*This post deals with abuse, incest, and sexual assault*
The myth that tends to be perpetuated in America is that you are nothing without your biological family. Because this propaganda tends to be reinforced over and over again via our media, many folks hold onto family members, when they should be kicking them to the curb. They think if they just love harder, be a better person, pray for them,etc., the poisonous relative will see the light. Sadly, they usually never do (because many are sociopaths). So, you end up wasting your time and energy loving someone who really doesn’t give an ish about you. Personally, I think families can look many ways. It can be your best friend, “play auntie,” co-worker, etc., anyone that has provided you with genuine support in your life. Someone who has shown you real love and not used it in a way to manipulate or oppress you or worse.
This past weekend, I watched the documentary “Family Affair.” I remember hearing about the film, when scheduled for release a couple of years ago. It fell off my radar. So, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon it on Netflix. I think because the film deals with issues of interracial marriage, incest, and abuse its gotten swept under the rug.
When he was a kid, Chico Colvard accidentally shot his sister in the leg. The sister (thinking she was going to die from her injuries), told her mom about the sexual abuse she suffered from her father. Sadly, not only had she been abused, but her younger sisters as well. Of course, all hell broke loose, and the mom did what she was supposed to do and turned her husband into authorities. I have to admit I was shocked she was so swift in her actions. Usually the other parent is in denial about the allegations. It was probably due to the physical abuse she also suffered from her husband. It probably wasn’t farfetched for her to believe he could do something like that. The father was sentenced to a year in prison. Case closed, right? Much to the shock of the mother and brother, the sisters resumed their relationship with the father, once he was released from prison.
I think many folks tend to underestimate the manipulation/conditioning of child molesters. As one of the sisters noted in the documentary, she had been physically abused/raped from the ages of 5 to 11. It was all she and her sisters knew. Colvard decided to make a documentary about his family, after attending a holiday meal with his sisters/other family members. The father was also invited. Colvard was shocked when the father received warm welcomes from the sisters/family. Colvard couldn’t believe it, as he had cut off contact with his father 15 years before.
I have to admit, my eyes bugged out as family members hugged and laughed with the child rapist. But, as I continued to watch the documentary, I felt for the sisters. The sisters (Chiquita, Paula, and Angelika) were obviously trying to deal with the horror of their childhoods, the best way they knew how. There was an obvious longing for family. After the father was put into prison, the sisters bounced around from foster care to other family members who really didn’t want them. The mother disowned her daughters after they resumed their relationship with their father. She hasn’t seen them in over 17 years.
It’s a hard documentary to watch. The sisters are all beautiful, witty, and smart. It’s disturbing to know they spent their childhood physically abused and sexually assaulted. It was hard to listen to them rationalize why they are still in contact with their father. It’s obvious the women are still in a lot of emotional/psychological pain. It must be hard for them to admit they need to let their father go, in order to truly heal.
One of the sisters talked about her struggle with her feelings. She said,“It’s like two feelings going on here. One, like, oh daddy’s nice he’s cool, you know. I’m not gonna think about the past. Then, the other you know, I ain’t forgot what you’ve done mutherfucker.”
If you are overcoming abuse in your life:
Crossing the Boundary: Black Women Survive Incest by Melba WIlson
There Were Times I Thought I Was Crazy; A Black Woman’s Story of Incest by Vanessa Alleyne
Surviving the Silence: Black Women’s Stories of Rape by Charlotte Pierce-Baker
I Will Survive: African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse by Lori S. Robinson
Report Child Abuse: (1.800.422.4453)