Sunday, March 07, 2010

A dilemma

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 *cough* sorry, I thought a little Frisky Dingo early on may lighten this post a little...), 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.

Heavy issues...

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?


Shawna said...

Wow, that's a tough decision to make. I think that you've done the compassionate thing by him, and also done the wise thing by editing your security settings.

From what he's done to rehabilitate himself, it seems that he is truly remorseful, and I believe that he should be given the chance to show that he's changed. (However, should he backslide, I say lock him back up and toss the key!)

Basically, I think you used good judgment and did a good thing. *hugs*

Tah said...

I have to agree with Shawna. You did the compassionate thing. You are giving your uncle a chance to prove himself while at the same time not taking any chances or helping lead him into temptation.

It's not an easy thing to give a person who did something like that a second chance. You made an admirable choice and the right one, I believe.

Smerk said...

Shawna and Tah have said it better than I could.

DavePrime said...

Redemption is a hard thing to come buy, and rightfully so. what could this man possibly due to make up for the harm he has done? Give his life? Maybe.

I know it sounds as if I am being a little harsh, but there are SOME things so heinous that our normal propensity to forgive should be short circuited. (And you, I know, are a lovely, loving person.)

Don't let up your vigilance for a moment, Nettie. Not one d$&% second.

Unlike an alcoholic that falls of the wagon with "just one drink", if this guy re-offends, a life or lives will be destroyed.

Mouse said...

Yeah, I agree with Shawna. It's not like you made the decision lightly - you've thought it through carefully and taken appropriate precautions. *hugs*

Hieronymous Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone else. That's it, pretty much. *hugs*

Helen said...

I think that just one person that he cares about believing he can change, might just make it so.

You're not being nieve, and not putting anyone in any danger.

You are an amazing person. :-)

barb said...

hmmm well am I allowed to have say? Firstly!!!! I have not decided to have nothing to do with him. I have decided that my CHILDREN have nothing to do with him. A fair call I think. I have been very supportive from the start! Had arguments over and over with Jo saying how can anyone ever hope to be rehabilitated if no one has faith in him! What he did was not on! It was wrong! I have supported mum's choice from the START to still have something to do with him saying he is her brother! And that until you are in the position she is in that no one should judge her for her choices!
I have just over 200 friends on facebook. There are a handful that i have never met and they don't have access to my pics! Thankyou very much! I have the highest security settings you can have on my facebook!

There is a reason he has a fake name on facebook. He is not allowed to have an account! It is against his parole! And in case you were wondering mum is very angry at him and wondering what his intentions are!

Anonymous said...

Hi it's Jo here. My main reason for not wanting him to have ANY access to photos of Darcie is because when Darcie was much younger he used to beg me to leave her with him and go out shopping yada yada.

I thank my lucky stars everyday I never did. Because theres a good chance he would have abused Darcie. So why on earth would I want him having access to her pictures?

I will never ever forgive him for attempting to prey on MY CHILD. I want nothing to do with this man.

Barb said...

One other thing. for someone who apparently thought this through very well. Remove the photos of my children off this blog please. You may have them protected on facebook. But do you have them protected here?? Where you have just given him a DIRECT link. You may have them protected from HIM on your facebook but what about everyone else on your facebook? I have not met these people who have access to my children on your facebook and you havent met all of them either. I KNOW what my security settings are on my facebook in regards to MY children!

I really am quite gobsmacked that you have written this about me. You have taken the words right out of my mouth. I have been saying from day one how can he have a chance to rehabilitate if no one is willing to give him a chance. I have been the one from day one who has offered to go with mum to the prison with her. I have been the one on the phone to mum day and night making sure if she is ok and supporting her in her decision when she felt so many people were judging her. I have risked friendships and relationships that are very close to me by supporting this man! How DARE you write stuff like this about me when it is not true! Not once did I threatened to remove you off my facebook because you have him on yours! I have the message that you sent me on facebook right here. I fail to see how I flipped out at all!

my exact response was

" Barb Minutillo 03 March at 07:20
Thanks I was going to send you a message after Jo told me. Just saying can you please remove all photos and videos of the kids you have of them. If you have changed your settings so he cannot access any of them then thats fine :) You can still delete him you know? Just wondering if that is an option? I know its up to you an all but if you aren't going to have anything to do with him then whats the point in having him on there? "

And to be honest I think I have a valid point! You had nothing to do with this man while we were growing up. You had nothing to do with him before he went to jail. You had nothing to do with him while he was in jail. You claim to have had nothing to do with him after he got out of jail and have no intentions of having anything to do with him. Yet you have him on facebook.

You don't think its strange that he added you? That after your whole life of not having anything to do with him he adds you? He has two friends. You and a young japanese girl from Glens facebook. It is against his parole to have a social networking account. Hence why he has one in a fake name.

I may not have flipped over you having him on facebook but I am coming close to flipping over this!

I am really finding this blog post interesting because its the first time i have heard of your support for him.

Incase you have wondered. The reason I have kept him from having access to my children is not just for their safety. Its for his too! It is not fair on HIM to have them around either!

I don't have to think for just my self. I have to think for my children too. It is not something that you have to worry about. You are not the only person in this family who has been sexually assaulted. I don't ever want my children to have to go through what I did. You have no idea about the gut wrenching fear that Jo has had to go through in wondering if she left him for a few minutes alone with him. He tried! My god how he tried to persuade her to leave her with him.

We don't have the luxury of only having to think for our selves. We have little, vulnerable people who have no way of protecting them selves to think about too!

There isnt much he can do that can hurt my children by looking at pics of them on the internet. Or of videos. There could be sickos out there walking down the street that see them aswell. But they are my children and I have the right to say who has access to photos of them and videos of them. As their mother that is MY right. And the only other person who has as much say as me is Mikey.