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#280617 - 03/24/09 08:17 PM Just found out
Gongas Offline

Registered: 03/23/09
Posts: 21
Loc: Europe
I don’t exactly know how to begin this.
I have been married for a long time. More than 20 years. My husband has a very large family, many brothers, many sisters.
One of the brothers, let's call him Jack, is my age, i.e. forty something, single and he is homosexual. This is not discussed in the family, but I know he is. Incidentally,he sort of admitted it himself to me the other day.

Anyway, since I am very good friends with Jack and he has been many years abroad, we are sort of catching up now after many years apart. I was talking with him today and I don’t know how, conversation focused on my older brother in law. Let's call him David. David is charming, if a little overbearing, he's everybody's best friend, the guy everybody love, his children adore him, he’s the center of the family, the attraction at every party, etc. you get the idea.

Jack told me, more or less out of the blue that David is not as nice a guy as he seems and that he actually had done quite a lot of damage to his siblings when they were kids. I asked what he meant and he very directly and explicitly told me he sexually abused him (Jack) AND two younger sisters. And that this went on for almost 10 years and that by the time he was 18 Jack simply put a stop to it; before that he was so confused and he felt so helpless and lost that he did not even think he COULD put a stop to it. Jack said David abused him whether "he wanted it or not". Which makes me think that Jack did not say no sometimes? Am I wrong in assuming this?

I must specify that David is 8 years older than Jack and almost 11 older than my youngest sister in law.
Jack proceeded to say that many years later he watched David closely around his nephews and nieces, because, he said, although he had never done so, he'd tell everybody what David had done if he suspected Jack was sexually abusing any of his nephews or nieces.
It seems all of this started when Jack was 7 or 8.
I was speechless and then I asked him if my husband was abused too and Jack said no. I thought this was strange because my husband and David have always been best friends and slept in the same room. The age difference is smaller, only 4, but still enough for David to take advantage of my husband if he wanted right?
So, I did not know what to think there.

Then I asked Jack if my parents in law were aware of it and he said he did not know (???) but that even if they had been aware they’d probably pretend they didn’t for fear of a scandal (!!!!).
This is a very, very traditional and old fashioned family: church every Sunday, girls are not supposed to have sex before marriage, a family where bigotry runs deep and sex is a topic to be avoided at all costs.

I was in total shock and asked my husband about it.
He was genuinely in shock too and said he'd never known and that nothing was farthest from his mind than that David could do something like that and that he was sure there must be a misunderstanding.

Personally I feel like I have never known them. After more than 20 years, I feel like I am a total alien to these people.
I love both David and Jack very much and I very much want to believe that David did not do this, but why would Jack make up something like this?
It's like a dream shattered you know? David is my girl's godfather, he was my husband's partner in business, his best friend and all you could wish for in a brother in law and a friend. And now....

And how could my parents in law realize that something so terribly wrong was going on and never raise a finger on their oldest ?
I feel like the world is not the same to me.
I did not know what to say, although I always knew Jack and David positively disliked each other, I never imagined… this….
I have never heard either sisters in law say anything about this but they both have quite severe hang ups regarding sex.

I really don't know what to think.
thank you very much and sorry this is so long.

#280625 - 03/24/09 09:36 PM Re: Just found out [Re: Gongas]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Hello, Gongas, and welcome to the site, I'm glad you're here seeking answers. There are several things I want to comment on, the first of which is this:

Jack said David abused him whether "he wanted it or not". Which makes me think that Jack did not say no sometimes? Am I wrong in assuming this?

Just because a boy who has been abused does not say 'No' when subsequent incidents of abuse occur does not mean that he is consenting to the abuse. It may simply mean that he knows the alternative to compliance is force, which will be more painful. This I know from my own experience. It sounds like what Jack was getting at with the "whether he wanted it or not" term was that there were times that it became forcible rape when he would not comply.

You stated that your husband was not abused by David and that your husband is 4 years younger than David. It may well be that David felt the younger siblings would be more compliant with what he wanted than your husband would have been, so there was no need to try anything with your husband. In a large family of younger children, he had plenty to choose from so he may have felt that your husband might have resisted.

Earlier in your post you said that Jack did not know that David was abusing his siblings, but later you wonder how they could have allowed it. It may well be that they did not know any of this was going on, if in fact it really did occur. It is not uncommon for parents to be clueless that something like this is occurring within their very home - again, I speak from my own experience on this point, as my parents never knew my older brother was abusing me to the point of forcible rape at times.

So, yes, it could all be true, or Jack could have an axe to grind with David. At this point, you're only hearing Jack's side of things, but from what you've related there is nothing in all that which is not plausible. It could all very well be true. Even the seemingly "best" of families are not immune from this type of dysfunctional behaviors, so simply appearing so "normal" on the outside is no guarantee that things are not horribly wrong within.


#280651 - 03/25/09 12:23 AM Re: Just found out [Re: EGL]
WalkingSouth Offline

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

Eddie provides an excellent answer. I'd like to enlarge on his final thought if I may.

Originally Posted By: EGL
Even the seemingly "best" of families are not immune from this type of dysfunctional behaviors, so simply appearing so "normal" on the outside is no guarantee that things are not horribly wrong within.

My opinion which is to some extent based on a study I read years ago, is that the "seemingly best of families" are just as subject to these kinds of secrets if not more so. Conservative families who practice conservative forms of religion such as that which you describe your husband growing up in are very much not immune to abuse issues lurking behind the scenes unnoticed. A parole officer I have passing acquaintance with once told me the majority of convicted sex offenders who come through his office came from conservative background or practiced conservative values in their family before getting into trouble.

This is not to cast aspersions on or denigrate religions, conservative or otherwise, but it is to state that ones religion does not mean one has immunity from these issues. We only have to look at the recent clergy abuse scandals to realize this to be true.

Does this mean your husband's family was tainted by the specter of sexual abuse? Only those in the family can tell you for sure, but it seems a distinct possibility.

If I were to offer you advise I'd say to keep your lips more or less silent (don't level accusations unnecessarily or without substantial proofs), and your eyes wide open. Be a support to those you love and be a willing and trustworthy listener.

I wish you the best,


"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


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