But I want to put the record straight, because there seems to be some confusion amongst my friends and family. This weekend my husband and I have been invited to my baby brother’s wedding. I want to go. I’d love to go. He’s my baby brother and I’d love to see him married. I thought I could do it. I live in the Now, and the past is the past, right? However, some things in the past are just too large and too big to stay there forever. You see, he’s also invited another member of the family whom I never wish to lay eyes on again, and if I do, I might put a knife through his chest. Might. The temptation would be too great. I can’t really risk it.
Why? Because when I took this member of my family into my home, he molested two of my daughters, then aged five and 18 months. You read that right. Five years old, and eighteen months. And I didn’t stutter, he sexually assaulted them — for months before I found out. You might ask why I’m putting this out on a public forum. Why? Because I have nothing to hide. Everything I’m about to tell y’all is the truth and I’m tired of people speaking about it in hushed tones. Monsters need to be pointed out because once a predator, always a predator. And I’m tired of the lies.
I remember how I found out all to clearly. My (first) husband was in the Navy and out to sea. My brother (not the one getting married, another one) came with us to Washington to help me with the kids ages, 5, 4, 18 months, and newborn. I’d been up most of the night with the baby and was so exhausted that when I heard my brother go into the bathroom through the vents, I didn’t pay much attention to it. When I heard my 18 month old go in to use her potty chair, I didn’t think much of it either. Everyone’s family, right? So long as everyone’s sitting down, it’s all covered. She was a baby. Then I heard her start crying and him shushing her. My exhausted mind didn’t make the connection at the time. Because what could possibly be going on between my brother and my eighteen month old child? You just don’t think of things like that. It wasn’t until hours later, when I was awake and coherent that the horror of what I heard half asleep dawned on me.
I couldn’t question my 18 month old. She’d have no idea what I was asking. She’d have no way of articulating what might be going on. So when I picked my five year old up from school, I started asking her questions. “Do you and your uncle play games while Mommy is gone?”
“Yes, but I’m not supposed to tell you.”
“You should always tell Mommy everything.”
“We play house while you’re gone. Uncle is the Daddy and I’m the Mommy.” And the whole, ugly story came out.
I tried to stay calm. I really did. But how could I stay calm? How? My brother, whom I trusted with my children, betrayed that trust in the worst way. I drove past my house to the nearest neighbor’s house and knocked on her door. And that’s where I lost it. I used her phone to call the police — after I forcibly took the baseball bat out of her husband’s hands and prevented him from beating my brother to death. Because he wanted to. He was on his way out of the door when I tackled him and wretched the bat out of his hands. “You’ll go to jail!” I said. “Think about your family!”
“That bastard may have touched my girls too!” And he’s right. My brother spent a lot of time around this guy’s kids. But I talked him out of beating my brother up with a baseball bat. He would have killed him. It’s a choice I sometimes regret to this day.
I started making phone calls, because I didn’t really know what to do, what to believe… My family, all of them, roundly denied that he could ever do such a thing. My mother’s first words were, “I suppose everyone’s going to blame me for this.” And I can’t blame them completely. Even I didn’t want it to be true. I fluctuated between believing and not believing in those first hours too. I mean, how could someone do such a thing to his own family… to babies?
But, I’d heard it with my own ears, and as a mother, I had to believe my child. First things first, he needed to get as far away from my children as possible.
The police finally came.
Instead of arresting him on the spot (as they should have done), they told me they would take him to a men’s shelter and that he could not go penniless, so I should give him $50. Remember, I was hysterical. All I wanted was to get this man out of my house and away from my children. I gave him $50. They took him away. He fled the state and went to the shelter of my mother’s home.
Remember… my husband was out to sea, my brother had betrayed me in the vilest fashion, and my mother sided with him. My neighbors now viewed me with suspicion because how could I have not known what was going on under my roof? I went manic. It wasn’t fun. I don’t remember much of the next few months until my husband came home, but some things are crystal clear. My twin, thank goodness, came down to help with the kids. We took my daughter to the doctor a little while later because she developed an infection, and it was there that we learned my brother had done her some damage. Not a lot, but enough. She was Five. Years. Old. It was then that compulsory charges were filed by the doctor and my brother was arrested. He couldn’t refute the medical evidence. They wouldn’t take a hysterical woman’s word for it, but they’d take a doctor’s report. He was sentenced to 10 years, I believe. I don’t know how much time he served because I cut all ties with him the day I attended his sentencing and he looked at me and asked for clemency. My mother called and asked, “How could you let your brother go to jail?” Those were the last words my mother ever said to me. We haven’t spoken since. No one seemed to care what he’d done to my daughters, what the long term affects would be.
To this day, nearly thirty years later, my family believes that I falsely accused my brother of molesting my daughter. That he was falsely put in jail on a five year old’s word, and that I “misunderstood” what went on. No. I didn’t. My daughters and I are not the villains of this piece. He is. My daughters are the victims. He ruined my daughters’ childhoods. He also ruined my son’s childhood (who was four, they shared a room). Who knows what he did to my son? Made him watch? My brother is the only scumbag of this story. He is a registered sex offender and he deserves to be. When he went to prison, I actually wished they’d “make an example” of him and he’d die there… for real. No one was sadder than I when he was released. I suppose that makes me a terrible person, but there it is. I wanted him to suffer as he made my daughters suffer, and I don’t have the means to do that.
Anyway, I don’t blame my family for continuing to love and support him, and I’m not asking them to chose sides. They are welcome to continue to love and support him, even believe him if they want to. It’s in our nature to want to believe those we love. Our minds don’t want to believe that we can love monsters. It’s not possible, right? As I mentioned before, it took my mind time to believe and I knew it to be true. But I do want to set the record straight. They’ve only heard his side for so long. I will however not attend functions that he is attending, nor will I acknowledge him as my brother. He betrayed that kinship, and he is dead to me.
Edited to add: I mis-remembered something. My mother and I reconciled once after this… briefly… because my husband and I moved back to our hometown and I didn’t want to deny my children a grandmother. It didn’t last. I wrote about that here. I’m not sure why I forgot about that. I suppose some things just get pushed around time-wise as we get older.