kids

'A letter to my grandmother, who stayed married to the man who abused my mum.'

This article deals with issues of child abuse and may be triggering to some readers. The author of this post is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

The man you married, had three beautiful daughters with, the man you’ve spent your life with – has just been revealed to be a child molester. The offences took place over a period of five years, 20 years ago.

You had no idea.

It happened under the same roof you were living under.

You had no idea.

It happened to your daughter.

You had no idea…

This horrifying, sinister information is tearfully revealed to you years later, by your daughter, who is done trying to keep it a secret. She wants to heal. She wants to speak out about it. She wants to stop dealing with it on her own. She wants her mother. She wants to be told she is loved and that it’s okay. She wants to stop playing happy families when she is so deeply hurt, traumatised and unhappy.

Side note – we lose one woman every week in Australia to domestic violence, but that’s just the tip of a very grim iceberg. Post continues after video. 

This man took her innocence. This man preyed on her when she was 12 years old.

What do you do?

It’s 1998. You’re old now. This happened years ago. It’s too hard to deal with. It’s too embarrassing to talk about.

You decide to stay with this man. This decision is the worst decision you have ever made. 20 years on you cannot reconcile your guilt. You decide to just bury the truth. No one needs to know. You try to maintain a relationship with your daughter. You don’t understand why she can’t just get over it. You sit by as her children slowly disengage from you. They know the truth. The decision to avoid contact was easy for them. It’s not easy for your daughter. You are her mother, he is her father. She tries, but it’s so hard.

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She tells her younger sister. She needs understanding and love and compassion. Your youngest daughter is initially disgusted. Then, not so much. This happened so long ago. Why doesn’t she just get over it? Why did she have to destroy the image her younger sister had of her father?

You are angry now. Why is she telling people? This is embarrassing for you! Why is she still so angry about it all. Why can’t she just move on? What’s her problem?

Your daughter’s babies have babies. They don’t keep in touch, you see photos on Facebook of them and you are mad that you are being punished by them. You would love to have them in your life. You are a great grandmother, you are a fantastic-great grandmother. Why don’t they appreciate you?

Your husband grows ill. You say nothing to your daughter. You convince yourself she won’t care. He dies. You still say nothing to your daughter. She finds out and you tell her that under no uncertain terms is she allowed to attend the funeral. You don’t want her there. You’ve been punished by her for 20 years because you chose to stay with him.

She wanted understanding. She wanted compassion. She wanted the opportunity to reconcile her feelings about the man who tortured her. She had a right to decide whether she’d attend his funeral or not.

You made another bad decision.

You don’t want her in your life anymore. You don’t want anything to do with her or her children or their children. They are all terrible because they made you feel guilty for staying with a man who stole your daughter’s childhood.

But here’s the truth.

YOU hurt her.
YOU punished her.
YOU are angry at the wrong person.
YOU will never be at peace.

YOUR daughter will also never be at peace.

So my question is – what kind of mother does that to their child?

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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