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)






His breath expelled in short rhythmic bursts, steam pouring from his nostrils into the cold and still night air. My legs wrapped around the saddle and my bare ankles feeling the warmth of his heaving sides. His neck was stretched out, reaching towards our destination; rising and falling with the pulse of his thundering hooves. The tail of my dressing gown along with the damp clods of earth flew out behind us as if we were shooting machine gun bullets at the devil behind us.

Nearing our family bridge, I imagined the age old sentry pine trees at the farm gate and the warm and inviting light coming from the century old homestead. My family would perhaps be sitting around the table with a fire blazing, playing cards, watching television or colouring with the oddments of pencils and crayons Granny kept in her chiffoniere draw. Granny herself would more than likely be knitting in her favourite chair. The wool trailing into a muddled basket and her gnarled and arthritic fingers in the shape that the knitting of jumpers, cardigans and dressing gowns for her 21 grandchildren had set them.

It’s not how it was though. This was the escape I conjured in my head whilst my Uncle molested me at his family home not far from the farm. His rank alcohol and cigarette-laced breath exhaled unapologetically in my face, his neck stretched out seeking and reaching for my affection, his sides heaving with desire and his careless, stumpy and grown-up fingers touching my innocent seven year old flesh. I left on my horse and flew like the wind every time he came to my room.

(I’m sorry this is a bit heavy for a first entry but I have only recently started to understand the impact this has had on my life. I also am very aware of the amount of women who have suffered similar circumstances as children. I believe that, as women, brothers, parents and friends we need to share and discuss these experiences more openly so that we can understand and better protect the little girls that are our future).

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