MEMORIES LOCKED AWAY

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When my cousin recounted her own nightmarish experiences to me, of course I didn’t doubt of the truth of them. Memories that I had boxed and bolted away started to return. My memories are very sketchy chronologically, but I will always remember certain moments with perfect clarity.

Something that strikes me as very strange in all of this was the fact that my Aunt was always there. Much of these molestations were actually happening right under her nose.  I can’t help but wonder now the part she played in all of this. Why did she put me in a room on my own for sleepovers? Why didn’t she check to find out where her husband has disappeared to? I don’t believe she couldn’t know.

Perhaps this is why she stood by him throughout the court case, preferring to believe his claims of innocence instead of the accusations of at least 4 of us. I think that was a can of worms she was way too afraid to open….the word accomplice comes to mind.

The next question that would logically be asked is, “Why did I go?” I can imagine the knitted brow and confused expression of many of my readers now. I can understand that. The answer is simple….I would have loved to have simply said “No thanks” to those invitations. It didn’t seem that simple back then though. I was invited to my Aunts’ on the basis that I would be spending time with her three girls and going horse riding the next day. I could easily have said no to this except for the fact that I was passionate about horses from a very young age. Everybody knew that.

I remember the thought process well; if I said no, my parents would have known something was wrong and have asked me about it. This would mean I would either have had to lie to them or tell them what was really happening. This brings me back to my earlier comment, “What had he said to me to keep me quiet?” I have no memory whatsoever of that except that it worked. As a child, it never occurred to me that others in my family would suffer his abuse because of my silence.

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THE FALL OUT

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flikrIf I had known that I wasn’t the only cousin he had preyed on, I may have been able to say something. I don’t know. Who knows what he may have said to keep me quiet (and the others). I don’t remember. All I can say is that all of us were changed irreversibly by that trusted member of our family.
The first my parents knew of any of this was 30 years later. I was pregnant with my third son and a younger cousin was taking that bastard to court. It was a shock to me, when my father spoke quietly to me in the peace of his back garden about what was coming to light within the family. It was difficult for him to verbalise, I know this much, but he gently told me the allegations of my cousin. I was horrified, dismayed, appalled and sickened. However, his next question just completely surprised me. After he had told me some details, he said to me, “Your Aunt has said that she doesn’t believe any of these allegations but if she found that it had happened to you she could perhaps consider the possibility that this happened to your cousin”. I answered the question truthfully and respectfully as I could see the pain in my father’s posture (I didn’t dare look into his eyes). But my entire being was screaming in anger at the doubt surrounding my cousin’s accusation. Of course I knew it to be true. But even so, why would a woman at the age of 28 and no recent contact with this man suddenly decide to do this without good reason. Not for fun that’s for sure. Not for money, he had none. I’ll tell you why. The things he did to her were unspeakable and as a little girl, she wasn’t able to get away from it. He picked her up from school every day.

( Just feel I need to clarify that the “Uncle” concerned was NOT blood related)

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