Dear Mom and Dad:
Thank you for replying to my letter. I have a better understanding of your feelings at this time regarding the incest.
You said in your reply, 'We quite honestly do not know just what you expect of us.' That seems to be a true statement. I think it only fair that I tell you. What I wanted from you was love, understanding and empathy. I wanted you to believe what I tell you'not deny the seriousness of implications; accept responsibility for the ways you failed me; provide helpful information as I regain my memory. What I expected was that you would support both your children and educate yourself by reading and seeking a counselor. I expected some disbelief and anger, but not blame. What I have received has been worse than I thought you capable of. In the face of clear memories, confessions, and Mom's eyewitness account, I am faced with complete denial (Dad's letter claimed that sexual abuse was 'simply foreign to our way of life'), minimization (Mom's comments about 'years in question' and 'whatever happened in the past'), hostility (the tone of your replies), rejection (Mom said, 'You are no longer the little girl...'), and blame ('Jane was mean so Jim had to move out,' and 'Jane's not well'). I am told that my parents were perfect, my childhood ideal, and my abuser saintly. I am continually shown how you protect him from me, but will not protect me from him. I have been rejected because I told the truth. Even though you know the truth, you are angry at me because the truth makes you uncomfortable and, as Mom said in the beginning, I 'spoiled your dinner.'
Perhaps this letter can clarify the situation. You need to know the truth in order to make intelligent decisions.
My childhood was not 'ideal' even though we both have some pleasant memories. The truth is that I was sexually violated repeatedly during most of my childhood. Jim sexually molested me from the time I was four years old (that I remember so far). The abuses I remember include: being tied with ropes to bed and chairs; being gagged in my mouth with bandanas and clothing; rug burns from being pulled along shag carpet; being urinated on; being forcibly stripped; having my breasts fondled; being threatened with a knife, and talk of a gun; being told 'some day I am going to kill you;' waking up at night to find his hands on my body. He would tie me to his bed, strip to his underwear, and rub himself on top of me until orgasm. I had objects inserted into my rectum. He repeatedly forced me to fondle his genitals and perform oral sex on him. He even brought his friends to join in the assaults. Ralph was a witness to some of these events. I specifically remember that he saw me stripped and held in front of your bedroom mirror, and he repeatedly saw me chased and dragged into different rooms. Many assaults were in your bedroom and on your own bed. I know I told Mom clearly and repeatedly what was happening to me. For example: I asked for a lock to my bedroom ('Not necessary' and 'dangerous,' I was told); I said he kissed me on the lips ('I'll talk to him,' she said); I said he took my clothes off ('Why do you lie about things like that?'); I said he beat me up ('Handle it between yourselves'); and I begged for a baby-sitter so we would not be left alone ('You children are old enough now...'). I know I behaved in a way that clearly demonstrated my fear of him. I often contemplated and, on more than one occasion, attempted suicide.
These are just a sample of my traumatic memories. I continue to remember more as I continue healing. Each memory comes with a package of emotional and physical symptoms. I feel the same things I felt during the abuse. For example: fear of closets and showers; the feeling of someone behind me; feeling breath on my neck; nausea and gagging; fear of seven year old boys; suicidal feelings; intense depression; guilt and shame. The flashbacks are always shocking and seem unreal even though I can suddenly remember the events so clearly. The incest has long-term consequences as well, but you can read the book, Right to Innocence, for yourself to see the symptoms I am experiencing.
You, too, are experiencing the natural consequences of incest. You tell me that some things are hurtful to discuss with Jim. You are annoyed that people 'know,' and you feel jumpy when the phone rings, etc. Had you handled the incest years ago, we would not be in this difficult situation now. I am not responsible for the consequences of choices you made; therefore, I refuse to accept any blame. You have been very proud of your work as a social worker, with the foster home, and with the Children's Home Society. You knew that child sexual abuse existed (contrary to Dad's letter), and you must have known and recognized the symptoms in me. You have no one to blame but yourselves. You are without excuse in your failure to recognize and correct the problems of long-term incest and other sexual abuse.
All the literature clearly states that sexual abusers do not reform without major intervention. Jim's actions toward me became increasingly violent and sexual until we moved; therefore, it is almost certain that he continues to sexually abuse others. There is no evidence at all that he has reformed. Please read his affidavit at this time. Reformed offenders do not commit perjury. You can choose to enable him in his illness, or you can encourage him to get help.
Recently I called Ralph. He said, 'I don't appreciate what you are doing to my brother and my parents,' then he hung up on me. This seems to reflect your sentiments as well. This places blame on me. I remind you: I am the victim. In considering your written responses, Ralph's verbal response, and Jim's legal response, my decision has become evident.
Let me review some facts: I am innocent, you are responsible, Jim is guilty. Jim sexually abused me and admitted to it. Sue and Lori witnessed it and were victimized by him as well. Jim molested a neighbor girl and her parents confronted you. Mom actually caught him molesting me. Currently, you blame me for your family problems, you are angry at me for disrupting your life, you consistently minimize the effect incest has had on my life, and you deny that it could have been a serious problem. I know what is true. I also know I have a responsibility to myself, my husband, and my children to continue healing. Your responses are harmful to my healing process. You give me only pain in our contacts.
You may be thinking again, 'we quite honestly do not know just what you expect of us.' I expect you to make a choice. The first option is permanent separation: we would no longer consider ourselves parent and daughter. Although part of me still loves and needs you, I don't want you as parents because your behavior is unhealthy for me (dysfunctional), and you refuse to provide the love and support I need. I fully anticipate this option may continue to be your choice. That is why I felt it necessary to write this letter of confrontation. I expect this letter could be our last communication. Permanent separation means no letters, calls, cards, gifts, or visits of any kind to any member of my family for any reason.
The second option would be intervention. You could arrange a trip to Seattle and meet with me and my psychologist daily for one week at your expense. This is the only possible alternative for many reasons. First it would demonstrate a sincere willingness on your part to change. It would provide you with the counseling you need as parents of a sexual offender and of a victim. It would be a way for you to accept some responsibility for your role in the abuse. It would be a show of love and support for me. Finally, it would be the only way I would ever communicate with you again.
I refuse to be hurt by your response to this letter. The only reply I will accept is your itinerary mailed from your travel agent. Any other form of communication will not be accepted. If I do not hear form you by August 1, I will assume you have made your choice at this time.
(All names have been changed.)