Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So now what.....

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and I have little doubt that this is one of the reasons Oprah Winfrey decided to air her interview with Gerald Imes, Monique's brother, on Monday. This is the same brother Monique accused of sexually molesting her as a child. To say the interview was uncomfortable to watch would be an understatement. Unfortunately sexual abuse is nothing new, studies have found that one in three women will be sexually abused during her lifetime and we've seen countless interviews with abusers and victims, but this one was, well, different. Maybe because sexual abuse between siblings is something we're not used to dealing with, as families tend to be tight lipped about these things. Imagine being the parent of both a victim and an abuser, two children who you love equally and want to see succeed despite their condition. But still, this interview was really difficult to watch. It seems Gerald Imes is still dealing with his demons and though I could feel the remorse for his actions toward his sister, I got the sense that he's still not sure what to do next. Not to mention the parents, who clearly still aren't sure what to make of the situation. It was evident they didn't quite "get it", when they implied that the only way the family could heal is if Monique, the victim, made a move.

If you missed the interview, watch it here.

While I think it was courageous for Mr. Imes and his family to come clean on national television and for Monique to give her blessing, I'm left thinking, so now what? Was he able to help us understand the inner workings of a molester's mind so that parents and caregivers know what to look for in a potential abuser? Will the interview encourage other families that are dealing with sibling sexual abuse to forward and seek help? Will his apology make it any easier for Monique to forgive her brother, assuming that she hasn't already? Who knows? What I do know is, I wish we would spend more time celebrating the stories of women (and men) who have overcome the pain of sexual abuse, especially those like Monique and Oprah who have taken it a step further and become examples of greatness. Perhaps if someone had spent the time working with Gerald Imes to heal the scars from his own abuse, things would have turned out better for the three children who fell victim to his abuse.

Or maybe I'm missing the point altogether. I'm interested to know what you think.

1 comment:

New Scrapper said...

I just stumbled upon your blog but I will be following it from now on!

I found the interview to be very uncomfortable as well. This family needs a lot of help. I still don't think they understand that what happened in the past can still effect you today.