my un­cle, the con­victed pae­dophile

The Guardian Weekly - - Mind & Relationships -

It’s not the fact that I’ve shared my life with some­one con­victed of ap­palling sex­ual of­fences against a child that hurts the most, even as a par­ent. It’s the fact that you haven’t shown re­morse.

I’m the fam­ily’s res­i­dent bleed­ing-heart lib­eral. If you’d said, “I’ve had these urges all my life, I know they’re wrong, but they just got the bet­ter of me. I’m ashamed, and will be get­ting help to make sure I never do it again”, I would have tried to em­pathise with you.

I don’t want a medal but, bear­ing in mind the more “cre­ative” pun­ish­ments sug­gested by strangers on­line, it’s pretty rea­son­able, right?

But, in­stead, you’ve spun a line about how this was just a se­ries of mis­un­der­stand­ings that snow­balled into a taped con­fes­sion and a decade on the sex of­fend­ers reg­is­ter.

One of your of­fences took place in my par­ents’ home and now they are afraid to bathe their grand­chil­dren, in case they get con­victed of child abuse, too. You did that to them.

I can’t be­lieve you’ve po­si­tioned your­self as the vic­tim. Not just os­tracis­ing your own child for not brush­ing things under the car­pet, but en­cour­ag­ing oth­ers to do the same. You have ruined lives for the sake of sex­ual grat­i­fi­ca­tion, and you’re ex­pect­ing sym­pa­thy.

Maybe a mis­car­riage of jus­tice has oc­curred. But if a se­ries of im­plau­si­ble mishaps had led to me be­ing branded a child mo­lester, I’d ap­peal. You’ve shrugged and acted as if noth­ing hap­pened. And peo­ple have gone along with it.

This fam­ily is so good at pre­tend­ing that stuff never hap­pened, but we all have to live with the con­se­quences of what you did.

And I know that, as time passes, the more we’ll be­come the trou­ble­mak­ers. As­so­ci­a­tion with you is – if noth­ing else – po­ten­tially pro­fes­sion­ally ru­inous. So, any time that there’s a birth­day party or a fam­ily wed­ding, we can’t go if you go. And you will go.

And when my grand­mother dies – or any­one dies – my chil­dren can­not at­tend the fu­neral, be­cause you will be there. If blood were thicker than wa­ter, you wouldn’t have put us in this po­si­tion.

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