Father’s Day

A man’s face appeared all over pavements in Manhattan. I don’t know who he is, but the image made me think about those of us whose fathers are ghosts or never the fathers you read about in heartwarming stories. I have friends who are the most beautiful daddies. I also have friends who were sexually and physically abused by their fathers, and friends whose children were sexually abused by their fathers in turn. I have known such men, although I didn’t know they were abusing their children at the time. It makes me sick to think I once shook their hands.

One in particular, on being banned from the family home by the courts, launched into damage control against his hardworking, embattled ex-wife. On being told of the abuse, she had thrown him out and called the police. A man of immense charm – they have to be – he persuaded all his friends and family that she was lying. His family was, of course, deeply invested in preserving the illusion, not wanting the social stigma of having a paedophile in their ranks, and his friends had no idea of the truth as they had never spoken to her or to the child about the abuse.

My poor friend was thus vilified and unable to talk publicly about the abuses that had taken place as, for reasons I cannot share here, the rules of evidence were not completely satisfied, meaning that he escaped imprisonment. But all her friends knew what had really happened, as did the judge, which is why this reptile was deprived of all access to his child. I dedicate this post to all those who have endured or who continue to endure absent or abusive fathers, children for whom Father’s Day is a mockery of their family experience, and to all those brave enough to escape such brutal men. You are my heroes 👊👊👊 #fathersday

Antonella x

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