Over 10 years ago, I turned my father in for sexually abusing me from the ages of about 12-15. I waited to turn him in until I felt it was safe to do so--that is, until I lived a 12 hour drive away, on an island. It was difficult but necessary: my sister was reaching the age where the abuse had started for me, as were my cousins. I did it for them and my children.
I had already told the family when I had my daughter, as I couldn't bear the thought of him coming near her. And bit by bit, I was pushed out. After the trial and conviction (he pled guilty, he'd told too many people to do otherwise), the paternal side of my family shunned me.
As my Grandmama said,
You may be my granddaughter, but he's my son.
Today I found out that the fallout never ends.
I called my Granny to double-check on some details of the Christmas celebration. There are always some last-minute changes to the Yankee Swap, and since we live a good distance away I wanted to be sure to be on time. I was in high spirits--we just found out that we're going to keep our apartment after all, and I'll have the kids for the second half of holiday break.
Then, as Granny and I were saying goodbye, she dropped a bombshell. "Your father and mother will be here for Christmas."
If I hadn't been using an ear bud, I would have dropped the phone.
"Granny, if he's there, I can't be. It's part of his parole. And if I know he's invited and show up, it's entrapment, I could go to jail." (Never mind that I don't want to be anywhere near my rapist, that it would trigger my PTSD in a big way, and I might disassociate. She wouldn't listen to that.)
"Well, WHO ASKED FOR THAT TO BE PUT THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE? AND WHY ARE THE KIDS PART OF IT? I'm sick of this crap."
"Granny, it's standard, sex offenders are not allowed near their victims or immediate family for life, like not being allowed near schoolyards..."
If I hadn't called, I would have had a very nasty surprise waiting for me when I got to Granny's house Christmas day, aided and abetted by my grandmother, who wants to pretend she has a happy, whole family. The man who still haunts my nightmares night after night. A man who in his 'apology' to me, mandated by his church, sat me down and described in vivid detail what he had done, asking, "Do you forgive me for that? And for that?" for most of a day, alone (and if I didn't say yes, then I would be the one in the wrong, for having an unforgiving spirit). And I would have had a choice: let him get away with it, or call the police (and lose more family).
I've let them steamroll me for years. I called my cousin, who always has my back, and confirmed I'm not over-reacting. He won't be attending either.
I've also called my aunt, to let her know that while I was greatly looking forward to seeing every this year, I simply can't make it for legal reasons. That if it was just my mother, I would go and do my best to keep harmony (my mother likes to picks fights with me, although I left that unsaid). And I told my aunt that I'd love to get together with her, if she wanted.
Now I'm waiting for my cousin to get me in touch with his dad, for similar reasons (but he's always been wholeheartedly on my side). From there, my other uncle, who has said that my father will never step foot on his property (where my grandparents live). I think he must not know. But my message will be the same:
I'll miss you and the Christmas celebration (and any attached kids), but for legal and personal reasons I can't attend. If my mother came alone, I'd be there happily! If you wish to meet with me at another time, I'd be thrilled. I'm sad to miss it, I don't see any of you often enough living so far away, but I understand that Granny wants her daughter to be happy.If my effect seems flat, it's because I'm on Clonopin to help me deal with this. Otherwise I'd still be a blubbering mess.
2:05 PM PT: Wow. Thank you, everybody. I had neede to get ths off my chest, and you Rec list me. I am humbled.