I knew my family would be upset, but I never expected the intensity of their rage and their unabashed support of my rapist. They repeatedly reminded me that I was ruining his life and that they believed he had changed in the many years that passed since he committed his crimes.
My heart screamed. Didn’t I matter? How many victims should there be before his crime is taken seriously? In court, my brother admitted to abusing four other girls, although he could be charged only for the two victims who reported.
My family couldn’t see that their questions already tortured me when I lay in bed at night. “What if he has changed?” “Am I destroying my brother’s life by bringing this up over a decade later?” But I was haunted by other questions too. “What if he hurts someone else?” “How will I ever live with myself if I could have stopped it and did nothing?” Instead of judgment, I needed a shoulder to cry on. The weight of this decision was too crushing to bear alone.