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My partner and I have been together for years and we have 2 sons! His mother and father owned a house with their friend and lived there with him for 20 years and in those years this man had been sexually abusing my partner and his brothers!

I had no idea the whole time we had been together! But always had this weird feeling he wasn't a normal person as he was just way too nice to the kids and would do anything they asked and buy them stuff all the time!

So I would always ask my partner if anything ever happened to him as a little boy! And he always said no and this is just how this man is! And that I was horrible for even thinking this way!

So I couldn't get it off my mind so I went onto his computer and found hundreds of pornography of little boys and so I called my partner crying and he still didn't say anything!

So I went to his brother and asked him and he had told me what had been happening all those years! My partner then admitted to what this man had done and we went to the police and he is now in jail!

What should we do?

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    Whose computer did you find images on? – James Snell Mar 17 '15 at 21:03
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    The most important thing is that you do not hate your partner for not wanting to say anything. If those pictures hadn't been found he probably never would have said anything because he probably wouldn't have the courage. Abuse is a terrifying thing. Your partner probably needs counselling but won't admit it. The important thing to remember is that it was not some random paedophile, it was someone your partner did not want to people to know was a paedophile (because it would mean admitting what happened). Now that hurdle is gone, only good can come from it. – Pharap Mar 19 '15 at 11:27
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    I understand that you're worried and emotional about this, but try to remember that periods can end sentences, too; not just exclamation points. ;) – Ian MacDonald Mar 23 '15 at 14:04
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The most important thing is that you have your children evaluated.

Your children were around this offender, and he may very well have had opportunities to abuse them. Have them evaluated by a professional immediately to see whether or not they've been harmed or exposed to indecency in any way.

You need this to be done by a professional that is trained in talking to children about these subjects. Most people's instincts when talking to children about sexual abuse are wrong, and may make it harder to get the truth.

Remove your children from the situation

Right now, the most reasonable course of action is to not have your children be around the house you spoke of, or your husband's family. There are just too many unknowns. How, if at all, were each of them complicit in this activity? You can't know, and as such you can't trust your children to be alone around any of them.

You may also decide to take the same stance with your partner. David Boshton and RachelD both have very valid stances on this matter. David has great suggestions for boundaries if you decide to stay with your partner at this time. RachelD suggests immediately taking yourself and the children to another place to live for the time being. Both are completely reasonable options, based on the information we've been given.

Why did your partner keep silent?

Shame is tied to childhood sexual abuse, and there are other mental health effects and coping mechanisms that come of it (self-blame, denial, confusion, and more). It's not acceptable that he put your children at risk, but in his mind he probably wasn't capable of thinking like that.

Unfortunately, there's very little research regarding male victims of childhood sexual abuse, as opposed to female victims. We can only speculate as to his state of mind.

What this means is that your partner needs professional assistance, as others have already pointed out in comments.

It's not clear where you found the offending photos (whose computer were they on?), so it's not clear to me which further actions should be taken regarding your partner (besides either David Boshton's or RachelD's suggestions).

He needs help, no matter what.

You shouldn't blame yourself

It's nothing about you that kept your partner from speaking up. He's dealing with a very severe type of childhood trauma that our society isn't comfortable acknowledging.

You also did the right thing by being proactive. When you suspected something was off you investigated those suspicions. It would have been far worse if you didn't trust your feelings.

It's a horrible situation, but you have done well. Sadly, not everyone exhibits the same level of follow-through, to the detriment of their children.

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    This is sound advice IMO. – A E Mar 17 '15 at 18:15
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    For those who think this answer could be improved, please let me know and I'll strive to make it better. -1s without comment aren't terribly helpful! – user11394 Mar 18 '15 at 1:47
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    I think this is a great answer. Highly comprehensive. – David Boshton Mar 18 '15 at 9:43
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Abuse is extremely complex. Many abused kids love the abuser even in cases of violent abuse. I understand that you must be feeling many feelings of fear, hurt, betrayal etc and those are real feelings, but you need to be strong for you and your kids and your husband if you still want to be with him. This may not be the end.

He will need therapy to process and get over what's happened to him, especially as there may be an issue where he doesn't understand fully that he didn't deserve it and it may not be ok etc -- read up on it and get help.

If you want to stay with him, which given the trust fracture I'm sure no-one would blame you if you didn't, then you need extremely clear and enforceable boundaries until he's been through therapy. (Note the trust fracture I'm referring to is to do with the child pornography on his computer, not so much the hiding of the historical abuse which is exactly what you'd expect.) If you don't, leave, call the police and show them your husband's computer and let them deal with it. Either way, you must make a decision very quickly for the sake of you and your children. Therapy can help; he needs it and separately the family as a whole need it. Don't try and do this on your own, it's such a massive and complex issue.

Hope you get what you want, this must be so very tough for you; unimaginably so.

  • If I understand correctly, police have already been called and the abuser has been jailed. But +1 for the rest of the answer. – A E Mar 17 '15 at 15:32
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    @AE My understanding is that the OP found child pornography on her husband's computer -- although I may have misunderstood. I'm open to correction :-) – David Boshton Mar 17 '15 at 15:55
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    my understanding is that it was the husband's father's friend's computer, could be wrong. – A E Mar 17 '15 at 16:18
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    @david boshton -- "images of child sexual abuse", rather than "child pornography". – DanBeale Mar 18 '15 at 1:34
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    @A E People who work in the area prefer the term "images of child sexual abuse" over the term "child pornography". – DanBeale Mar 20 '15 at 18:19
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You should all seek counselling.

The children should be checked out to make sure nothing has happened to them. The sooner anything is discovered the better.

You should seek counselling to help you come to terms with what has happened and to help you understand what your partner and his brother have gone through and why they chose to keep it from you until there was no choice but to admit it. A counsellor can also help reassure you that paedophilia is not a common occurrence and that you are very unlikely to run into another paedophile.

Your partner needs the counselling he should have received a long time ago. You say you're worried about what could have happened to your children, but remember your partner has actually been through that, there was nobody there to protect him. He may not even have been aware that it was abnormal, if he and his brother grew up in that situation, that may have been normal for them.

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This would not be OK with me. Here is what my reaction would be,

  1. I would leave with the children immediately, (my parents, a hotel etc) to make him aware how serious this was. He can't continue this denial in an empty house.

  2. I would demand counseling for myself and him, and then go to at least two or three meetings before I would come back. He also needs to see his own counselor to deal with his past abuse. If he wouldn't go or didn't take it seriously I might go straight to asking for divorce to reconfirm with him how serious this really was.

  3. I would get my kids in to see a counselor who could gently confirm that nothing happened to them already. Personally I would be afraid that my concern would cause more trauma to my kids and would want someone trained in this sort of thing.

Again, this is just how I would act. Because it's sending red flags up all over for me especially when you say he basically denied it to you face, made you feel guilty to cover the truth, and encouraged the kids to be around this pedophile.

I do not feel you are over reacting or a horrible person; and as a little reality check for you. If you found photographs that were bad enough to land him in jail, he was certainly guilty against crimes against children. The law agrees with you.

Somethings really going on with your husband AND his brother if NO ONE told you that this guy did this. Protect your kids.

(I hope I didn't come off to strong to the OP. That wasn't my intention, this is just some scary $&@# to me.)

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    +1. Points 2 and 3 should be non-negotiable. – A E Mar 17 '15 at 15:22
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    I agree that the kids and the partner need counselling, I do not agree that the partner should be punished so severely. You're clearly worried about what could have happened to the children if this man had come into contact with them, but you're forgetting that that exact situation actually happened to the partner. Imagine what the kids would feel if they had been abused - the partner has actually been through that, he's unable to think straight about the situation because he's had to keep it secret for so long. Aside from which, the actual paedophile is in prison now, the threat is gone. – Pharap Mar 19 '15 at 11:32
  • Past abuse does not make it OK to let more children be abused. It wasn't just him being quiet about past abuse, it was that he did everything he could to make sure his children were near this guy. Its like he wanted his kids to be near him. If not he wouldn't have used guilt to deter the OP from finding out the truth. This should be a big wake up call for both the OP and her husband. – user7678 Mar 19 '15 at 14:25
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Probably, your partner still loves his father in some ways, and wouldn't tell what he did because he did not want his father to go to jail. I guess for him, it's not about sending someone who does wrong to jail, but about sending someone you love to jail. And that must be harsh. So, he probably did not tell it, to not hurt his father.

I guess (and hope) he did let his children near his father, but was careful about not letting them alone with him.

There is probably lots of good reads on psychology of abused children, but I don't know them. It is just much more complicated than going to the police because someone does something wrong. Many abuses from family members are not reported.

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    I just can't stop thinking about it now I'm going crazy! I think everyone could be a pedophile! And I don't trust his mum anymore even though I know she never new! But I wonder if she turned a blind eye to it all! I just wish he told me I feel I can't trust him or his family anymore especially with the kids! Do you think I'm a horrible person? – Sarah Mar 17 '15 at 11:08
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    @Sarah, you're not a horrible person. Your reaction sounds completely normal to me. I'd suggest that you - and even more importantly, your partner - seek family therapy. For something as serious as this, professional assistance is appropriate. – A E Mar 17 '15 at 12:11
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    @Sarah victims of abuse tend to have serious psychological problems themselves. If your partner was abused and has never sought treatment, there are sure to be many lingering problems. In American society we tend to have a negative stigma about mental health but the reality is that victims of abuse need professional mental help. – Wayne Werner Mar 17 '15 at 12:41

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