A rant!! A big one... beware....
I'm gonna write this and then probably delete it. But here goes:
My beloved cousin is holding a huge family party for her father, my beloved uncle, who will be 95!!! So amazing and so fantastic that he is still here among us, still vibrant and funny and intelligent. All the cousins and remaining relatives are invited: including an uncle who is also a molester.
There are four major families: Family A: 3 boys, 1 girl - no one molested. Family B: - 2 boys, 1 girl - no one molested. Family C: 2 boys one girl - no one molested. Family D: 4 girls - all molested.
Now by molested, I do not mean raped. I mean hands on and in places that uninvited hands should never go, and massive, massive betrayal of trust.
My older sister was an adult when he got her: she was a guest in his home and she punched him, then gathered her belongings and left.
He got me as a young teen in the ocean off of Cape Cod. I did not fare so well, but instead assumed that I had to be mistaken, that such an upstanding man of God would not, could not, do such a thing.
But he did.
But he couldn't have.
But he did.
If you see a pig fly, you feel it and smell it and touch it but you know that in no known universe do pigs fly, there is only one explanation.
I decided that I was crazy. And not just crazy, but dangerously and perversely crazy, and the things I said to myself about myself were criminally cruel.
I made myself a black cape and wore it around for the next five years, even though we lived in California and it got really hot. I never went anywhere without it.
I refused to wear a bathing suit EVER again or go swimming, and I stuck to that until I got married at 46. And why did I get married at 46? Because I refused to date. I knew wasn't worthy and far, far too dangerous. I felt that it was my duty to protect men from my noxious and perverted self. I stopped speaking to people and skipped school at every opportunity. If I ever felt even a tiny bit attracted to a guy, I would turn away and sharply berate myself, reminding myself that was tainted and unworthy and that if I didn't want to destroy that person I had better stay away.
After my sister’s revelation and I realized that the perversion was the uncle’s, not mine (I was probably 31 at this point) I decided that I had better start dating or wind up old and alone. So at 33, I found a guy that I could not possibly hurt, a guy with a shriveled heart who was incapable of falling in love. All I wanted to do was lose my virginity and kind of break that barrier, and he was reputed to be experienced. Unfortunately, it backfired, he did “fall in love” with me and I was stuck. He had no friends. He had no family. Nobody liked him. He was mean but oh so needy, and leaving felt like kicking a stray dog to the curb. 13 years later I finally managed it.
Needless to say I have no children, even though I always yearned for them. I took care of my nieces and nephews instead.
My Mom, little sister and baby sister spent three months living with this family when we moved East from California. My little sister was the pretty one, and built... well, she was built. When she got to their home she weighed about 120. Three months later she weighed 78 pounds and was in Hershey Medical with anorexia. She doesn't remember anything, but I can not believe that was a coincidence.
My baby sister. Fourteen years younger than I am, and the light of my life and delight of my heart. This uncle got her when she was 15. At the end of a family visit, he stole up into her bedroom, grabbed her and groped her. I found her about 15 minutes after uncle left, shaking and sobbing in a closet, which is where she hid after she crawled out from under the bed where she initially went to escape.
Now the lid flew off the can, and suddenly I realized that pigs do in fact, fly. I told baby sister we had to tell, and with an arm around her shoulder and over her sobbing protestations, I guided her into my folks room and told them what happened.
Fortunately, my mother believed her, uncle was summoned back along with all of the aunts and uncles who would attend, and there was a massive and frankly futile family meeting with a counselor present. But this sister took it heard. Very hard. She says she has forgiven but cannot forget….
Well, I haven’t forgiven, not even close. For someone to get forgiveness, they first have to acknowledge a wrong, make an earnest attempt not to recommit the transgression, and to ask for forgiveness and understanding. Hasn’t happened yet!
Apparently, all the other aunts and uncles knew about this uncle’s proclivity, this little foible of his. They were able to protect their daughters. Nobody told the family with FOUR daughters that they should be careful. In fact, they were mad at my folks for calling my uncle back and "ruining his summer vacation". They said that if we persisted in persecuting this uncle, we would be “out of the family”.
And they were right. Because at every subsequent family gathering, funeral, wedding, picnic, uncle has been present. And I get it, I do. He is a sibling, his parents only boy, a Deacon of the church and a paragon of virtue. His daughter, another cousin, was my best friend for years, until she moved away.
So anyway, we have this 95th birthday celebration coming up: coming up on my birthday as it happens, April 18th. All my cousins will be there with their spouses and their children, and in some cases, their grandchildren. Loved ones that I haven’t seen in decades, and I am not going. I could handle it by simply avoiding this man, but my baby sister cannot. She just can’t, and nothing makes it better, and I don’t blame her. Why should she be forced to fraternize with her molester or even be in the same space with him?
Beloved cousin, daughter of the equally beloved 95 year old celebrant, cannot understand why forgiveness comes so hard to us. She said her father has forgiven this uncle, his brother-in-law, so why can’t we?
What? Her father has forgiven his brother-in-law for molesting someone else’s daughters? What has he got to forgive? Embarrassment? Inconvenience?
Anyway, I’m not going to this function with my extended family. Again. I really, really want to. I would give almost anything to see my cousins again, but I would also rather eat nails coated with broken glass than further betray my sister.
She would say, “Go, go” but in her heart, I know it would really hurt her.