“His Career Will Be Absolutely Fine”: On Telling People About Being Molested -The Toast

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blue-door-1437537-mMy father molested me. He wasn’t the worst molester in the world, or even a particularly dedicated one (his other interests – choir, hiking, his compost heap – got in the way), but he did it and two years ago I told the police.

I learned a lot that year. For example, did you know that a sex offender isn’t necessarily charged according to the most current Sexual Offences Act? They’re charged according to the act that was around when they doing that particular molesting, “Otherwise,” the lady police officer explained to me, “It would be unfair on the molester.”

I learned that public sector staff tilt their heads to one side when you tell them about child sex abuse and I learned that police officers are easily charmed by paedophiles despite the stereotype of the paedophiles that easily charm police officers that haunts late night paedophilia specials.

Other Things I Learned

Your mother will try to turn the conversation from Dad’s A Paedophile to You’re A Bisexual. You will tell her that he used to sniff the insides of your underwear, she will say, “You’d know all about women’s underwear, wouldn’t you?” and there will be this deep pause before the insults start.

Communication with your mother will become extremely sparse, and will soon be relegated to birthdays and religious holidays. You will offer the briefest of written words and she will respond with oblique jokes about Kim Jong-un. She doesn’t have an email account of her own, so she will use your father’s email address to communicate with you. Every time his email address comes up in your inbox you almost shit your pants.

Communication with your mother will start taking place via your sister. Your mother will tell your sister that you are a sociopath, that this is all the fault of your lesbian godmothers who have implanted these memories into your fragile brain, and that you are doing this in order to get money out of your father. You have such a strong compulsion to ring her up and explain to her that you don’t go to the police about someone’s paedophilia and then ask for money; you threaten to go to the police unless you are given money, but you are gradually losing your ears to Meniere’s disease and you know that if you ring the house there is a chance that he will pick up the phone.

Your sister will confirm your mother’s suspicions that you live with a lady in a romantic way even though you specifically asked her not to do this. You will freak out for about three hours and then realize that it doesn’t matter if your mother thinks you’re a lesbian because she doesn’t know where you live anymore.

You will realize your mother doesn’t know where you live anymore.

You will have fantasies about the day when your right kidney, your worse functioning kidney, stops functioning altogether and you need a new one and your mother will offer you hers and you will decline and make a joke about how you don’t accept kidneys from child sex abuse apologists. You will say it in a tone of voice that implies that this is a common political belief – that lots of people boycott kidneys from child sex abuse apologists, that this is a noted ideological stance, like boycotting Nestle. It will make you laugh and then you will cry because you need a kidney.

You will remember that your mother almost certainly has a policy of not donating kidneys to people who have accused her husband of molesting them.

You will have fantasies about the day when your right kidney, your worse functioning kidney, stops functioning at all and you need a new one and your father offers you his and this leads to a dramatic DNA test ordered by the hospital which concludes once and for all that he is not your biological father. Your kidney will be so gratified by this news that it will start functioning again.

You will realize through watching a single episode of House that nobody does DNA tests on prospective kidney donors.

Your sister’s fiancé will ring you up and tell you that it is time that you rang your parents up to have it out with them. You will ask him what out means, and he will explain that he thinks you should talk all ‘this’ through before it is too late. You will ask what ‘this’ means and he will say that ‘this’ refers to the accusations you have been making about your father’s inappropriate sexual behaviour, as if he really thinks that you will ring up your father and say, “Hey Dad. Doesn’t time fly? It seems like only yesterday when you were sexually abusing me. Any plans for your birthday?”. You will ask what too late means, and he will explain that it means after your father sues you for libel or after your father dies.

You will have fantasies about your father suing you for libel. You will wear a suit like the female characters in all your favourite courtroom dramas and you will pace up and down the courtroom in such a dignified manner that your father will lose all sense of control and he will suddenly confess to his crimes and be imprisoned forever.

You will remember that paedophiles serve shorter prison sentences than burglars.

You will remember that you don’t believe in the prison industrial complex anyway.

You will have fantasies about your father dying. You will remember the day when your mother rang you up to tell you that your father had expired, and only explained somewhat into the conversation that he was in fact still living but was extremely ill in the hospital, having breakfasted on gone off chicken liver pate. You will remember how you told her, at the time, that it is unethical to tell your child that their father has died when their father has not died, and you will remember how she told you to stop being so dramatic.

door-3-1415774-mYou will remember that this is the same man that took you to the beach all the time when you were little. You really enjoyed the beach and he really enjoyed the beach and he never molested you on the beach even though he had every opportunity because you were half naked and there was nobody else around because it was a deserted, stony, and mostly shitty beach, but you loved that beach.

People will post motivational messages on their Facebook wall and on your Facebook wall. You will read such motivational messages as, ‘believe you can do it, believe you deserve it, believe you will get it’ and hope that prospective paedophiles are not reading them and becoming motivated to do the molesting they had always dreamed about but been too inhibited to pursue.

You will watch The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and feel that the white witch probably froze Mr Tumnus for being a paedophile.

Your sister will tell you about several of her friends who think that you are misinterpreting your father’s jokey and affectionate nature. You will tell her that jokes are meant to be funny and then you will hang up the phone and then you will spend hours in the bathtub telling yourself that perhaps he is not really a paedophile and perhaps he is just a jokey, hands-on kind of dad, who came to Parent’s Evenings and took you to the hospital when you broke your arm.

You will remember that the nurse had to cut you out of your sweatshirt that time you broke your arm and your father refused to leave the triage cubicle and he waited there, a devoted dad, staring at your ten year old tits.

A public sector worker will ask if you ever left your used underwear on the bathroom floor, as if a child’s worn underwear could incite an ordinary father figure who was not already a paedophile to bury their face nose deep in your dirty gusset.

Public sector workers will ask you ridiculous questions, such as: “Why didn’t you ever tell him to stop?” (what an awkward conversation. “Hey, Daddy.  I can see you’re having a great time molesting me and all, and I hate to kill your buzz, but do you think you could maybe think about stopping? Only it’s illegal, I’d way prefer to hang out with my friends, and this is your bag, not mine.”), “Why didn’t you ever tell your mother about it?” (“Hi Mama. Let’s play a guessing game, shall we? Who in this house is a sex offender? I’ll give you a clue – you married him! Yeah, that’s right, it’s Dad. Your go.”), and “Do you want milk in your herbal tea?”

People will talk to you about this who irritate you so much they constipate you. You Grip My Shit is a real thing. You will take psyllium husks and move on as best you can.

People will tell you that these are serious allegations, as if you did not realize that, as if you will say, “Oh gosh, I’m so glad you told me this because I really did not mean to accuse him of molesting me at all. No, the thing I really wanted to accuse him of is fly tipping. So sorry, thanks again.”

People who have no vested interest in your father’s job, other than as citizens of a country where he pays taxes, will suddenly be very interested in your father figure’s job. Your sister’s friend will say, “She’s going to ruin your dad’s career.” You’re not even sure she knows what he does. Other things people will say. “These are very serious accusations. This kind of thing can ruin a person’s career.” “You should be very careful what you say because stuff like this can end a person’s career.” “You know this could hurt his career?”

It will hurt you, because none of these people give a shit about your career.

His career will be absolutely fine. Your career will suffer, because he’s keeping your degree certificates and your birth certificate at his house under his creepy bed and you can’t afford to pay for new ones, even though you need them for certain job applications.

His career will be absolutely fine. You will miss work because you travel down to the city where he molested you to meet with his HR manager so she can tilt her head to one side whilst you cry at the other end of the table and drink unmilked herbal tea out of a cup that smells like egg.

His career will be absolutely fine. You will take a break from writing after you receive the grim news that his workplace has deemed him safe to work with children, although they will strengthen their child protection policy.

His career will be absolutely fine. You will wonder why they didn’t have the strongest child protection policy in the first place, why they could have made it better but didn’t, when you should be working.

His career will be absolutely fine.  You will decide that everything you write is a piece of shit.

His career will be absolutely fine. You will wish you had taken him to court before that lady police officer went round to his house and got charmed by him because maybe you could sell your story to a newspaper and get money that way.

His career will be absolutely fine. You will remember that child sex abuse is so commonplace that newspapers are uninterested in buying child sex abuse stories from people who did not happen to have gotten abused by somebody famous.

His career will be absolutely fine. You will wish he was famous.

His career will be absolutely fine. You will wish you were famous, that way you could spend all day at a spa and wouldn’t have to drag yourself to your job where you get totally paranoid about the safety of the children who are under your care because you suspect every white man with a coat a bit like your father’s is a paedophile.

His career will be absolutely fine. You will feel unsafe telling your counselor that he molested you since he started threatening to sue you for libel, and you find your weekly sessions less cathartic than you would have hoped.

His career will be absolutely fine.

What you might say if somebody tells you they want to go public about the person who molested them as a child. “Please don’t be terribly upset, like I was, if this accusation doesn’t ruin their career.”

L Bear lives in London with two long haired house cats. Once on a camping trip she mistook a nasal spray for an applicator tampon.

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