I don’t watch your show. I vaguely remember when the child pageant show came out, and you paraded your little daughter out in front of America drinking “Go-Go Juice,” and belching the ABCs. I just couldn’t lower myself to watch the train wreck that is your life. But you and I have something in common. My name is Kara, for what it’s worth, and I am your future in-law. If you had a son, I would be your future daughter-in-law. I am the mother (or in your case the father) of your future grandchildren. I am the one that has to bite their tongue when child sex abuse isn’t called child sex abuse, it is called a mistake, and when there are lies-after-lies told to hide the terrible awful truth. I am the person that has to face the reality that my children could become a statistic of your “mistakes.”
I swallowed vomit that night. It is no conversation a grown child should have with his future spouse, and yet here we were going through the criminal past of my father-in-law. I also heard, neither my father-in-law, or my sister-in-law were prosecuted, and these were just “accusations.” They didn’t know for sure if there was any truth to them, but to me a woman who was raised in a Beaver Cleaver family, it didn’t matter if the accusations were true, or not. They were scathing and scary. The story got even worse. My mother-in-law divorced and remarried another man. They had a child together. This was going to be her only child that would not be touched by my father-in-law’s mistake, so my mother-in-law thought. Until one day, my sister-in-law told my husband of a time a child hood friend had touched her down there, and then lay on top of her and “humped” her. I was absolutely dumbfounded. Every single child that my mother-in-law had was sexually assaulted.
The victimization goes back farther than that. My mother-in-law was also sexually assaulted twice, both by my father-in-law, and by an uncle as a little girl. And it has started to extend beyond my husband’s generation. There are fresh accusations against my sister-in-law with her children, and my niece has come forward with a rape allegation against her mother’s ex-husband. And so here I sit with two children, one of them is mentally vulnerable, and another is my father-in-law’s perfect victim.
Most people would think that it would be easy to cut-off a family such as this, but it’s a lot more difficult than it looks. My husband is in contact with his dad, because his dad has alienated himself from everyone, and my husband was the only one who would talk to him. If he angers his father, he feels guilt, because he is all my father-in-law has. I gave him a chance. I figured if my husband could forgive for his sins, then the Godly thing to do was to forgive, but with each passing year I was forgiving him for more and more. The first couple of years, I was berated publicly twice a restaurant. The first for having horrible manners at our wedding, and the second time for dressing like a slut to go see a Holiday Concert (I was in a long velvet dress). I forgave him for that “mistake.” I forgave him for sitting at my Thanksgiving Day meal and explaining the reason he raped his daughter was she was fat, and had grown breasts too young. Now, I sit and see my daughter, who happens to be a little hefty, and I am terrified that she will become a victim, because of she is “fat and is developing breasts.” Perhaps, this is why, I make my daughter do sports, and she has hidden her Halloween candy, so I don’t take it away. It doesn’t matter that every woman develops breasts, but it terrifies me that my daughter is budding sexually at the age of 9. I forgave him the one Christmas he gave us a DVD called “Talk To Her,” and that he utilized that as a his pulpit to explain that sometimes rape isn’t such a bad thing. In the movie, one of the main stars rapes a woman who is in a coma, and gets her pregnant. The pregnancy helps her to “come out of her coma.” I forgive him for screaming at my husband during an argument so loudly over the phone that he wakens the children on countless occasions. I am very forgiving, but not very forgetful.
I tell myself the only reason I allow him to see the grandkids is that he is only allowed to see them under very controlled scenarios. But he still terrifies me. In the rare instance that he visits, for weeks before he comes I have nightmares that he will find out where my kids go to school, and check them out. They know him, and would go with him. Every time we move, I inform the school and the teachers that my children are not allowed to go with their grandfather no matter what he says, or what he does. And if he gets insistent that they are to call the police. He has waved grandparents rights in front of my nose on several occasions. One time when my husband deployed, he said that he was going after custody of my kids, because I have diagnosis that would deem me an unfit mother. I’ll take your unfit mother and raise you four rape allegations.
We are approaching military retirement, and this is the one period I dread. My husband wants to return to our home state. I would like to return there too; but I will not return there because my father-in-law still lives. We live over 3000 miles away from his family right now. I forgo going to visit my family because I don’t want my children to become a statistic.
June, I don’t want them to become like your children. I don’t want to continue the cycle. Even though my father-in-law is welcome in our home, and he is allowed to visit as long as he stays in a hotel and comes at a time when both my husband and I are available. He will not visit us. He has scheduled visits, only to cancel at the last minute. He blames his degrading relationship with our children on me, even though it was my husband who made the rules regarding his visits.
You see June, that’s what I’m trying to tell you. Your mistake, your cover-up, your continued insistence on having these men in your life and the lives of your children will forever change your child’s destiny, and it will affect your grandchildren. Do you want to be the grandma that Honey Boo-Boo brings her children to for a cooking baking session, to go to a game, or to do what you enjoyed doing with Honey Boo-Boo, going to pageants (though I disagree with them, but whatever floats your boat), or are you going to be the grandmother that is not allowed to see ANY of her grandchildren? I can tell you that I am incredibly frustrated and saddened that I can never go “home” and watch my nieces and nephews grow up, and my kids cannot be close to their cousins, because of one person’s “mistakes”.
Sex abuse is a family thing. It affects the family, and the effects are not just immediate. It will take your family several generations. I really hope you consider that when you talk about your mistakes. Your children, your grandchildren, and even your great-grandchildren, will be paying for your “mistakes”.
Child sex abuse is not a mistake. It ruined your children’s lives, it has ruined your life, it has inexorably negatively affected my life, and it has changed the course of my children’s lives.
Kara, your future in-law
Photo Credit: Flickr
*Editor’s note: this piece was written in response to allegations that the star of “Honey Boo Boo”, Mama June, has re-ignited a relationship with her convicted rapist ex boyfriend, and that her youngest child, Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson is at risk for becoming his next victim.*