Ask Demetria: My Family Is Divided Over a Rape Accusation

Family matters. Occasionally, readers have queries that don’t fit conveniently into the ask.FM box. My general rule, is that if it’s too long to fit, it’s a question that requires coaching (or maybe therapy) instead of a quick answer. (If you have a question that falls into the in-need-of-coaching category, hit me up: coachedbybelle at gmail dot com. PLEASE NOTE: there is a fee.)

This one, I made an exception for. A man wrote in to say that his female cousin recently claimed that he father raped her 9 years ago. The family is deeply divided over the issue and certain factions have stopped speaking to each other for more than 8 months.

I provided an in depth answer to him privately, and it was to get a therapist involved ASAP. (You’ll understand after you read his story.) Because this is a deeply personal story, I did ask if it was okay to share it since he contacted me privately. He asked that I would:

"I use to think the movie Precious was overly dramatic and distant until my cousin became my real life "Precious". I hope this story will inspire others to ban together as family should and be courageous in a fight against family curses."

Without further hesitation:

My family has been left divided over a rape claim. My cousin, 23, claimed her father raped her when she was 14. She has decided to press charges against her father. My cousin told investigators she tried to fight off her father when the rape took place. She has been tested for HIV twice a year since she was 16 and by God's grace tests negative.

Her mother, my aunt, did not take her seriously and immediately dismissed her claim. In fact, she laughed.  Half of my family, including me, support my cousin, while others like my grandmother and her own mother do not. This has left us divided and some of us have not spoken in over eight months.

Here is some back story to this entire situation. My cousin’s father has 10 kids with 5 different women, including my aunt. He is currently married to one of this women women, and yes, you guessed it, it's not my aunt. Yet, my aunt insists that he will divorce this woman and eventually put a ring on her finger.

Here is the shocker...

Two years ago my aunt discovered she was HIV positive. This was 8 years into her now rekindled relationship with my cousin’s (still married) father. He claims he is negative, but refuses to get tested.

Despite all of these details, certain family members choose to negate his history and reject my cousin’s claims. Furthermore, her mother feels that her daughter’s negative status is proof that her father is an innocent man.

I have decided to hold a family “Iyanla, Fix Our Life” type of meeting/intervention, but my significant other thinks it's a bad idea. Is it?

What do you think?