It wasn’t me.
There are no support groups for this. No teary-eyed confessions where people tell you it’s just a social stigma and it’s going to be okay. You can’t even admit to any wrongdoing. Just a shameful secret you can’t tell anyone because the stupidest mistake he made, besides diddling two little girls, was to confess it to his $500 per session therapist.
My reactions varied. At first, the actual offense bothered me the least of all of it. I already didn’t like him as a person.
I hated that he told me. I didn’t hate him for doing it. I hated that he’d spent most of my memorable life pretending he had something to be sad about, looking for some excuse to have a deep spiritual catharsis, until he finally confessed to this heinous act I couldn’t wrap my mind around. It was as if he let his need for attention override his need to provide a father and a home for his children. Or his need to not have a broom handle broken off in his ass in prison. He almost seemed to get off on the confession. Afterwards, he thanked me and said I was the first person he told where it wasn’t about him. He sounded so proud of himself saying that.
No charges were pressed. It was almost 20 years ago, and both victims were of legal age now. I don’t know the specifics, but it was something like that. After that, he and my mom went to years of therapy together. It was hard, and there was a lot of yelling, but they’re slowly healing it.
Just kidding about that second part. As soon as he was cleared, he asked for a divorce and left my mom for another woman. When he left, his first family had 4 sons ages 16 to 21. His new family had 4 girls, aged 6 to 13. He wanted to maintain a relationship with us, and didn’t understand just how insulting it was to try and introduce us to his new family and new wife. Or how damaging it was to bring her to my little brothers’ high school band concerts.
I still managed to get protective, in my own way. I was the 8th person he’d told. Everyone else was in his “church” of 21st century hippies. Apparently even hippies are squeamish about sex when children are involved; a “concerned mother” made a lot of noise to get him banned from seeing a play starring two of his sort-of-daughters. I remember thinking “Who is this uppity cunt with something to prove? He’s not a risk, he’s not jerking off in the theater. He just wants to watch a play like anyone else.” I still hated him for destroying our family.
Eventually I repaired our relationship and mostly forgot about certain things. They would still come up in my mind, but only in passing. Turns out his new family was better than ours, and except for being a home wrecker, his new “wife” was a wonderful woman. They still aren’t married. They welcomed me with open arms. I cried a little when they made me a special dinner for my birthday and all the girls made a banner with personalized notes for me on it. I missed having a family.
I developed a slew of commitment issues after he left. I discovered the joy of casual sex, and it became a self-destructive pattern of re-affirming that I wasn’t good enough for a relationship. It was also fun. Eventually I started pursuing relationships. I was overly detached for most and overly attached for one. I found a girl I actually connected with, and cared about. I get physically ill and lose sleep every time she does cocaine. The first night we had sex, she told me she was raped by her friend. Last night she told me she was molested by her cousin when she was 8. Then she went home and did a few lines. I realized every girl I’ve been with since high school had a history of sexual abuse. And of the 15 or so stories, one was publicly admitted. None were reported to the police. Every single one of the offenders got away with it. I wonder how many went on to raise families. I wonder how many started over before they completely finished the first one.
It wasn’t me.