Newest Members
jez, Long Way Home, Bcbornleo, Orko, molander
13593 Registered Users
Today's Birthdays
Etele (22), isign2u (55), Mark R. (66), noid (68), TheTraveler (55)
Who's Online
3 registered (LinEar, manipulated, anxietydepressio), 22 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
13,593 Registered Members
75 Forums
70,677 Topics
493,602 Posts

Most users ever online: 418 @ 07/02/12 11:29 AM
Topic Options
#186710 - 10/12/07 04:41 PM contact with the perp *triggering*
violet Offline

Registered: 08/13/07
Posts: 118
Loc: US
So...we've been faced with a problem...our extended family wants to know how to deal with my husband's perp (his cousin) because none of them want contact with him. they've been avoiding his calls and'd think he'd get a clue. (though he has not tried to contact us). he does not live near any of us.

none of us have told him that the abuse is known in husband's immediate family. maybe his cousin blocked it out...or maybe he realizes that they all know by now and wants to 1. deny it or 2. blame husband 3. excuse it

for whatever reason, it's pretty disturbing. my spouse doesn't want to confront him (or even let him know at the moment that he has told our families. extended family does not know about it.

does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with this? his family is not pressuring him to make contact with him or anything. they would just like suggestions on how to deal with him. i'm feeling a bit clueless about how to deal with it. mostly i just want to protect him from having to make contact with the cousin since he's really just started to find the connections between the abuse and their effects in his life.

i just don't want him to feel like he has to acknowledge the abuse before he is ready to. he doesn't seem to be angry at the cousin which i am guessing to be minimizing, but the rest of the family wants no further contact. i am so afraid the cousin will deny anything or tell the extended family, thereby damaging my husband further.

i thought about asking if he wanted me to send the cousin an email and just ask him at this point to quit contacting the family. would this be helpful or not? or would it be best to stay out of it?

any commments or suggestions?


I was silent as a child, and silenced as a young woman; I am taking my lumps and bumps for being a big mouth, now, but usually from those whose opinion I don't respect. - Sandra Cisneros

#186711 - 10/12/07 05:07 PM Re: contact with the perp *triggering* [Re: violet]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Hi, V,

I'm in a somewhat similar situation, in that one of the abusers of me was an older brother. I have had very minimal contact with him since 3 years ago when I had "the meltdown". My wife knows all the details of what he did, and my oldest brother knows on some level as well. But my parents do not. So I am sure it seems curious to them why I have seemed to shun the perp brother (other than the fact that he also slept with my first wife, but that's another story).

I think you are very correct in your fear that the perp cousin will do all of what you listed (deny, blame, and excuse). I would be VERY surprised if he didn't. You show a great amount of thoughtfullness in your husband's needs, which I was very pleased to see - you understand that he should not be outed with the abuse before he is ready. Also, wanting to run intermediary between your husband and the perp is caring as well (my wife did that as well in a recent situation with perp brother).

I would suggest just talking openly and frankly with your husband about what he would like to see happen here, all the while stressing how much you care and love him and want to support him. This needs to be his game plan, but having you on the team to help execute it is a definate bonus for him.


#186785 - 10/12/07 11:06 PM Re: contact with the perp *triggering* [Re: EGL]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
As a therapist who works with both abusers and survivors for almost 30 years, I suspect that the cousin is aware that others are aware of the abuse. Because you are family, he probably wants to have some kind of relationship with the family.

Although you assume he wants to deny, excuse or blame someone else, it is also possible that he feels bad about what he did and wants to be involved with his family. I'm pasting a chapter from my upcoming book (still in the editing phase, so please don't distribute it) about a confrontation between a young survivor and his abuser uncle. This may shed some light on the situation.

In my work with abusers, they usually feel bad at some level about what they've done (although many feel worse about the legal consequences). Most would like to be forgiven but that is not something they should ever expect or ask for.

It sounds like there might be some resolution for you husband's ambivalence. Remember, not all survivors feel like those around them who might assume he wants to see the perpetrator dead or have no contact with him forever. Sometimes it is almost unavoidable, such as the death or wedding of a common relative.


15. A successful confrontation and reconciliation

The previous chapter is based on my experience with survivors’ disclosure and confrontation. You might be wondering what a “good” confrontation looks like as a model for one you may be contemplating. Confrontation is not for every survivor. As noted, it should have achievable goals, be based on reality and not wishful thinking, and is done with some anticipation about how the offender may think. It should also consider the offender’s motivation to participate in a process that is emotionally uncomfortable, and could have possible legal and relationship consequences.

In many states and other jurisdictions, statute of limitations laws have changed in the past few years. That is, for most crimes, with the notable exception of murder, an unreported crime cannot result in legal action after a certain amount of time has gone by. So, if a person is accused of theft after the statute of limitations has expired in that state, he cannot be criminally prosecuted.

In recent years, anti-child abuse advocates have changed the laws in their states to allow more time for a criminal or civil complaint to be filed. Some states, like New Jersey, have raised the statute of limitations on sexual abuse from two years after the offense to age 20 when the report can still be made. Previously, that meant a child who had been sexually abused at age 12 had two years from the date of the abuse to report it for criminal action. Now that child can do so up to age 20.

Other states have put longer time frames on the initial report and some jurisdictions will start the clock from the time memories of the abuse first surfaced. This allows those who repressed memories to come forward even decades after the abuse took place.

Civil lawsuits, which don’t involve criminal prosecution, have different statutes of limitations and if a survivor is contemplating a lawsuit for damages from a perpetrator, he should check with a lawyer familiar with these statutes. Civil lawsuits also generally have a different burden of proof than criminal actions. Think of the O.J. Simpson trials of the 1990s in which he was acquitted of the criminal charges but found liable for the deaths of his wife and her friend in the civil action. This would apply whether one is thinking about criminal or civil actions. However, the decision to criminally prosecute will ultimately be up to the district attorney or county prosecutor.

While many perpetrators may wish that their victims would simply forget about the abuse, many also would like to have some kind of relationship with the victim, particularly where there was a previous one such as within a family. Since most victims know their abusers and many are family members, legal prosecution may be a complicated decision for the survivor. There are many survivors who would like to have a better relationship with the abuser, who may turn up at family birthdays, weddings, funerals, and other gatherings.

One young man, “Jake” was concerned about seeing his uncle “Steve” whom he would likely see at his brother’s upcoming wedding.

Jake’s parents got divorced when he was 14. He has two older brothers, a sister and a younger brother. They all moved back to the mother’s home state after the divorce and Jake began working after school with his mother’s older brother, Steve, who had his own business. Over the next year, Jake spent time at his uncle’s house and worked part time with his uncle Steve. The relationship was good from Jake’s perspective. Not only did he make good money, he felt special as Steve often gave him beer and let him smoke cigarettes around the house and job sites. Steve was also an adult male in Jake’s life now that he was living away from his father.

One day when the two were drinking at Steve’s house after work, Steve began touching Jake’s crotch. Although it was confusing for Jake, he didn’t say anything to his uncle or tell him to stop. Over the next few weeks, it proceeded to Steve masturbating Jake and performing oral sex on him. Jake was confused and bothered by what Steve did. After four or five times, Jake told him he didn’t want this to happen anymore and Steve complied.

Jake stopped working for him and generally avoided him at family get-togethers. A few years later, Jake graduated from high school and went away to college. After he graduated, he and his girlfriend announced their engagement. Jake’s mother, unaware anything had happened, invited her brother, Steve, and his wife to the wedding. This put Jake in somewhat of a dilemma. He couldn’t tell his mother not to invite Steve without telling her why. Although Jake was aware that one of his older brothers had complained that Steve made sexual advances on him, Jake’s mother did not know about the abuse to Jake and to his knowledge, did not confront Steve about what he did to her other son.

Jake was not ready to tell his mother that Steve had not only made advances on him but also did sexual things to him. He called Steve and told him to come up with a reason not to attend the wedding. Steve feigned an illness and his wife went without him. A few months later, Jake decided he needed to tell his wife about the abuse. (He had been having some sexual difficulties with her – mostly an avoidance of initiating sex – and had been running out of excuses.) She was supportive and uncritical towards him after he told her about the abuse.

Jake decided to get into therapy to deal with his problems and emailed Steve to ask him to help pay for his therapy. Steve agreed to do so but wanted to know the therapist’s name and phone number. Jake refused and told Steve that he wasn’t going to cheat him. He just felt that since Steve had caused the sexual problems he was having, the uncle should take financial responsibility for helping Jake resolve these issues.

Jake contacted me at that time, and I agreed to see him with the understanding that our work was confidential - the fact that Steve was paying for it did not entitle him to any information about me or about Jake’s therapy. Steve abided by Jake’s decision to keep his therapist’s name confidential and not disclose the treatment issues with his uncle.

Jake began work on the five-part letter. His wife and I were the only people who knew about the abuse besides Steve (and to some extent, his wife Jan, who suspected something was not right when Jake had worked for her husband. However, he had never told her exactly what he did).

The first draft

Jake made a very good first draft of the initial five-part letter. It was his letter and my advice to him was to let his feelings flow and say what he needed to say without censoring his words. His subsequent revisions gave him a very powerful and expressive letter to Steve. A couple of weeks after Jake emailed the version of the letter he was pleased with, Steve replied. On the surface, Steve said some good things. He did not blame Jake for anything and expressed guilt and remorse. However, some of his responses were typical of what an offender who has not had sex offense-specific treatment might say. This did not sit entirely well with Jake and he wrote his uncle back.

Jake confronted Steve’s statements that he found vague, offensive or untrue. His response was direct and pointed out specifically what was wrong with Steve’s statements. For example, when Steve talked about “the sex we had”, Jake told him, “we didn’t have sex, you molested me!” Steve complained that it was “all new to me” to be confronted like this and then added, “I wasted two days trying to figure out how to kill myself so I wouldn’t have to answer them (Jake’s questions)”. Jake quoted Steve and relentlessly challenged every point that Jake felt was an evasion of responsibility or sugarcoating the abuse. He pointed out that the comments about suicide were likely an attempt for sympathy.

When Steve told him that he had been molested as a boy himself, rather than express sympathy for his uncle, Jake asked him how he could have done that to him when he knew how it had affected Steve’s life.

The two engaged in a series of letters that were emailed back and forth. In each of Steve’s replies to Jake, he acknowledged Jake’s corrections and point of view of the abuse. I knew of a psychologist near Steve who was very experienced in treating sexual abusers and suggested to Jake that this man would be a good therapist to work with his uncle. After Steve signed a release for the psychologist and Jake gave me permission to speak with the psychologist about Jake, the therapist and I were able to compare notes and planned strategy for helping the two resolve (to Jake’s satisfaction) the issues between them.

Even though Steve’s therapist was working on Steve’s offending issues and I with Jake on his victimization, there was no “turf” in the sense of an adversarial relationship similar to that of a defense attorney and a prosecutor. We both believed that each party needed treatment and that this could be directed to the mutual healing of both Steve and Jake. Treatment goals for Steve included his taking total responsibility for what he had done, recognizing the harm to Jake, and better understanding how he put himself in this position. For Jake, it was about getting validated and setting boundaries so he could attend family gatherings without worrying about interacting with his uncle.

Jake’s older brother was being married in the family’s (and Steve’s) hometown a few months later. Jake wanted to go to the wedding but was uncertain how he might deal with his uncle in person at this function. He initially vacillated between not going or telling his family about the abuse, particularly since he suspected his younger brother might have been approached or even abused by their uncle. (Jake knew that an older brother was touched on the leg by Steve a few years ago but had rebuffed the uncle.)

However, Jake was not yet ready to open a possible “can of worms” by telling his mother that her brother had molested him. Although Steve confirmed the attempt on the brother that Jake and their mother knew about, he was not sure if his younger brother’s apparent emotional difficulties were caused by something that Steve had done or was just aimless drifting in life due to other issues.

Jake decided that he did not want to disclose to the other family members, particularly given the festive nature of the upcoming wedding. (As noted earlier, it is important to consider who, what, why, when, where, and how to make a disclosure or a confrontation. Jake concluded that the where and when of his brother’s wedding was not the right time or place.)

Jake decided a couple weeks before the wedding that he wanted to go and was not going to ask Steve to avoid the celebration. However, he set boundaries for Steve by asking his uncle neither to initiate conversation with him nor to talk about the abuse with anyone besides his wife. Steve agreed to Jake’s conditions. Jake was fairly confidant his wishes would be respected since Steve had been completely cooperative with him through the letter-writing process.

At the wedding, Steve remained at his table the whole night. Although Steve’s wife, Jan, joined Jake at the bar for a while, the conversation was general and family-related, with no mention of the letters or the abuse. Following the wedding, Jake reported that he was feeling self-assured and generally was pleased about the direction this was going. He was now ready, he said, to meet with Steve face-to-face.

Face to face confrontation

In preparation for this, Jake decided that he would ask Steve to come to a session with me. My office is four hours away from Steve’s home and Jake felt that his uncle should bear the time and financial costs of the drive. Also, Jake felt that having it in my office would put the session on his turf. He said he would suggest to Steve that Jan could accompany Steve for moral support on the drive down and back but she would not be in the therapy session. He offered Steve several dates and times that would allow Steve to make the drive, and gave him phone numbers of several motels in the area so he would not have to drive eight hours in one day, particularly if the session was stressful.

Steve came to the session by himself and felt he could drive home that day without staying over. They came in separate cars and although the tension was noticeable at first, they quickly got into the discussion without any small talk.

Jake had several points he wanted to make from their last round of emails. Steve was not defensive and answered each point. He even mentioned a statement he made to Jake during that time of the abuse to the effect that Jake should think of Steve as a girl when they did sexual things. Jake recalled that statement but acknowledged that he had forgotten about it for nearly ten years. Jake told Steve that although he had forgotten that statement, it bothered him today hearing it again. He told Steve that it had contaminated his sexual relations with his wife, who was taking the role that Steve assigned himself in the abuse.

Although I had blocked out two hours for the session in case they needed more time, the two were able to come to some closure in an hour. Jake had a number of questions about what Steve’s wife, Jan, knew and whether she tried to prevent Steve from abusing Jake. Steve said he told Jan that it was over as soon as she found out and he reassured her that Jake was in no danger from him. Jake told Steve that he reserved the right to write to Jan to verify this. Steve agreed.

I didn’t hear from Jake for five weeks and figured either the session went very well so that he was done with therapy, or perhaps it went really badly for Jake and he was a mess. Jake emailed me for another appointment and said he had started a new job, his wife was pregnant and he really didn’t spend any time these days thinking about the abuse or Steve.

When we met again, Jake said that he felt the lack of thinking about the abuse was a good sign that he was moving on. He said he was not sure about future contact with Steve and was also concerned that sometime in the future, he might visit his mother and leave their baby with her. “What if Steve came over while we’re at the movies or something and she’s babysitting?” Jake asked. I replied that this is a “what if, what if” kind of question. If they leave their child with his mother, they could tell her that under no circumstances is Uncle Steve to be alone with the child.

What was apparently significant for Jake, I pointed out, was that for the first time since he was abused, he was not thinking about either the abuse or Steve. Jake said that he didn’t want to avoid Steve at family gatherings or make excuses to not visit family members just because Steve might be there. He said he wasn’t sure what kind of relationship he wanted with Steve in the future but for now, he felt that he had a degree of control over him. Thoughts of Steve and the abuse were no longer on his mind.

Having a sense of control was a new experience for Jake. He was able to set limits and boundaries with Steve in having him pay for the therapy and getting good responses from his emailed questions and observations. The ball was clearly now in Jake’s court.

Steve, according to his therapist, was doing very well in treatment. He was taking full responsibility for his actions and did not make excuses for his behavior ten years ago. However, Steve had lately been taking a break from therapy due to his therapist’s illness and was talking about returning to work on his own victimization issues. I suggested to Jake that while Steve may see that as important for now, he needed to put more time in his perpetrator issues as he still had teenage boys working for him as helpers. Certainly, that put Steve in a potential high-risk situation and warranted attention from his therapist.

Because his therapist is experienced in working with abusers, he cautioned Steve to examine any early warning signs that he might do something to the teen helpers. Steve agreed to talk with the therapist about any thoughts or behaviors that might move him towards doing something he shouldn’t.

Jake noted that he was not ready to forgive Steve for what he had done. We talked about what forgiveness means and that is the focus of the next chapter.

For Jake, the issue of whether to grant or withhold forgiveness was another example of his regaining control of the process and evicting Steve from his brain.

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#186851 - 10/13/07 04:02 AM Re: contact with the perp *triggering* [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
violet Offline

Registered: 08/13/07
Posts: 118
Loc: US

I think I did read this excerpt elsewhere on MS, but don't remember where. I would certainly like to think that his perp would be willing to try to make what amends he could, but he is known to be a manipulative bully within the family, so I have my doubts.

I would think if he was REALLY interested in making peace that he would try to contact my husband. Leave the rest of the family out of it.

However, my spouse decided he will not have any contact with him. The rest of the family was great in supporting that decision. Maybe one day he will want to contact or confront his cousin, but it won't be today, or tomorrow.

I wish every CSA survivor could "resolve" things the way Steve and Jake were able to. But I think that is an exception to the norm.

For now, I take great hope in the fact that my husband is making steps to heal.


I was silent as a child, and silenced as a young woman; I am taking my lumps and bumps for being a big mouth, now, but usually from those whose opinion I don't respect. - Sandra Cisneros

#187448 - 10/16/07 04:30 PM Re: contact with the perp *triggering* [Re: violet]
violet Offline

Registered: 08/13/07
Posts: 118
Loc: US
Well, with my spouse's okay, the perp is now aware that the immediate family knows about the abuse. It wasn't a confrontation or question, merely asking him to leave us all alone. He said he "didn't know what they were talking about." He didn't get angry or defensive, just quiet.

I am proud my husband wanted to take the step of letting his abuser know that He knows that it happened. It seemed like a big step out of denial and repression for him. He wasn't pressured to make this decision. It was his idea.

I'm angry and sad today. But, in spite of all the crap, I'm still hopeful...


Edited by violet (10/16/07 04:35 PM)
I was silent as a child, and silenced as a young woman; I am taking my lumps and bumps for being a big mouth, now, but usually from those whose opinion I don't respect. - Sandra Cisneros

#187457 - 10/16/07 05:49 PM Re: contact with the perp *triggering* [Re: violet]
Agape Girl Offline

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 120
Loc: New Jersey, USA

I'm sending you a hug and a little "right-on" today. Your news is encouraging.


means selfless love of one person for another
without sexual implications
(especially love that is spiritual in nature)

#187501 - 10/17/07 01:08 AM Re: contact with the perp *triggering* [Re: Agape Girl]
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon

Wow! Well, I was wondering if he'd admit to anything. My wife is in the same circumstances with an older juvenile male relative of hers having sexually abused her for a number of years when she was young. I often wonder if he even remembers. We have to see him at family events, and it about drives me nuts sometimes just remaining civil. I want to just scream!!!!!! But I don't believe my interfering would have any positive results.

I hope this event is indeed a positive step in your H's recovery. We'll keep sending good thoughts your way.

Lots of love,


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson

#187508 - 10/17/07 01:46 AM Re: contact with the perp *triggering* [Re: WalkingSouth]
violet Offline

Registered: 08/13/07
Posts: 118
Loc: US

I found that I have become very protective of my husband in the past few months.

The funny thing is that when I told my spouse this, he took it as one of the most meaningful things anyone has ever said to him.

It's very hard for me to stay out of it when all I want to do is to have a little chat with his cousin.

But I stayed out of the above conversation, though in a sick way, I wish I would have been the one to tell him that we knew. But I think it is better this way for my husband.


I was silent as a child, and silenced as a young woman; I am taking my lumps and bumps for being a big mouth, now, but usually from those whose opinion I don't respect. - Sandra Cisneros


Moderator:  ModTeam, peroperic2009 

I agree that my access and use of the MaleSurvivor discussion forums and chat room is subject to the terms of this Agreement. AND the sole discretion of MaleSurvivor.
I agree that my use of MaleSurvivor resources are AT-WILL, and that my posting privileges may be terminated at any time, and for any reason by MaleSurvivor.