I’m not quite sure where to start. I’m reeling from the shock of my brother’s letter this week. And obsessively turning his words over and over in my head. Searching for something deep, or loving. Scouring those few little paragraphs for any shred of kindness.
All I can see is this breathtaking selfishness. After writing him a lengthy explanation describing the pain he has caused me and how traumatic the abuse he inflicted on me was, I thought he might begin to understand. Even just a little.
What he really wants though is to carry on getting away with it. He wants to be able to pretend it all never happened so nothing will change. He doesn’t give me the respect or the dignity of acknowledging how deeply he has wounded me. Instead, he assumes that because he’s managed to knock up his wife, all will be forgiven.
There is so much about this turn of events that I can’t get my head around. Probably the most confusing part is why he and my sister in law have decided to start a family right now. Until last summer, when I broke the silence, he’d kept this dark secret from her. I had foolishly deduced that their relationship would be under strain a a consequence. And I guess I thought it would go without saying that she wouldn’t want to have sex with him.
I truly can’t understand how she could feel able to let him close to her in a sexual way. But this baby is of course evidence that she has. It feels so unjust that the abuse stands in the way of my wife and I being physically close, yet the perpetrator is close enough with his wife to be starting a family. That is like a punch in the stomach.
The silver lining in this whole fucked up situation is my anger has become more defined. It has settled into this clear, white-hot force. It is a here and now anger, a rage against my family’s denial and my abuser’s seemingly contented life.
Unfortunately, I don’t know how to manage an emotion that powerful. I cut myself a lot this week, to the extent that I ended up in hospital on Thursday evening. I just don’t know what else to do when my feelings engulf me. Cutting doesn’t make me feel better. But it does shift something. It changes the focus and my thought pattern. And therefore it brings some fleeting relief.
Despite the failure in self-harming this week, I feel somehow stronger. I am resolved, once and for all, that I won’t be silent anymore. My abuser has lived without consequences for twenty years now and I have finally chosen, for myself, that I will not allow that to continue. I won’t let the willful ignorance of my family stretch out into my future.
I am going to speak the truth. However painful, shocking, horrific that is. I will say it. And I will be heard.
Photo: darkday, Creative Commons.