I'm horrified after finding out my father raped my mum when she was 17

DEAR DEIDRE: MY mum has told me that my father raped her when she was 17. He was 24.

She got pregnant and so they had to get married – that’s how it was in their culture.


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Dad was a terrible husband. My memories are of him beating my mum. It was a blessing when he left nearly 20 years ago.

I’m a 23-year-old woman and my older sister is the by-product of that rape. She’s 28 and doesn’t know.

Mum has always struggled with depression. It was worse during lockdown and I asked when it started. This terrible family history came falling out of her mouth.

I don’t want to see my dad now. Dad is now 52 and Mum is 45. She says just to move on but I can’t.

DEIDRE SAYS: What a sad burden for you and what a tragedy for your mum. Neither of you can simply “move on” from such a terrible event – that’s why your mum struggles with depression.

Ask her to talk to Rape Crisis, who can give her support even though the rape was years ago (rapecrisis.org.uk, 0808 802 9999). They can help you and your sister too.

My feeling is that your mum should be honest with your sister as all of us “leak” feelings and she will be picking up on all the distress around.

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