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My stepbrother is up for parole and I’m supposed to give a statement


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Hi, I would like to get some opinions on a bad situation I’m in.

So my stepbrother is coming up for parole soon and per his sentencing agreement I am supposed to give a statement before the hearing on whether or not I support his release. He was given 5-20 years and basically how he was sentenced means that a lot of weight will be given to my statement.  I’ve been told that if I oppose his release he will almost surely do at least another 5 years, but if I support it he will probably be released.  He is in prison because not long after he moved in with me and my mom he began raping me and it went on for like 6 months before he finally got caught.

I don’t like this situation (even tho I agreed to it at the time) because it’s just too much pressure and I’m not sure what the right thing to do is. But I have to give a statement (not giving one would mean he’ll probably get parole) and I’m really torn as to what to do. I’ve thought a lot about it and would like to get some opinions on it.

Here are the reasons I think I should support his release:

1)  He’s already paid quite a bit for what he did to me.  Not only has he already done 5 years, but he’s also been raped twice and beat up like 5 times since he’s been in there, I guess because everyone hates you in prison when you’re there for a sex charge, especially if it was a minor (I was 15 and he was 18 when this happened).  He also lost all of his inheritance to me in a civil suit and his grandparents were really rich.  So I kinda feel like he’s already paid enough of a price and now maybe it’s time for him to get out.

2)  His family is REALLY pressuring me to help him get out.  They base it on all the things I just said above, and they keep telling me I’m being vindicative and mean spirited if I don’t entirely agree.  This has really stressed me out and I’m really feeling the pressure from them to give a positive statement to the board.  I should note, however, that in reality they believe their son who tells them it was all consensual and that it was not actual rape.

And here are the reasons I think I should NOT support his release:

1)  5 years doesn’t really seem fair considering the nature of the crime.  Because this wasn’t like an isolated incident.  He would take advantage of me almost daily and it went on for 6 months.  It was a living hell for me.  And who knows how long it would have went on if he didn’t get caught?

2)  He was/is a true predator.  Being only 15 at the time, and with him being a senior in high school, I really looked up to him and he used that against me to take advantage of me.  He manipulated me into thinking it was normal and even my fault and he convinced me that turning him in was “wrong”.  And being so young and naïve I believed him.  So he took advantage of me as a “sister” in the most disgusting way.

3)  I’m not convinced he wouldn’t do this to someone else if he gets out.  I base this on his attitude since he’s been in prison.  He still will not admit that what he did was wrong (officially he will but not to our family) and he still claims it was consensual.  I do not find this attitude to be proper for someone to be released back into society.  And if I supported his release and something bad happened to someone else I could never forgive myself.

So that is all the pros and cons I’ve considered.  This whole thing has really stressed me out so I wanted to get some opinions, as far as to do you think my line of reasoning is proper and what do you think I should do?  Or maybe you could put yourselves in my shoes and tell me what you think you would do?

And thanks in advance.  I want to do the right thing but this is such a complex and personal issue that I’m not really sure what the right thing to do is. 😕 (for the record, my parents do not want him released, nor do most other members of my family, but ALL of his do).

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Well, they are a part of my life now so I couldn't just cut them off.

The problem is that I'm feeling pressured on BOTH sides.  As to what I feel I should do, that is the point, I don't know. A part of me wants to forgive, after all, it is the christian thing to do and i am a christian and believe in forgiveness. But another part of me is now reliving what I went through, and considering his current attitude and the possible threat to others if he gets out. That part of me wants to see him in prison forever.

That is why I wanted to get some opinions from people besides my friends and family.  I want to know what people think who are not involved and can help me to think about it more objectively.  Everyone I know is emotionally involved, including myself.

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1 hour ago, Ashley2022 said:

He still will not admit that what he did was wrong (officially he will but not to our family) and he still claims it was consensual. 

Obviously he shows no remorse,while making  it all about himself and playing the role of being the victim.

I think you should realize your self-worth, which (imo) will lead you to the answer you're comfortable with.  Don't sell yourself short.

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31 minutes ago, Seraphim said:

Book a place somewhere and go and think and say you do not want ANY influence from either side . You will make up your own mind what YOU want to say. This is about YOU no one else. 

but isn't it also about my stepbrother?  And any woman who he might offend if he is released?  And his family who say they want him back home?  

There seem to be so many people who could/would be affected by this that it doesn't seem to be just about me.

10 minutes ago, HeartGoesOn said:

Obviously he shows no remorse,while making  it all about himself and playing the role of being the victim.

I think you should realize your self-worth, which (imo) will lead you to the answer you're comfortable with.  Don't sell yourself short.

You are right that he shows no remorse, he has not once apologized since this happened.  He even claimed that it was consensual for a long time, until recently (I think just because he was coming up for parole), but even now claims he THOUGHT I was ok with it and didn't know it was rape.

As far as him playing victim, I kind of agree but also disagree.  He has been beat up really bad (I saw pics) like 5 times and even raped twice since he's been locked up, I guess because they pick on sex offenders in there, especially if it involved a child. And since I was 15 and him 18 he is labeled a child sex offender so all the other prisoners know it.  So he has been a victim as well.  But I don't think he should play the victim as far as acting like he's all innocent because I wanted it or he didn't know what he was doing.  I never wanted to have sex with him and he knew perfectly well what he was doing.  He manipulated me and took advantage of me.

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1 minute ago, melancholy123 said:

If he gets out is he required to get any type of therapy or does he just go and do as he pleases?

Yes, he had to get therapy in prison and he will have to continue this once he gets out.  He will be on probation 10 years.  He is a registered sex offender involving a minor so he will be restricted in where he can go.  Can't live by a school, cannot be in any gathering of children, etc.  He is not allowed to contact me (although I suspect he might). 

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Can you consult legal aid or an attorney a victims advocacy organization to gather legal advice and to learn whether they can represent you at the hearing--and speak for you?

It seems wrong to put a victim through this.

Would written answers possibly be accepted, or can you testify by video?

These are the kinds of questions I'd want to be advised on.

I'd also want to learn whether my answer can be that I have mixed feelings on the matter--for exactly the reasons you've stated.

That would be splitting your answer down the middle and allowing the professionals to decide.

My heart goes out to you, and I'm so sorry you're going through this.

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I have an attorney. I only have to give a written statement. I don't have to be there in person. 

as far as the statement it is not like that. I can't talk about my feelings. It's basically do I support or oppose his release. I don't have to give a statement but then my attorney said he definitely will get parole. So it is still very stressful because I have to make a decision.

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3 hours ago, Ashley2022 said:

I have an attorney. I only have to give a written statement. I don't have to be there in person.

Why would you have an attorney? There's the prosecutor and you're the complaining witness. He has a criminal defense attorney. Say whatever you think and feel. 

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I don't feel like I can give advice on this really because it's you who was in this situation and went through all that so I can't really imagine how you must feel. I mean, I can, but not from personal experience so I don't feel like I can tell you what you should do.

Have you been receiving any support from a women's shelter or an organisation for victims of sexual assault? My advice would be to connect/reconnect with them and discuss with them. 

I'm just wondering if he's your stepbrother and not biological brother why you actually need to be in touch with his family? Can't you just cut them off? They're forcing you to do what they want and do you really need that? 

I think don't worry about what they or anyone thinks and listen to your gut feeling. In your heart you must know what the right thing is. You don't seem to want to just let him go out on parole. If you did then you would just support his release but yet you came here for advice. Don't do what other people want, do what you want.

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10 hours ago, Seraphim said:

1. Get away from his family ENTIRELY. Have zero to do with any of them . Period. Ever. 
2. Do what YOU feel in your heart you should do without pressure from anyone. 

^ I second this post.  (I'd like to add a lot more but best not to).

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9 hours ago, Ashley2022 said:

but isn't it also about my stepbrother?  And any woman who he might offend if he is released?  And his family who say they want him back home?  

It is not about his family whatsoever, no. 

I would also be concerned about what your stepbrother wants. He sure wasn't concerned about you when he was committing these crimes against you. 

I would, however, be very concerned about his potential to re-offend, and thus hurt another woman. He is not remorseful. He still maintains it was consensual. He is thus not a good candidate for parole, in my personal opinion. 

If you cannot cut off the family members who are pressuring you to support his release, I would tell them you are not going to discuss his case any further. And shut down all conversation about it. Full stop. They won't like this, but that's frankly too bad for them. It is not their call to decide how you feel about this. 

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I see the penance paid and the immense value of forgiveness, especially in your own heart, for your own well-being. But the element of him being un remorseful, even having experienced being on the receiving end of rape, that tips the scales for me firmly in the direction of oppose. 
 

It really sucks that you can’t provide an answer with more nuance, like, approve conditionally only if he commits to ongoing mental health care relating to respecting other peoples autonomy. 
 

In this instance I’m extra sad that all we know is punitive justice. If he had been the recipient of restorative justice these last 5 years he might be no longer a threat. 
 

As to finding the response you can live with, I’d gently encourage you to get hold of a psychologist or even a social worker. Just someone who can help you work out your own heart. 
 

(Last thought, if you grant him bail and he reoffends that is 100% not on your head please don’t shoulder the responsibility for it, if it turns out better for your mental health and family harmony to let him get bail, you have to look after you first. If the thought of him being free fills you with fear, that might be a good indicator that in your heart you oppose). 

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Maybe I’m missing something but why not opt to say and write nothing at all. Say that you don’t wish to contribute to this hearing. If you wanted to oppose release I’d understand as you’re the victim and you want to protect others from his criminal behavior but since you’re so conflicted why make any statement at all?

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9 hours ago, Ashley2022 said:

I don't have to give a statement but then my attorney said he definitely will get parole.

State exactly what you feel. If you feel that parole is premature/unwarranted, state so. Keep in mind this puts you and others at risk if you let this slide.

Do you think that a restraining order will stop his revenge for putting him away? Does knowing he's out there make you feel safe or concerned?

Do you really think people who rape children should roam the streets? Tune his family out completely. Only listen to the prosecutor and your own heart. It doesn't matter what he endured in prison, he created that scenario.

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I am so sorry for what he did to you. I support you doing what you feel is right.  Do not let the family pressure you,  because truly they are NOT being very kind or considerate of you and what HE did. The whole they believe him over you, about giving consent would be enough for me to never talk to those family members again. 

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48 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

 since you’re so conflicted why make any statement at all?

I am gathering it's because if she doesn't, she is concerned about the following: 

9 hours ago, Ashley2022 said:

 I don't have to give a statement but then my attorney said he definitely will get parole. 

So she feels indirectly responsible for his release even if she chooses not to say anything, I suppose. OP, could you clarify? 

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I would oppose his release since he feels ZERO remorse and thus he has a chance of hurting you and other women. If his family also supports him, he'll more likely re-do it. And I would advise listening to YOUR family members who truly care about you and see the harm he's done to you. I believe true forgiveness is in your heart and not in prison- so if he spends more time in prison, that doesn't mean you didn't forgive him. That means that in life there are consequences to actions that harm others and for those consequences he shall be liable.

But you do you.

And please please please, get away from his family. Block and delete their noise from your life. They are all part of this crime because they support his rape to you.

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I just want to thank everyone for their input.  This has been really stressful for me and I appreciate all the feedback.

3 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

It is not about his family whatsoever, no. 

I would also be concerned about what your stepbrother wants. He sure wasn't concerned about you when he was committing these crimes against you. 

I would, however, be very concerned about his potential to re-offend, and thus hurt another woman. He is not remorseful. He still maintains it was consensual. He is thus not a good candidate for parole, in my personal opinion. 

If you cannot cut off the family members who are pressuring you to support his release, I would tell them you are not going to discuss his case any further. And shut down all conversation about it. Full stop. They won't like this, but that's frankly too bad for them. It is not their call to decide how you feel about this. 

Yes, Canuck, that is how I feel about it also.  I think I could completely forgive him and support his release if he would just be honest about it and admit his guilt.  But he STILL claims ignorance and for a long time he even claimed it was consensual. That is hard for me to swallow. He just will not take responsibility for his actions even after 5 years.  He initially actually claimed he thought I wanted to have sex just because I walked around the house in my bikini or underwear.  In his opinion he thought that was an invitation to have sex.  He thought I was coming on to him but in reality I was just young and naive, and with me being a freshman and him a senior, naturally I looked up to him and wanted to get some attention.  But I never wanted to have sex with him, he was not attractive and I had a bf, and it just really makes me mad that to this day he still brings that up as an excuse. He also says he thought I wanted it because I didn't resist or tell anyone.  This with him being like 100 lbs heavier than me and a foot taller.  I was SCARED to tell on him, plus he manipulated me into not telling by claiming he couldn't help himself and it was my fault for leading him on. He told me he was really horny from seeing me in my bikini or underwear and he just had to do what he was going to do or he would go crazy.  And being young I believed him and thought he honestly couldn't help himself.  So I never told on him even tho I always knew what he was doing was wrong.  It's the way he spins it that makes me think he doesn't deserve to be released.

51 minutes ago, Lambert said:

I am so sorry for what he did to you. I support you doing what you feel is right.  Do not let the family pressure you,  because truly they are NOT being very kind or considerate of you and what HE did. The whole they believe him over you, about giving consent would be enough for me to never talk to those family members again. 

Yes I don't like that they believed him but I guess it's to be expected because he is their son.  But I think at some point you have to admit the truth and accept that a family member might have something seriously wrong with them.  But to this day they still insinuate that I was "asking for it" or even wanted it.  It makes me mad but I try not to hold that against my stepbrother when deciding what to do. 

 

32 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

I am gathering it's because if she doesn't, she is concerned about the following: 

So she feels indirectly responsible for his release even if she chooses not to say anything, I suppose. OP, could you clarify? 

Yes, Canuck, that is correct.  If I don't make a statement and he is released, that is still on me and I would feel responsible for anything that happened. Either way, I will have to live with the fact that I could have done something different.

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4 minutes ago, Ashley2022 said:

He just will not take responsibility for his actions even after 5 years

Had he felt remorseful and asked for your forgiveness, I would say release him.

But, he hasn't (be careful him faking it just before the deadline btw). That tells me that as soon as he'll be out, he'll be back on it. This is like releasing back a criminal to the women/girls population. Keep that in mind. And on top of that, he might want to stalk you and that'll bring back a lot of trauma.

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3 minutes ago, DarkCh0c0 said:

Had he felt remorseful and asked for your forgiveness, I would say release him.

But, he hasn't (be careful him faking it just before the deadline btw). That tells me that as soon as he'll be out, he'll be back on it. This is like releasing back a criminal to the women/girls population. Keep that in mind. And on top of that, he might want to stalk you and that'll bring back a lot of trauma.

I completely agree.

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16 hours ago, Ashley2022 said:

The problem is that I'm feeling pressured on BOTH sides.  As to what I feel I should do, that is the point, I don't know. A part of me wants to forgive, after all, it is the christian thing to do and i am a christian and believe in forgiveness. But another part of me is now reliving what I went through, and considering his current attitude and the possible threat to others if he gets out. That part of me wants to see him in prison forever.

Too bad some of them can't stay in forever- especially IF this is how they are 😕 .

I do hope you've seeked professional help in this time, of something that has deeply affected you?

Same goes for him - do you know if HE has been analyzed at all while in there?  Has he been diagnosed at all with some mental illness etc?  If so, he'd need to be monitored, medicated etc...

As for you, sure is a heavy burden - but sit back for a good while and look at the 'whole' perspective.  How do you see all of this now?

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