Quite a little pickle I've got to share with you today.
(You know who I like? That pickle stork. You know...the one with the pickles...no? *cough* sorry, I thought a little Frisky Dingo early on may lighten this post a little...)
Anyhoo...so, the dilemma...first, some things you should know (if you don't already).
- I was sexually abused as a child.
- My mother was sexually abused as a child.
-My uncle has just been released from prison for sexually abusing a child.
Ok, so basically several years ago my uncle was caught molesting a child he was babysitting.
My mother was extremely upset, as you can imagine and basically disowned him. Having being abused as a girl, she was horrified he could do anything like that, especially when he'd seen first hand the lifelong damage it causes.
However, it was left up to my mother to become the executor of his estate so she could ensure that his daughters (late teens) would be cared for. During the course of this time my mother spoke to my uncle regularly and came to understand his remorse for his actions. He had refused bail so he would be removed from temptation and he eagerly attended courses and counselling whilst in prison to learn to cope with the compulsion he felt (one of which actually meant an extension of his sentence so he could attend as it was only held at a regional prison).
When he was released, my mother was there for him and helped him get on his feet again. Both of my sisters have refused to have anything to do with him but apart from a quick glance at the shops, I had yet to have any contact with him that forced that decision upon me.
Then a couple of weeks ago, I received a request via Facebook that was from someone I didn't know with a message attached. It was actually from my uncle, explaining that he was using a different name and just to see how I was.
I was torn. Having been abused, I felt a lot of anger towards him, and I didn't think it was my place to offer forgiveness - it wasn't me he had wronged so I can't grant that.
On the other hand, it must be hard, trying to rehabilitate into society when society isn't allowing you the chance to prove you've reformed.
And so I debated about it for a while and finally decided to accept him on FB.
Of course, I'm not a complete dimwit. I did go and edit all my security settings so he has no access to any of my photos, only very very basic information. At the end of the day I may be trying to help him reform but the well being of my nieces and nephews comes first.
I told my sisters what had happened and what precautions I had taken and they reacted in rather the manner I was expecting. Basically they flipped out. They feel a lot of hate towards him and don't want me to have anything to do with him. I had to assure them of the precautions I had taken to prevent them from de-friending me.
But the way I see it...both my sisters have a lot of friends on Facebook (until a week ago when some glitch went and deleted a heap of Barb's friends, she had over 350! ). Just how well can you know 350 people??? At least with my uncle, we're aware of his past and can take the measures to ensure the safety of not just the kids in my family, but also that of children of our friends (and by this I obviously don't mean physical safety, but the safe use of any photos on FB). But any one of those 350 people could be dodgy, you just never know and they have complete access to Barb's profile and photos. So in this case I really feel it's better the devil you know...
And ultimately I really, honestly hope that the man who abused me has been given this chance by someone out there who has faith in him. Because if he hasn't, that means he's still out there, still a potential threat and for all I know, subjecting other little girls to the same fate as me.
So, what do you think? Have I done the right thing? Or do you agree with my sisters and think I should delete him and have nothing to do with him?