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Family issues - sorry about the length.

I don't really know where to post this, and have been struggling on whether or not to even write it. It is connected to my bridal party in the sense that all my sisters (real, IN, step, and FSIL) are my bridal party. But it's really a family problem, one that I need some kind and unbiased opinions on. I'll try and make it as short as possible.

A few months ago my stepsister was in town, she lives across the US, and at a dinner told my sister, SIL, and I that my dad molested her 18 years ago (she's 26.) She said she told her mom when it happened. Our parents had been dating 2 years at that point. Her mom told her that they could either go to the police, and both her and my dad would go to jail, or they could keep it to themselves. That she loved my dad and would be sad if anything happened, but that if it happened again she would leave him. (Messed up beyond belief, but they put her into therapy for it, my dad had therapy, and 4 years later our parents got married.)

She said my dad was going to tell us the next time my brother was in town (he lives out of the country,) but that she felt she needed to tell us because we are at the age where we could have kids. My brother and SIL already have a 2 year old.

I am very close with my family. With all of my siblings and both my parents. This has been heartbreaking, for all of us. And honestly we're all struggling to accept it and try to move on. Imagine someone you love telling you something like this about your father, who you have always loved, respected, and is a really really good person.

Since then things have collapsed. Her mom has left my dad and filed for divorce (her reasoning being that her daughter "needs to heal.") I think she just can't handle it that it's come out that she knew and married him anyway. Now they've been telling everyone and anyone. My stepsister has told us that she has no problem with my dad. That she has healed as much as possible and moved on.

So fast forward a few months to now. I have been waiting for things to resolve. My wedding is the beginning of March and she is a bridesmaid. Initially, I was going to keep it that way, unless she wanted to withdraw due to her own feelings. My family is now asking that I pull her from the wedding. (Not my dad, he says to do what I want and that he doesn't want to sway any of our feelings towards my stepsister - that none of this was her fault.) But my siblings and my mom, as well as my best friend who is my MOH, are asking me to talk to her about not being in it. They say it will be hurtful and awkward for them. (The Facebook thing, along with outright telling everyone. Also, a lot of what she has posted doesn't jive with what she has told us.) My FI doesn't want her there, but says he understands that I am the one in the hard spot here and he'll understand whatever decision. I honestly don't really want to deal with her being there either, but am uncomfortable kicking her out.

So no matter what I do, people are hurt. I was raped at 15 and can't honestly imagine wanting to be around my dad if I were her - I just can't fathom it. It would be horrible. She has told my sister she still wants to be in the wedding, but understands if I need to make a different decision. (I've talked with my stepsister since all of this happened, but not about the wedding.) I am uncomfortable either way. If she is there, my siblings/mom will be hurt. If I ask her to not be, she will be hurt.

I honestly just don't know what to do anymore. This has been such a nightmare few months. The bridal shop said the girls need to order their dresses at the beginning of October; I feel like I'm running out of time. If this were your family, what would you do?

Oh, I just realized I didn't really say that my dad will still be at my wedding. He is my father and I love him; we're all working on...everything.

Edit: Went through and cleaned up some of the details to make it shorter. She posted the whole story on FB, which we have family on, and now everyone on both sides of my family are aware of the situation.
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Re: Family issues - sorry about the length.

  • Like the bridal store says, you have till October to order the dress. You have plenty of time to work more of this out.

    As for the issues with your family, I am not sure what you're asking. Can you ask a question? Or is this just a rant? I am just not sure.
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  • (CN: Stepsister revealed recently that she was molested by the bride's father as a child, bride's family is pressuring her to remove her as a BM, bride is stuck in the middle.)

    Oh, you poor thing!  That's so awful everything you and your family have been through.  I think because this is all still fairly recent and your wedding is still several months away, you shouldn't do anything yet.  She's said that she still wants to be there, so I'd go ahead and have her order the dress.  If she later decides to pull out, the dress order might be able to be canceled, or she can attempt to resell it.  So don't make the dress deadline the deadline to figure all of this out.  If I were in your place, I'd be telling my family, "I don't want to do anything I'll regret, we'll sort all of that out when things get closer."  With some time, communication, and maybe some counseling for you and your family, it's entirely possible that things will be a lot clearer by March.

    *hugs*  Best of luck to you!
    This is a neglected planning bio.
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    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
  • I'm asking would you do as your family asked, and kick her out (to put it bluntly, cause that's what it is.)

    Or would you just leave the situation as is, with her in the bridal party.
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  • Okay, wait a minute I just reread it.

    I don't know how everyone else feels about it, but your mom, MOH and sis are out of line in asking you to ask your step sis to step down. How on earth can they be more hurt than her?! The guy (your dad) who did this will be there?! The fact that none of you knew all those years means that she had to deal with it on her own. Her telling people on facebook, although somewhat innappropriate is no less as bad as what he did to her originally. If she and he have moved on from the issue, people need to respect that and act like adults. 

    I feel like they're acting like it happened to them. It's not their day, nor were they the victims. I don't think you should tell your step sis anything other than that you support her and love her, tell your dad you love him no matter what he did, and tell your other family and friends that you love them, but that you can't imagine not having your step sis next to you at your wedding.
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    Sunbonnet or cone of shame? You be the judge! Trixie's Blog
    My Planning Bio
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_wedding-party_family-issues-sorry-length?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:37Discussion:4ee4b7d6-5d13-4013-afaa-05ff4aa27a66Post:82ff354f-9885-4dcd-9200-54d9ffbb9f78">Re: Family issues - sorry about the length.</a>:
    [QUOTE]I'm asking would you do as your family asked, and kick her out (to put it bluntly, cause that's what it is.) Or would you just leave the situation as is, with her in the bridal party.
    Posted by nannabug42[/QUOTE]

    <div>Thanks for clarifying. I already posted in a long paragraph, but again, I'd leave it as is. Even though there was some truamatic event, people need to respect YOUR wishes of having her there and a bm.</div>
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    Sunbonnet or cone of shame? You be the judge! Trixie's Blog
    My Planning Bio
    My Married Bio updated March 4
  • jaimed99jaimed99 member
    500 Comments
    edited August 2010
    Stina, I think she may be asking if she should keep her step (?) sister as a BM because her family and friends are pressuring OP to ask her to step down, but OP wants her to be in the wedding and SS wants to be in the wedding, but OP feels that it may be uncomfortable for SS because of the honestly upsetting experiences with OP's dad years ago.

    OP, I say go with your gut. If you feel that your sister will be uncomfortable as a BM, then let her come to you and tell you that she would like to step down. Don't kick her out because other people are pressuring you...it's not their wedding, and it's not their decision, and regardless of whose idea it was, it will make you look bad.

    HTH :)

    ETA: I guess I was writing this while everyone else was giving their input :)
  • Thanks for the responses, I think I'll take Aerin's advice and just sit on it for now. But I honestly can't imagine asking her not to be in it - it seems petty and like I blame her.

    And just so there's no confusion, I don't care strongly one way or the other if she's standing up with me. She's family, and in my family your siblings are in your wedding. (We're all pretty close.) Don't get me wrong, I love her, but if she wanted to step down I wouldn't be upset or anything.
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  • I don't think you should take her out. You asked her how she felt and she still wants to be in the wedding. The people that want her out have no say in the matter and should keep their noses out of her business and yours. If step-sister wants to be in it (and saying "My stepsister has told us that she has no problem with my dad. That she has healed as much as possible and moved on." sounds like she's fine).

    It sounds like you, and others, don't want her in the wedding because it will make everyone but her and your dad uncomfortable? So she gets molested, gets it off her chest, heals, and now no one wants her around because it embarrasses them? What a lovely family you have. Heaven forbid that one of them gets rapped and then no one wants to be around them because they are tainted by this horrible thing that was out of their control. And her mom, really? She was that hard up for a man that she couldn't protect her own child. What a winner!

    It may not necessarily make you the bad guy to take her out of the wedding; however by kicking her out and not inviting her you will end this relationship with her. If that is what you want then do so, but I think it is pretty crappy. I can't say that your family is winning any points here. They are being selfish. How will someone else's pain embarrass them? They need to grow up. Your mom and MOH aren't part of the situation so they need to butt out. Whether you decide to kick her out, or leave her in, do it because you want too and not because someone else is pressuring you too.

    Anniversary
  • What's "the Facebook thing?" It sounds like that's a big part of the problem, and you didn't say what exactly happened. My answer somewhat depends on that, I think, because it determines whether she's just telling people her own truth, which she has every right to do, or whether she's purposely being hurtful to your siblings and mom, which isn't ok.

    Based on what you've said though, I'd say that you need to talk to the rest of your family and explain what your dad has said: this was not her fault. This IS not her fault. Your dad fuucked up, and you are not going to let his mistake keep you from having someone you consider a sister in your wedding unless SHE decides that she's not up to it.
  • She has posted everything on FB and other sites, which we had family on, so now everyone knows. And my family is mad over it. Sorry - I should have put an ETA at the bottom - I went through and tried to edit some of the length out. I thought I didn't take anything important out, I'll put one now.
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  • I understand the FB thing being hurtful but this doesn't involve those family members. This is between you, sister, and dad.  SHe is your sister for crying out loud...and you may kick her out, not invite her, and end a relationship because some snotty family members are sticking their noses where they don't belong? End the relationship with her because you want too, not because your family's panties are in a bunch. If you do, you will regret the decision and resent them for killing you and sister's relationship.
    Anniversary
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_wedding-party_family-issues-sorry-length?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:37Discussion:4ee4b7d6-5d13-4013-afaa-05ff4aa27a66Post:ea5d4e27-e855-4d23-a75b-e48161a65e44">Re: Family issues - sorry about the length.</a>:
    [QUOTE]Okay, wait a minute I just reread it. I don't know how everyone else feels about it, but your mom, MOH and sis are out of line in asking you to ask your step sis to step down. How on earth can they be more hurt than her?! The guy (your dad) who did this will be there?! The fact that none of you knew all those years means that she had to deal with it on her own. Her telling people on facebook, although somewhat innappropriate is no less as bad as what he did to her originally. If she and he have moved on from the issue, people need to respect that and act like adults.  I feel like they're acting like it happened to them. It's not their day, nor were they the victims. I don't think you should tell your step sis anything other than that you support her and love her, tell your dad you love him no matter what he did, and tell your other family and friends that you love them, but that you can't imagine not having your step sis next to you at your wedding.
    Posted by stina93446[/QUOTE]

    Good advice here.
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  • Do molesters ever recover'? I'd be putting my stepsister before my dad in that situation, whether or not he's 'working on it'. What if you were in that situation and the man who hurt you would be there and was said to be 'working on it'?

    As it stands, you should ask her right up front. Tell her that your dad is going to be at the wedding, and that you would love to have her as a bridesmaid but you don't want it to be painful for her. It should be her choice, consciously and with the knowledge of the rest of the situation.

    Will she be at the wedding even if she isn't in the wedding party?
  • If it were me, dad wouldn't be invited. I wouldn't want a pedophile molester at my wedding, no matter how he was related to me. But putting that aside, if your step-sister is willing to be within 10 miles of your father, then let her stay in the wedding. She should not have to suffer because your family is in denial.
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