Apologies in advance - this is a bit long!
A few years ago my adult son confided in me about sexual abuse he had suffered as a child/young teen in the early 1970s. His father and I were divorced and at the time we were living the person in question - he was my then partner and I'll refer to him as 'L'.
I eventually remarried (a different man) but we kept in touch with 'L' for many years, he visited our home and we regarded him as a family friend - entirely ignorant of the fact that my son had been abused.
I was shaken to the core by my son's disclosure and feel so wracked with guilt that I suspected nothing at the time and therefore could not bring this person to justice, nor get help for my son at the time. He has sworn me to secrecy as he still feels a deep sense of shame and embarrassment and so I have told no-one, not even my husband, who brought him up as his own.
My son and I are shouldering this 'secret' alone.
For a few years my husband and I lived within 50 miles of 'L' and he would suggest visiting him and I had to find excuses not to.
I long to share this burden of responsibility, to get advice and help for my son (whose life has been affected in many ways - he has shied from marriage to his lovely common-law partner of 25 years, who we regard as our DIL, and from fatherhood for example), but I can do nothing as I have been sworn to secrecy, which is something that I have honoured.
'L' is now an elderly man who lives alone. He has in part acutely affected my son's life and his future. The incident(s) happened in a different era when child abuse was not spoken about as it is today, and as such, I believe my son still feels there is a 'stigma', or 'taboo' attached, irrespective of today's more enlightened conversations. He says he does not need to speak about it to anyone else, now that he has told me, but I am at times consumed with anger and guilt that I suspected nothing, and therefore did nothing to protect him.
I cannot go to my grave without somehow avenging this life-changing wrong for my son. I allowed 'L' to live in our home, I am responsible.
Should I confront 'L'? - a 600 mile round trip for which I would need to plan and an 'excuse' - and shame him into an admission and at the very least a written apology and explanation for my son?
Should I break my son's trust and confide in my husband and ask him for advice after all these years?
Any advice/comments will be considered and of help. Thankyou.
VioletCloud Fri 16-Oct-20 14:11:38
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