Last week I received a phone call from an uncle. He is an 86 year old man who has been married three times, and now lives alone in a trailer in the mountains. I have had no contact with this relative for over 50 years, except when I saw him at my father’s funeral in 1989.
This summer he started calling me. I was delighted because I have no contact with anyone from my mother’s family. But my guard was down and I didn’t know what was to come.
This uncle was considered a ‘run around’ when my aunt (who died last week at 89) divorced him after finding a girdle (not hers!) in the glove compartment of their car. This uncle also had three children, two daughters and a son who died a couple of years ago.
When I was a child and then a teen, my father took great measures to protect my virtue and my safety from other men. He was Hungarian, and had 5 brothers. They were protective of their daughters and also me. When my father died, my Uncle Zoltan made sure I didn’t feel I didn’t have that support anymore. He was wonderful and supportive in my grief. Then a few years ago he died. All my uncles have died except this 86 year old man.
Apparently, when I was a very young teenager, one neighbor made a sexual comment about me and my father cold cocked him and threw him out of the car. Hopefully while it was still moving. My father was a very gentle man and non-violent, but this was where he drew the line.
I was fortunate in having such a parent. Many women don’t and they suffer because of the lack. My father was my champion my entire life, though I didn’t realize it until a few years before his death.
This uncle started calling me around June of last year. He wanted to visit us in Atlanta. He kept pressing me about this, phone call after phone call. I didn’t really want him here because our house is still under renovation and the stairs are steep in this 1880’s house. He apparently walks with a cane and there were risks to his safety. However, as the phone calls continued, I realize this uncle was rather….weird.
He knew I had been a belly dancer and just about every call he made he mentioned my dancing for him. It made me uncomfortable. And it should have.
A one point he made mention that he was on Viagra. I didn’t pick up on what he was attempting. Last week he called and told me that “when I was a teen and he saw me in a bathing suit, he masturbated.”
I was shocked into silence. I felt numb. What 86 year old man says this to a niece? A perverted old man, a child predator. A man very sick in the head.
In one blow I felt violated. I felt dirty. I was completely innocent of any wrong doing, but I blamed myself. This is common with women who are abused in some way. There was no reason, it was illogical, and I realize that, but when a relative, who is supposed to protect family does this…it is horrible. There is bound to be fallout.
I felt ashamed of my own sexuality. And this is rotten, again illogical. I have nothing to be ashamed about. This is what a sexual predator does, and it weakens the confidence of the victim. I was all of 15? What man gets aroused by a girl at 15? A child predator.
I talked to Liz my dear, older therapist. Apparently he was ‘grooming’ me for his advantage. I studied psychology for years but forgot this ‘grooming’ issue. These phone calls, at first innocent enough, were then progressing (on his part) to see whether I was ‘interested’, how he could entice me. This is the route predators take. But it was in tiny increments so I wouldn’t pick up on his intentions so fast.
I was not interested. I went from uncomfortable to outrage. He has two grown daughters, amongst other children from other marriages. Did he do the same when he saw them in bathing suits? I don’t want to know, but I do know that I will never, ever speak to him again.
Had my dear father known what he was about, he would have done much more than cold-cocking him. Now that my husband knows what he is about he better never come around. My husband will deal with him in the sharpest terms. And so will a number of my male relatives and friends. Hell, my German Shepherd will make him sorry for breathing.
In trying to understand this issue of ‘grooming’….I came across a statement from “Abuse Survivor”:
“Sexual offenses are most often planned. They are not usually impulsive acts or mistakes. Sexual offenders do things to “set up” potential victims in an effort to manipulate them into sexual situations. Some grooming behaviors are done to try to get the potential victim interested in the offender or to see how the potential victim may react if a sexual advance is made. Grooming is part of a process in the actions offenders engage in that leads up to the actual offense. Grooming can also involve threats, bribes, or coercive acts. Grooming behaviors are sexual abuse “red flags.” Coercion is when tricks, power, status, threats, bribes, drugs, alcohol, or force is used to manipulating a person into doing something. The pedophile four F’s are Friendship, Fantasy, Fear, Force. “
This ‘uncle’ didn’t get beyond the first of proffered ‘friendship’. That was a blessing for me.
What a nasty, dirty old man! I guess perverts come in all ages.
My husband (and my dear cousin Donnie, who is the son of Uncle Zoltan) and friends have been wonderfully supportive. I still am reeling from this last phone call, but now at least, I can put him out of my life for a very good and solid reason. He is a predator and I can understand why he is alone. I have no sympathy for him. God perhaps will forgive his behavior, but I don’t have to.
Tags: 'red flags', a relative, child molestation, Grooming in Sexual predatory behavior, manipulation, outrage and resolution, pedophiles, power and control of the predator, sexual abuse, sexual offenders, weird uncle who is a predator