I can't forgive my cousin


#1

There is a horrible situation going on in my family and I need some advice. :frowning: It’s a long story but I’ll try to make it short and coherent.

I am 19, and since I was young, I’ve had a weird childhood memory of one of my cousins, let’s call him Ben, (who is 11 years older than me) threatening me and touching me in a sexual way :mad:. I won’t get into details but I remember crying and him only stopping when his sisters came in the room and saw what was going on. Now I was really young when that happened, but for some reason I still remember very clearly everything that happened.

All of my life I never talked about it to anyone, because I was wondering if it had really happened or if I had imagined it. As a child, I wouldn’t even think about it twice except a few nightmares, but when I became a teenager I started to understand what had happened to me. I never told anyone about it though.

However, recently I had been thinking more and more about it and having more nightmares, because this cousin is getting married this summer so his name would come back often in conversations at home. One day I got so upset that my mother asked me what was wrong, and I told her: " I remember what Ben did to me". Her face looked like this: :eek: She asked me what I remembered, and I told her everything. She told me that I was 4 when it happened (so Ben was 15), that her and my father were travelling so I stayed at my aunt’s house, and that when they came back I told them that Ben had “touched my parts” and that when they confronted him about it he denied it, but my aunt and my uncle apologized for him. I was really angry to learn that all that time my parents knew about this and they never tried to talk to me about it, that I had to deal with this alone.

On the next day I was thinking about this and I was crying, so my sister (2 years younger) asked me what was wrong. I had never told her because I didn’t want her to hate our cousin because of an old memory that I didn’t fully understand. Now that I knew that it was real, I told her what happened. There was a silence and then she told me that he had done the same thing to her* at our house* when she was 6 years old :bigyikes: Only she had never told anyone about it because Ben made her promise not to and since she was a child and he was 19 she was scared :mad: I was completely devastated to learn that my sister had been dealing with the same thing all this time.

On that night we told our parents to come in the living room and my sister told them that it happened to her too. They just said: oh…really. I told them that I refused to go to Ben’s wedding, and they agreed. My sister isn’t going either.

Now I can’t stop thinking about this whole story, I really hate Ben. I know we are supposed to forgive, but this is so hard :crying: I had almost come to terms with what had happened to me, I was always friendly with Ben even though I disliked him. But now I know that

  1. he lied when I told my parents what happened, and said that I invented it (as if a 4 year old would invent something like this)
  2. 4 years later, as an adult, he did the same thing to my little sister :mad:

I am also really angry at my parents, for never telling me what happened, even though they had no idea whether I knew or not. Also, I can’t believe the fact that someone would do this to their daughter and not even admit it and they would keep inviting him at our house, to our birthday parties and all.

This summer he is getting married so we have family members coming from different countries, and it will be awkward when my sister and I won’t show up to the wedding. I also feel horrible for his fiancée, a wonderful girl that I get along with really well since they started dating 8 years ago. She probably has no idea about the things he did to his cousins. I don’t think I would have the courage to say something though, especially when they are getting married in less than a month.

I feel, angry, sad, humiliated and confused. I just don’t know what to do.


#2

Thank you for coming here and for finding the courage to tell your story. I hope you find some comfort here. Also know that many people will be praying for you after reading your story.

As for your first question about forgiveness. It is my understanding that forgiveness is an act of the will, it is not an emotion. In otherwords you can say outwardly and to God that you forgive someone yet still have human feelings of hurt and anxiousness.

Also, forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. People can forgive others and still not want to have a relationship with them. For example: a parent could “forgive” the drunk driver that hit and killed their child…but that does not mean that they are going to invite the drunk driver over for dinner and be friends with them. A person can in the same way “forgive” their abuser but that does not mean they are going to invite them over for coffee.

As far as the fiancee…please pray about this and be open to God’s will. The fact that all of this is finally being talked about now before the wedding may not be a coincidence. Perhaps this is the Holy Spirit trying to get you to say something? She has a right to know the kind of person she is getting married to. You said you do not feel comfortable talking to his fiancee…are they being married by a priest? Perhaps you could make an appointment to contact the priest?

I will pray for you. Remember that Jesus loves you so much and he desires the best for you. Turn to him in your sorrow and frustration and anger and mixed feelings, he will help I promise.

God bless


#3

Thanks a lot for your answer and your prayer.

Yes, they are getting married by a priest, at my parish. He knows me well. Do you think that the priest would cancel the wedding or something if I told him?

I’m just really scared of what would happen if I said something, especially with all the family coming for the wedding, it would be such a mess, especially since that side of my family seems to love keeping dirty little secrets :mad:. Also, I am scared that people will criticize me for saying this at the last minute, they might ask why I haven’t said this before, that I am trying to ruin everything or something like that.

I do really feel like by doing nothing I am almost being an accomplice, what if he does it again? His fiancée has a really young niece, what if one day she asks him to babysit her?

I really feel like she should know what she is getting into. When I told my parents this, my father said that when you get married to someone you accept that you might discover things about their past, but I don’t think that I should help him hide something so awful. However, the fiancée hangs out a lot with my cousin’s two sisters, who are closer to her in age. They both saw what happened to me, and never told her (well I guess she wouldn’t still be with him if she knew :confused:). However, they don’t know that he did it again to my sister.

I really don’t know what to do, I feel like no matter what I do it will just go from bad to worse :frowning:


#4

I am so sorry for what happend you! I will also pray for you tonight.
Have you spoken to a therapist?


#5

He did that to your sister when he was 19? That is a serious crime. I think that you and she should seriously consider pressing charges against him. How long ago did this happen? Has the statute of limitations expired?

You may not like hearing this, but I think you have a responsibility to tell his fiance. Not out of spite or revenge, but because HE WILL LIKELY HAVE CHILDREN WITH HER. Because your parents did nothing after you told them when you were 4, he did the very same thing to your sister. CHANCES ARE HE DID THIS TO MANY OTHERS, if no one speaks out, he will continue to abuse and ruin lives.

This is not about exposing him or making him pay, but about trying to prevent a repeat child molester from harming more children. And I don’t think there is any question about the seriousness of what he did, 19 is an adult. I can imagine if he was 12 or something like that it could still be considered in the realm of innocent childish behavior. But sexually touching a 6 year old at 19. Everything that is said about this type of person is that they never change, and do it again and again.


#6

No, I really want to though because I can’t stop thinking about the “incident”, especially these days. My mother asked me a couple times if I wanted her to get me an appointment with a therapist and I said yes each time, but for some reason she seems to forget about it after :confused: My parents seem to have a “get over it” attitude about the whole thing, which makes me even more angry and depressed. I think I am going to look for a good therapist myself.


#7

Madam, please, please, please for goodness sakes talk to a therapist. I was staggered and humbled when I realized I needed a shrink. And boy did I, and boy did it help!


#8

It happened 15 years ago for me, and 11 years ago for my sister. I thought of pressing charges but I don’t know if it will do any good because there is no proof at all, and it happened a long time ago.

[quote=flyingfish]You may not like hearing this, but I think you have a responsibility to tell his fiance. Not out of spite or revenge, but because HE WILL LIKELY HAVE CHILDREN WITH HER. Because your parents did nothing after you told them when you were 4, he did the very same thing to your sister. CHANCES ARE HE DID THIS TO MANY OTHERS, if no one speaks out, he will continue to abuse and ruin lives.

This is not about exposing him or making him pay, but about trying to prevent a repeat child molester from harming more children.
[/quote]

I agree 100% with you. I really feel like I have to do or say something, I am just really scared especially because my dad really tried to talk me out of it, which really disgusted me. I definitely feel like I have to stop him. When he did that to me, my parents did nothing about it and 4 years later he did the same thing to my sister :mad: I don’t want to let that happen again, and I feel awful for his fiancee who has been with him for 8 years, just bought a house with him and is looking forward to her wedding.

I feel like I have to tell her, but I don’t know how. “Hey, your fiance tried to rape me when I was 4 and then he did the same with my sister when she was 6” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue :frowning:


#9

I definitely will. I am looking for one in my area right now.


#10

Good. And remember that we love you!


#11

This is something you should discuss with a therapist. Maybe it will be helpful for you and your sister to TRY to get justice, even if you don’t have physical evidence. Maybe the very act of confronting him through the legal system will help you to heal.

I agree 100% with you. I really feel like I have to do or say something, I am just really scared especially because my dad really tried to talk me out of it, which really disgusted me. I definitely feel like I have to stop him. When he did that to me, my parents did nothing about it and 4 years later he did the same thing to my sister :mad: I don’t want to let that happen again, and I feel awful for his fiancee who has been with him for 8 years, just bought a house with him and is looking forward to her wedding.

I feel like I have to tell her, but I don’t know how. “Hey, your fiance tried to rape me when I was 4 and then he did the same with my sister when she was 6” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue :frowning:

You should be disgusted with your dad, that is no way to react. Why do you think your parents seem so … un-shocked about this situation? Is there a history of abuse in the family? Do you think your cousin himself was abused by someone and all this is “known”? It almost seems like something is being hidden, and they are trying to avoid a confrontation to keep it so?

I think it is better that his fiance breaks up with him BEFORE she enters a sacramental marriage with a pedophile. Imagine how horrible she will feel when he abuses either her niece, or their own children, and she finds that she cannot ever be with a decent man because she can only be married once! That would be so much worse than breaking up with a man before getting married, and while still young, and finding another partner to have children with.

You and your sister should both talk to her, and to be honest I think to the authorities.

What is the likelihood that he has truly changed? How serious was the molestation? You said he tried to RAPE your 6 year old sister when he was 19? Can a person really change something so twisted?


#12

I agree, check the statute of limitations. The ones I know of allow a certain period of time after one turns either 18 or 21 to bring an accusation, so even if it is too late for you, it may not be too late for your sister, who most likely is still 17. Plus, at 17, the DCFS or whatever protective services agencies are in your area may get involved; she may even be able to speak to a school counselor. And yes, there is an unfortunate chance that it happened to others as well, and if word gets out it may inspire them to come forward.


#13

It’s possible that your dad fears being charged with negligence. Ask him what’s worse, that or an obstruction of justice charge on top of it?


#14

I’m not going to judge you or tell you what you should do or should have done, but I will tell you something I think you might relate too and might help you. Have you ever heard of Saint Maria Goretti? One day when she was 11 (although the Saint book I’m getting this from says 12, wikipedia says 11 and gave a date of birth and death and it seems she was 11.), a 19 year old boy helping on her farm, stopped by her house and tried to sexually assault her, she warned him it was a sin and he’d go to hell, when she began to fight with him, he stabbed her 14 times, she went to the hospital and suffered there for two days, when the priest asked if she’d ever forgive her attempted rapist, and soon to be murderer, she said “Yes, I forgive him for the Love of Jesus…and I want him to be with me in heaven. May God forgive him!” She died after two days. According to wikipedia, her murderer and attempted rapist later repented of his sins, and even went to Mass with her Mother, after he was released from prison. Prehaps you could pray to her for intercession, that she’ll help you to forgive your cousin, and maybe you could pray that your cousin will repent and go to confession. (I’m assuming he’s Catholic.) Just thought you might have wanted to hear that.


#15

Thank you so much for you support :o

[quote=flyingfish]You should be disgusted with your dad, that is no way to react. Why do you think your parents seem so … un-shocked about this situation? Is there a history of abuse in the family? Do you think your cousin himself was abused by someone and all this is “known”? It almost seems like something is being hidden, and they are trying to avoid a confrontation to keep it so?
[/quote]

I really don’t know why my parents are so un-shocked, it still drives me crazy. I don’t think that there is a history of abuse (but you never know), but my family on my father’s side does have a messed up mentality of keeping things on the down low, and keeping appearances fine even when wrong things are going on. :mad: I really don’t want to be like them, I feel like I will habe to be the one to break the silence.

[quote=flyingfish]I think it is better that his fiance breaks up with him BEFORE she enters a sacramental marriage with a pedophile. Imagine how horrible she will feel when he abuses either her niece, or their own children, and she finds that she cannot ever be with a decent man because she can only be married once! That would be so much worse than breaking up with a man before getting married, and while still young, and finding another partner to have children with.
[/quote]

You are right, I really needed to hear this. Sadly the only people to know about this are my parents, and as I’ve said before my father has really discouraged me from messing with “other people’s buisness”, and I am ashamed to say that I think it was starting to influence me, even though it still bothered me constantly (I am unable to concentrate at work because of this). But in the fiancee’s position, I would be mortified to discover something like this after getting married :eek: I guess I am a bit of a coward, I am already imagining all the drama (wedding guests are coming from overseas in about a week). I realize that it is my responsibility though, I just don’t know how to do it. What if she doesn’t believe me? :frowning:

[quote=flyingfish]What is the likelihood that he has truly changed? How serious was the molestation? You said he tried to RAPE your 6 year old sister when he was 19? Can a person really change something so twisted?
[/quote]

I really do think that there is something wrong with him. The molestation was pretty scary as I remember it :frowning: I don’t know if I am allowed to post details on this forum. I don’t know far he was planning to go with me, because his sisters interrupted him when they came in, saw what he was doing and started screaming (now I wonder if he ever did that to them too :confused:). Same with my sister, he followed her in a bathroom at our house and locked the door, and was interrupted when my parents called to say that dinner was ready so I don’t know how far he was planning to go :mad:


#16

I’ve read through this thread, and I have no advice, except that I’d have a heart to heart FIRST with your parents…why does your dad want to act like this never happened? Why didn’t he defend your sister/his daughter when she was 6, and Ben was 19? Something is off there, but my prayers are with you. What a terribly difficult situation you’re in, I’m sorry. :frowning:


#17

My sister never told anyone about what happened because my cousin had made her promise, she was the only one to know until a few weeks ago when she told me (after I told her why I was crying).


#18

When you go to Confession, tell Jesus (through the priest) what happened. In the Sacrament, you will be giving the incident and your confused feelings to Jesus and He will, in turn, give you peace and joy and take care of you. Trust in Jesus.


#19

Good advice.


#20

Thanks for sharing this story with me.
My cousin is Catholic but not a practicing one, he doesn’t go to Church at all, got Confirmed a month or two ago to be able to get married in the Church, and he’s been living with his fiancee for a few years. However, I will still pray that he will repent, since nothing is impossible.


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