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I surprised me

If frank talk of sexual abuse bothers you, do NOT read this posting.



I wasn’t going to post about this at all; but the incident is still bothering me two months later. A customer was in the store and we got talking. His father had recently died in Germany and he was relating some of the family reactions. Being a writer, I was making mental notes for the future. When he spoke of his sister’s reaction to their father’s death, the conversation changed. He told of his father sexually abusing his three sisters and impregnating at least one of them. I won’t go into more detail than that.


He was very troubled that his father did that; but even more troubled that his mother helped cover it up. It was a classic case of “what would the neighbours think?” He asked me, hypothetically, “If we were married and I did that to our daughters, what would you do?” I didn’t pause to think. I simply replied, “I would cut off your penis, shove it into your mouth and then kill you.” What has kept this in my mind for the past two months was the coolness and concreteness of my reaction. My reply was swift with no pause for thought and the response was delivered very dispassionately even though it contained violence and matter-of-fact brutality.


I never thought of myself as a black and white person. In my world, everything is in shades of grey; but this one subject brought out definitiveness that I never knew I had. I still don’t feel my answer was wrong; just unexpected. It makes me wonder what other things I may have definite views on and not know yet. I’m still searching to find out.


BTW, my answer was what he expected. Unfortunately, it didn’t help him understand his mother’s position any more than before we spoke.

(edited to fix a typo)


Maybe it doesn't help him understand his mother's position, but I do hope it makes him think twice before acting like that himself.
I get the distinct impression he is absolutely disgusted with his father. I have been around people who have done those things (primarily an ex-boyfriend and some of his 'friends' - explains the "ex" part of that) and he was definitely not like them in any way.

I think he is trying to come to terms with his mother's actions, or lack thereof. I doubt he would consider doing the same as his father. His reaction to my reply was "Exactly, so why didn't my mother stop it?" To see a 60-something reduced to child-like questioning was difficult.
I think your reaction was very understandable under the circumstances -- even if you usually see things in shades of grey. It's only human to have an intense response to something that disturbing. At least you can recognize that this isn't a grey issue for you and that you have very strong feelings on the subject. As for what else isn't a grey issue, I suppose you'll discover that in time. Maybe it's something you'll end up exploring in your writing.
Thank you. I guess I've always felt a bit wishy-washy because I generally see many sides to an issue. Taking a definite stand was unusual for me.

April 2015



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