Birth of a Monster


You’re eight and your eleven-year-old brother is watching a tv show and you turned the channel on him. When he tries to take the remote from you, that’s when you shouted that. 

His expression is surprise and then disgust and then anger. When he balls up his fists and moves towards you, you shout again: “I DON’T WANT TO SEE IT, GARY!” And then he leaves the room, and you take his spot. 

You start using that more and more. Your mother confronts you, but you don’t change your answer: “He does too take his penis out!” 

And you know lying is wrong, so you decide you aren’t lying. You decide you’re right and brave to shout about him taking out his penis. So:  

Remember two weeks back during Mass when he stood up for Communion and tucked his shirt in? Now you know he was actually playing with himself – right in church! Or the other day when he was in the hallway with his robe on? Didn’t he try and swing it open and and wasn’t he all hard? Sure he was. 

Isn’t your older brother just a pervy weirdo who wants to do sex things to you, his own little sister? What’s wrong with him? 

Your friends think he’s cute, but they don’t know. And so you tell them stories about your brother exposing himself in the hallway, and playing with himself while watching tv, and even trying to trick you to getting into his bed once! And the girls from school sit around you at lunch, and afterwards they look at him with suspicion and you with respect. 

That was then, of course, and you were just a child. Now you’re grown. Still, isn’t it good of you to be so decent to your brother? And him always being so cold towards you, as if he doesn’t like you. How can he not like you when you forgave him those horrible things?  

But people do need to know what a danger your brother was to you. Even his grown son – you’ve warned him not to leave the grandchildren alone with their grandfather. After all, he’s a pedophile now. He must be, because when he was an eleven-year-old boy you remember how he always took his penis out when he was watching television, smiling at you, and you were only eight. 

It almost works, doesn’t it? Everyone feels so bad for you, and sees how strong in the face of such abuse you are, and how principled and decent to forgive him you are, and how lucky they are to know a survivor like you.

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