Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

June 02, 2012

predatory cousins

Bernadette is 22 and always thought of pedophiles as dirty old men handing out candy until she discussed the subject with friends and realized that a traumatizing incident in her childhood involving an older cousin was the same sort of thing.

"I was 6 and staying at my aunt’s place while mom was in hospital and my cousin, Michael - thirteen years older than me - wanted to play doctors and nurses,” says Bernadette. “He made me take off my clothes and I was scared stiff but he told me that I had to do what he says otherwise it wouldn't be a proper game."

"He made me lay on his bed and he touched me where he shouldn't have touched me and it hurt badly."

"I started to cry and then he told me get dressed and said he had something special to show me."

"He exposed himself to me and asked me to touch him but I refused and ran out of his bedroom and locked myself in the bathroom."

"Michael stood outside the door and made me promise not to tell his mom and dad but as soon as they came home I told my aunt and she got more mad at me than Michael."

"I cried and said I wanted to go home and she said she'd like that too."
"I remember her bundling me into the car - I was freezing and didn't have a coat with me - and she took me to another aunt's place where I stayed until mom got out of hospital."

"The last thing she said to me was not to upset my other aunt by telling her what had happened - and on no account was I to tell my mom because something bad would happen to her if I did."

"I promised not to say anything because I wanted to get away from her and get back home with mom," says Bernadette, "and it was a shameful secret I kept all of my life."

"I never thought of Michael as a pedophile - he was my cousin."

Read more by Bernadette on this subject:

  • dirty old men
  • dirty family secrets

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