I might never speak this publicly, and anonymous or friends is as far as it might go. We were both born into Mormon households. My spouse was raped by one of the stepdads, and sexually verbally harassed by the biological Mom their whole childhood and adulthood. The Mom, as Grandma, carried this abuse over to our child. We ended up filing a police report and sent a cease and desist. We had a family member, a psychotherapist, and a friend associated with law who understood what happened. Because there was no conviction, and our child was too young to provide verbal evidence, a police report was the fullest extent we could push.
We stayed quiet, and gradually became isolated from others. After our faith transition, we experienced brief cognitive dissonance and allowed extremely guarded contact with the Mom in order to try and be there for the siblings. She in words demonstrated to us that she would never change, and we made it clear she will not visit us again. My spouse is worried the siblings will shoulder her abuse, as they have before. My spouse only allows limited contact with her through a group with the younger siblings, and we are still navigating the situation with therapy. Some days we want to tell ourselves it wasn’t real and everything is ok, but just like our horror story, that is the same emotions many people have when wanting to pretend everything was ok after abuse incidents. It wasn’t ok. Going back and forth and trauma denial are horrible things that are real to those who cannot access the full extent of justice. Having experienced trauma denial ourselves and heavy dissociation has been scary, and we are fortunate to both be strong still for our offspring and to have moved far away.
We realize in some things there is no compete healing, or even a clear road map for feeling safe. Everyone’s horror story is so different and so unique in how it has to be handled, and the hope we reach for might not exist in the way we want it to.
What we do know is things CAN be better for kids now and in future generations. Life ahead does not have to be like anything we came from.