 15 I tried to report my stepfathers abuse at the risk of losing everything I knew.

My 'parents' forced my siblings to lie to the social services about me (my siblings and I have talked about this since). My stepdad went on to fracture my jaw.

I still stayed in contact, in fact it wasn't until I became a mum that I found the strength to deal with all that had happened. I spent years in that halfway world where I knew, they knew, but we all pretended we didn't.

I don't have contact with my mum or stepdad now. The hardest thing about bringing this out in the open was knowing I was placing my siblings in a difficult position, and losing my mum. There aren't words for the sort of person she is, but the child in me still cries itself to sleep on occasion for the person she once was.

I know you don't particularly want to know the ins and outs, but I thought it might help throw some light on why the abused don't always tell.


BadgerBadger Wed 13-Apr-05 00:12:20

>>>>>>I know you'll all scoff but he just isn't that type of man.<<<<<<

I for one am not scoffing. My step father is what might be described as a pillar of the community. An expert in his field, chairman of a club, member of this group/that group and so on.

Hey, my mother saw him do the things he did with her own eyes, and still doesn't believe he did them.

ToProtectTheInnocent Wed 13-Apr-05 00:16:48

Oh God. Thank you all for sharing such painful memories with me. Thank you. I hate what happened to you. It's gut wrenchingly awful. And yet here I am trying to believe my uncle. It's a position I never, ever expected to find myself in and you don't know how you'll react until you are there. It's just so hard. What do I do? Do I support my uncle who I am closer to? Do I write and tell him I love him? I have never really had any contact with this cousin. How do I support my mother? What do I do?

ToProtectTheInnocent Wed 13-Apr-05 00:18:13

I feel so bad for wanting to believe him and still loving him when I know how you have all suffered I don't know what to do.

ToProtectTheInnocent Wed 13-Apr-05 00:21:12

Why the hell did she send her DD to stay with him?
Why didn't she do this whe he was younger and wouldn't have to die in a cell.
If he's guilty he deserves to be punished, but could she not have taken it to court? Could there have been another way? Sorry girls

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