Here’s the text of an email I just sent my brother. In my therapy session today, it came up that my father stole all my support from me by doing something so taboo, that I couldn’t talk about it or get support from anyone. We came up with the idea of telling my brothers and some key friends about the scar tissue so I could share the burden a bit. My older brother is kind of a good choice to start, since my relationship with him is already very distant, there isn’t much to lose if he doesn’t respond well.
My brother is a medical professional, which is why I’m being fairly direct about the gyne exam stuff. I’m assuming that part of it won’t phase him, although who am I to know what is appropriate for this kind of thing?
Dear [brother’s name]
I was hoping to talk to you in person, but we haven’t connected.
I’ve had some difficult news.
I’m finding I need to share this information, so it’s not just me holding it. I’m hoping that it matters to you as my brother that this happened to me. It’s awkward and odd to tell you this in an email, I know, but would also be awkward and odd on the phone too, and I figure email lets us both save some face if you don’t want to speak with me about it.
This matters, and I need to tell people who matter to me about it. You are welcome to share this information with [his wife’s name].
I had a gyne exam a few weeks ago. I wanted to have more time to ask questions, so I booked an appointment with a nurse practitioner. Because we had more time, she was able to have me sit up, see what she was doing in a mirror, and I was able to ask her opinion on whether or not I have scar tissue resulting from being sexually assaulted as a young child. It turns out that I have a some scars and flaps of tissue indicating that my vagina had torn significantly and had healed without being stitched up. I also have some vascular damage in the area. I was able to see the scars and damage clearly. The nurse practitioner’s opinion that this was very old damage and was consistent with damage from a childhood assault. I haven’t given birth or had anything happen as an adult that would account for any kind of scars or damage.
I’m absolutely furious. I remember the incident that caused this damage clearly, but given the nature of memory stored during trauma, it has been possible at times to be in denial about it. Having physical evidence is something I’m still adjusting to. It is helpful to have proof that I’ve been right in what I remember all along, but the reawakened anger at [abuser’s name] and grief for that little girl is at times overwhelming and I have very few people who know my history around me. I have a good therapist, but otherwise am quite isolated about this, as it’s not exactly a polite conversation topic.
I know you and I haven’t been close in a long time, but I wanted you to know about this, and hope you can understand why I didn’t want to be alone with these facts. It would be a comfort to me to hear from you and know that you understood and perhaps even shared my anger and horror that even [shithead abuser’s name] could do something so heinous. I’ll understand if that’s not something either you or [your wife] wish to do, but I thought I’d ask.
Aside from all this, in regular life I’m doing very well. My business is still thriving, [wife’s name] and the dogs are well, and we just had a very fun and social weekend here with friends. I’m still the resilient, strong and capable person I always am, so am not looking for any kind of big-brotherly rescue, just to begin to share the burden of terrible news in the hopes it will become lighter.