Thank you for writing us with your concerns for your sister and her family. Unfortunately, this is a difficult situation that requires much consideration.
I must ask, why did the individual involved only now reveal the event – 20 years after the fact? It is important to establish the reason for declaring the act of sexual abuse now. This could be quite informative as to what is really going on. I know often such cases are not disclosed many years after they occur, but 20 years seems like an exceptionally long time.
Dealing with a crime that someone may have committed over 20 years ago is not an easy thing to do. Since there is yet to be any proof of the man’s actions other than the one individual’s accusation. In terms of social services, one has to be quite clear as to involving them, because depending on the social worker and the support mechanisms at hand, a person can be wrongly accused and end up on record with both the social services and the police, without a burden of proof.
In the meantime, it sounds as if marital and family counseling is the way to go at the present time for the man and the family, for even if the individual did commit sexual abuse, what he needs – as well as the victim and the family – is healing through both therapy and sincere repentance. You’re talking about a marriage of 30 years and a family. Let’s give the avenue of therapy a chance before we start calling in social services.
Whether the man did sexually abuse his own children is a matter of speculation at this point. Since there is no proof of this, we cannot accuse him of such a thing and it sounds as if the children are determined to protect him regardless. You say the husband has, for all you know, been a good husband. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and give them the chance to work on their marriage and family life. I wouldn’t start a witch hunt, remember there is a family’s well-being at stake and it may be best just to deal with the matter in a therapeutic setting to focus on healing, full disclosure and moving on.
Based on the evidence there doesn’t seem to be enough proof to proceed with anything other than what’s already taking place. I personally would avoid the ‘lynch-mob’ mentality based on speculation. As in all offenses, there is a burden of proof that must be established and, as it sounds, there is no one else that is apparently willing to come forward and testify against the man.
Furthermore, as the speculated even took place 20 years ago, the individual accused of the crime may have undergone major changes since then, particularly if there is no additional evidence of anything else taking place since that time. From my limited perspective, I would suggest that if the individual and the family are having problems due to this or for any other reason, let them be dealt with in a therapeutic environment to start and until anything further and more concrete follows.
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