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next generation old enough for abuser. How do I warn them?

(22 Posts)
YouWithTheFace Wed 19-Mar-14 13:56:15

I was groomed and then sexually assaulted by my stepfather between the ages of about 11 and 14. No one in my family knows but I am reasonably open about it to my friends and husband, so have been well supported as an adult. I also live far away and am NC.

However. His daughter's girls are growing up and he sees them regularly. I hoped his chronic bad health would solve this for me but no, at least not terminally. I don't know how or if to try tell my stepsis or her family to be wary. I couldn't bear my father to hear about it so don't want to tell, but even less do I want my nieces to go through what I did.

Please help me. How do I do something about it?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Mar-14 13:57:16

How close are you to your step sister?

throughitnow Wed 19-Mar-14 15:20:54

Hi there

I was also abused as a child and my family are unaware. Like you my husband and friends know so I have a good support network. Luckily there were no other children involved in my case but even though I could not bare to tell my family I always swore that if any other children were at risk of being abused I would do all that I could to protect them.

You don't have to go into details with your step sister and although I do know how difficult it will be if it protects them from him that's all that matters. I know it's scary the thought of having to deal with your family's reactions, and going over what happened. It really also depends where you are with the past abuse? I have had a long journey through counselling and accept that what happened to me is apart of me and I have been lucky to have great support.

I wish you well xx

petalsandstars Wed 19-Mar-14 15:45:40

Could you think about reporting it to police? I understand that you might not want to take it to prosecution etc but just by reporting it would raise a safeguarding issue I would have thought. So then she would be aware that she needs to protect them.

Meerka Thu 20-Mar-14 07:46:16

you, ive thought about this since reading your post yesterday

I think you're faced with one of the hardest choices anyone can ever make.

I perosnally think that when you are faced with this situation, any advice has to be given extremely carefully. So please, do what's right for you in this situation, balancing fall-out and your need to protect the girls.

Given your husband is supportive and friends too, if you have the strength I think you are in a position to bring this out openly.

If your stepsister is the approachable sort and would (perhaps eventually) believe you, I would talk to her and warn her. Obviously an incredibly difficult conversation. Plan out what you want to say first and talk it over with your husband. Consider where you would talk to her too, her house or yours?

Then I would consider going to the police. At least consider it.

If your stepsister is not the approachable sort then you may need to go direct to the police. Others here may be able to say if gonig to social services would also be an idea.

The shit will hit the fan either way, and you'll need to take a deep breath. But you would also be doing the right thing. If it came out later that he did abuse them and you knew the possibility was there, there would also be some heavy fallout, not least with your conscience. Having said that, if you are not in a strong enough position to survive the fallout then you do have to look after yourself and your own family first.

You might also want to find a good therapist just to get you over this period, if you do speak about it.

~again, I give this advice with some trepidation because this is such a difficult situation. Do talk it over with someone sensible you trust irl~

YouWithTheFace Thu 20-Mar-14 09:28:12

Thank you very much for the comments and the thoughts. I've been talking about it a lot with my husband.

My family mostly live in South Africa. I don't really know what the set up is there re reporting child abuse or safeguarding. I can look into that.

My sister and I get on well enough, but she does always take her father's side if there is an issue, which I do understand, but has always meant I don't 100 per cent trust her. We're on friendly birthday and Christmas and Facebook contact. She did suspect something was off at the time because she did ask me straight out some years later if anything weird had happened.

I don't really know whether I'm over it or not. I have been in and out of therapy for years and had breakdowns 7 and 17 years ago, also related to the emotional abuse and general crap. I keep thinking I'm fine but then something like this comes up and I'm a wreck again.

YouWithTheFace Thu 20-Mar-14 09:34:05

The thing about telling my sister is that she is a leaky sieve and I would lose all control over how the story is told.

I think I should at least start by telling my mother though. She could at least police him. Also, as soon as my sister knows, my mother will hear, so I'd rather she heard it from me.

It's going to have to be email or letter though. I don't phone my mother in case he answers or is listening.

Meerka Thu 20-Mar-14 19:37:04

If you stepsister asked you if anything weird went on, then she may well have strong suspicions yes.

email sounds a good idea. then your mother will have time to take it in and read it over. As long as you quite sure he will not see it?

good luck, OP

sandiy Thu 20-Mar-14 19:48:02

I think you need to tell her.No child needs to experience what you did.I think your step sis knows,If she's asked you, I wonder if she experienced abuse too.Abusers get away with it by isolating their victims.It may be that she also believes herself to be the only one to be abused.If it turns out that it's both of you then you can explain to your mum together.

reddaisy Thu 20-Mar-14 19:55:06

You absolutely must tell. I am speaking as someone who was abused. I would do anything to stop anyone going through what I went through. Tell everyone you can in a measured way. I know it would be hard but hopefully it will put enough doubt into the minds of your stepsister and mum so they don't leave them with him. Please do this. Please.

peppapigmustdie Thu 20-Mar-14 20:02:04

I am so sorry that this happened to you. Is it possible that as she asked you if anything weird had happened at the time that your step sister was also abused by him? And checking with you if what occured was not normal? is there a big age gap between you. I feel for you but I think you do have to say something as you would feel terrible if anything did happen to your dn's.

SinisterSal Thu 20-Mar-14 20:04:14

The fact that she asked you means she has strong suspicions. I don't think the fallout will be as huge in terms of your relationship as it would be if she fully trusted him. You don't know where her suspicions have stemmed from either, maybe she too was a victim
Good luck

deepest Thu 20-Mar-14 20:08:02

Can you seek advice as to how to do this saftkey/effectively thru a charity/support group? Childline etc? Could a friend or your husband relay the message?
These people do not have just one victim their whole life. If you came out you could liberate many other adults from their torment (they may not have had the emotional support that you have) and you might protect others from suffering abuse. Take care

peppapigmustdie Thu 20-Mar-14 20:13:25

Sorry, but just to pick up on something you said about your step sister taking his side, this isn't unusual among abuse victims.

CookieDoughKid Thu 20-Mar-14 20:32:26

Morally you are duty bound to warn those girls. End of.I would and I have done. The fallout was horrendous to the point where I was accused by family of being a trouble maker, mentally disturbed and completely OTT. His family refused to acknowledge the truth even through a full police investigation. His mother ended up in hospital with a mental breakdown. Immediate family even accusing me of being OUTRAGEOUS for disclosure.

This is 2014 and these people that said and behaved all the above were common socially behaved people. Not the likes you get on Jeremy Kyle. Shocking.

Would I disclose again? To save a child? In a heartbeat.

If you don't tell them. PM me. I will.

CookieDoughKid Thu 20-Mar-14 20:34:37

This is how peodos operate. Protection of their families because they too chicken to rock the boat. They were probably abused them selves and just accepts it. Who knows? Much goes on behind closed doors.

Technical Thu 20-Mar-14 20:43:27

I agree it's highly likely your step sister already knows. It's not the first thing I would think to ask if my sister had a shaky relationship with my dad. Is it possible she was a victim herself?

I don't know what the position would be, maybe someone else here will know, but could you report a concern about the children to SS and tell them what happened to you, without making a formal report to the police?

Is your mother still with your step-father?

CookieDoughKid Thu 20-Mar-14 21:11:19

I'm sorry if I came across strong but you know... The years of personal anguish and breakdowns you've had you wouldn't want to wish it on anyone. You are in a position to stop this happening again. If your sister refuses to believe it and protect her child at least you've tried your best. If the child comes to harm, not your responsibility. Its the mother's. Seriously, I've had an entire family who chose to cut themselves from me and in my opinion..their opinion is worth fuck all compared to the welfare of an innocent defenceless child from rape.

YouWithTheFace Thu 20-Mar-14 22:20:40

I never thought my ss might also have been a victim. It didn't seem like the kind of thing she would let happen - she's a tough cookie - but as you say, closed doors, and if there's one thing I've learnt from MN it's that there is an amazing amount of stuff you wouldn't think could happen that does. And it isn't a question of letting it happen when you're 11.

My mother is still with my stepfather. It's all a bit Catherine Cookson frankly, big family dramas at regular intervals, and really very peaceful here on the outside.

I'm going to draft letters to my sister and my mother this weekend and send them. It isn't about me any more. It felt selfish (I know!) to make a fuss before when I believed it was only me having to cope with the bad stuff, and after all it wasn't rape and he did stop after I hit him the time he came back and maybe it was my fault like all the other stuff I was always in trouble for and so and so on (I know I know! But it's hard to deprogram 20+ years worth of shame).

But you are all right, and it's the advice I would give anyone who asked me about the same thing. Thank you for sharing your stories, CookieDough (although omg I am so sorry, that is really the worst) and throughitnow. It's helped a lot putting this out in the world instead of it roiling round my head.

CookieDoughKid Fri 28-Mar-14 21:25:03

youwiththeface I wish you all the best, you will be OK. You're much stronger than you think. That child however is not.

In my circumstance it was my dp's brother who was under police investigation. My dp's ENTIRE family (bar a sister-in-law who was not blood) refused to believe there was a problem even faced with all the downloaded computer evidence (infantile pornagraphy under the age of 5). Plus the perpetrator acted on it and admitted the offence against a real child.
A child in the family.

I can tell you - NOT ONCE - DID ANY OF DP'S FAMILY EVEN ASK HOW THE CHILD WAS. Not once. I'm talking about 28 year olds, 35 year olds, 22 year olds, 45 year olds, 55 year olds. I'm talking about all these individuals in dp's family. Men & Women. People that have normal jobs, degrees, people who hold positions in society. And for what? WHAT? To protect their own arses.

They even threatened legal action and reporting me to social authorities to me if I ever made their little dirty secret public. What? I'm a BAD MOTHER for wanting to disclose the fact they are hiding a peodophile?

I sit here and write this still completely staggered of all of dp's family and lack and unwillingness of acceptance. Because I decided to say fuck you all to all of them and go to the police.

I still see one of dp's family, his brother. Because dp still wants to continue relations and a friendship with his brother. Every time I see his brother, I think to myself 'You disgusting pig of a shit. call yourself a human being when you will not even acknowledge the crime against your nephew'.

If I ever saw the rest of dp's family in the street, god help them.

Good luck. You'll be fine, and feel free to PM anytime. You are totally doing the right thing.

CookieDoughKid Fri 28-Mar-14 21:27:15

Just to say, please do update and let us know how you getting on. I'm sorry if it turned into a rant before. It's still so emotive for me. All the best.

debbs77 Sat 29-Mar-14 16:10:11

Wow what a horrid situation to be in.

I've never been in your situation, but I like to think I would speak up. Good luck whatever you decide xx

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