Documentary: Family Affair

TRIGGER WARNING!!!

*This post deals with abuse, incest, and sexual assault*

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The myth that tends to be perpetuated in America is that you are nothing without your biological family. Because this propaganda tends to be reinforced over and over again via our media, many folks hold onto family members, when they should be kicking them to the curb.  They think if they just love harder, be a better person, pray for them,etc., the poisonous relative will see the light. Sadly, they usually never do (because many are sociopaths).  So, you end up wasting your time and energy loving someone who really doesn’t give an ish about you. Personally, I think families can look many ways.  It can be your best friend, “play auntie,” co-worker, etc., anyone that has  provided you with genuine support in your life. Someone who has shown you real love and not used it in a  way to manipulate or oppress you or worse.

This past weekend, I watched the documentary “Family Affair.”  I remember hearing about the film, when scheduled for release a couple of years ago.  It fell off my radar. So, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon it on Netflix. I think because the film deals with issues of interracial marriage, incest, and abuse its gotten swept under the rug.

When he was a kid, Chico Colvard accidentally shot his sister in the leg. The sister (thinking she was going to die from her injuries), told her mom about the sexual abuse she suffered from her father. Sadly, not only had she been abused, but her younger sisters as well.  Of course, all hell broke loose, and the mom did what she was supposed to do and turned her husband into authorities. I have to admit I was shocked she was so swift in her actions. Usually the other parent is in denial about the allegations. It was probably due to the physical abuse she also suffered from her husband. It probably wasn’t farfetched for her to believe he could do something like that.  The father was sentenced to a year in prison. Case closed, right? Much to the shock of the mother and brother, the sisters resumed their relationship with the father, once he was released from prison.

I think many folks tend to underestimate the manipulation/conditioning of child molesters.  As one of the sisters noted in the documentary, she had been physically abused/raped from the ages of 5 to 11.  It was all she and her sisters knew.  Colvard decided to make a documentary about his family, after attending a holiday meal with his sisters/other family members. The father was also invited. Colvard was shocked when the father received warm welcomes from the sisters/family.  Colvard couldn’t believe it, as he had cut off contact with his father 15 years before.

I have to admit, my eyes bugged out as family members hugged and laughed with the child rapist. But, as I continued to watch the documentary, I felt for the sisters. The sisters (Chiquita, Paula, and Angelika) were obviously trying to deal with the horror of their childhoods, the best way they knew how. There was an obvious longing for family. After the father was put into prison, the sisters bounced around from foster care to other family members who really didn’t want them. The mother disowned her daughters after they resumed their relationship with their father. She hasn’t seen them in over 17 years.

It’s a hard documentary to watch. The sisters are all  beautiful, witty, and smart. It’s disturbing to know they spent their childhood physically abused and sexually assaulted. It was hard to listen to them rationalize why they are still in contact with their father. It’s obvious the women are still  in a lot of emotional/psychological pain. It must be hard for them to admit they need to let their father go, in order to truly heal.

One of the sisters talked about her struggle with her feelings. She said,“It’s like two feelings going on here. One, like, oh daddy’s nice he’s cool, you know. I’m not gonna think about the past. Then, the other you know, I ain’t forgot what you’ve done mutherfucker.”

If you are overcoming abuse in your life:

Crossing the Boundary: Black Women Survive Incest by Melba WIlson

There Were Times I Thought I Was Crazy; A Black Woman’s Story of Incest by Vanessa Alleyne

Surviving the Silence:  Black Women’s Stories of Rape by Charlotte Pierce-Baker

I Will Survive: African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse by Lori S. Robinson

Report Child Abuse: (1.800.422.4453)

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2 thoughts on “Documentary: Family Affair

  1. No matter how this is played, the adults in the story, including the aunt, played down the sexual abuse as a form of “it is your father no matter what..” It is sickening to think that not only did the abuser feel, “my children were well-mannered” he and others do not consider that the entire family were robbed of a normal child-hood, and that many effects of this abuse still linger in their families. No one stopped to consider that all of them appeared divorced and trying to raise single families. That each of their children have been robbed of their mothers, many trying to make sense of it all, and still tied to the abuser in every way.

    The brother and writer of the documentary chose to heal himself and try to make sense of it, and his aunt tells, “nothing happened to you—he loved you too much to let something happened to you…” What is she saying, that somehow he was okay being a male, and the others were not okay? To listen to her ask why he did not choose to come around, was crazy. Why would any of them maintain a relationship with any of them. One has to consider that one is crazy to think that they could ever have normal in a family where a 14 year old is pregnant from her father, and has an abortion, then goes on to say, that her father will always be her first orgasm. How does one ever meet a man and begin to tell this story or not tell this story?

    In many ways, the Courts felt little of what he did, and the entire system failed to see the abuse in the family. He kept such a tight reign over all of them, and to his brothers in the Mason family, he was perfect and had the perfect children. No one knew they had secret codes when to have sex with their father, and the worst of all was the fact that the set up of trying to get caught was a debacle for the oldest could not bring herself to turn him in. She rationalized it by saying it would have continued despite their mother finding out, but what was possibly going on was he had raped her, and had impregnated her, so she was the one who had endured possibly the most emotional trauma, and could not escape her abuser.

    The sister who wanted him to pay for what he did, was the person who tried to get set up so their mother could find out, but instead he beat her badly….how could the mother not see the bruises, how could she not see her bloody lip? They are all biracial and light-skinned, no way others did not see these bruises. The theory is that all of them were invisible to their friends, the school, the authorities and to themselves. They endured a horrific life and in the family. It is no wonder they did not commit suicide or homicide.

    The one who is the most fragile is the sister with a mental illness. She never looks like she has enough mental fortitude to raise her family, and she is truly living in a state of illness. She hates herself, and hates her daughter….she admits that the daughter’s father reminds her of her father, and one has to believe she is mad at herself and now mad at her daughter for wanting to be around her dad. She admits being close to her mother, possibly wanting her to protect her.

    Why did they want to be with their father despite the horror? Many times the abuse relate to their abuser, and through this time, they wanted and craved a “man’s” love and he had taught them that he was the only man who would get between their legs. He was a predator and a bully, and saw them as objects of his control. He would have kept going, if they would have allowed it to continue. He returns from prison to get a 19 year old for a wife, and again he is back to wanting power and control over another woman who is blinded by, “forgiveness.”

    The documentary was just a prelude and it would be good to see how they all are doing today. How their children are doing, and hopefully they are each in counseling for long-term incest and abuse. They were whipped and raped, then made love to and robbed of their first time being with a boy, not a grown man of experience and the person responsible for holding them and calling them “my little princess.” Instead, they were born to be “my little concubines” and he lorded over them, creating a wall of terror and fear.

    This is just a short-story of how men perpetuate such crimes on their families, and more the reason women should keep a careful eye on their children, no matter what. Their mother did not think that going to store and leaving them home was not a big deal. However, it was a horrific deal and used to prey on his victims. Did the mother not wash their panties and see the horror, the stained sheets, the blood not explained by a cycle?

    She was blinded by her own fear and when it was time she ran, but the girls were too traumatized to run with her. Possibly, they did not trust that she could keep them safe. After all, she ran to the store, and looked what occurred in her absence.

    I am very sorry for their ordeal and wish they could each write a book of their own to heal and/or to outreach others. The best healing is trying to honor yourself while helping another.

  2. This is truly saddening to me. Just the fact that these sisters were doomed from the beginning…their Mom wasn’ t connected to her girls because as a mother u feel, sense and inspect everything concerning your kids…especially girls! She didn’t share a spiritual connection with them….she would have felt this abuse in her spirit…seen it in their eyes…and felt it in their embraces! It baffles me to know and see how the father had this meloncholy attitude as if he didn’t mentally, socially, physically and emotionally sabotage his own daughtets!!! The family he came from clearly tolerated this illegal behavior and saw it as a minute incident that deemed a bandaide to camouflage!! It’s people like the aunt and the dad who psychologically strip and manipulate us who keep these generational curses in full effect!!! Tearing down one another!!! I pray these young women seek spiritual healing for they need deliverance from so many unclean demonic spirits that have made their temples their very own home!!!

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