When my S.O. and I first met, he mentioned he had a schizophrenic brother (let’s call him James) that had an unfortunate history of heavy drug use and violence. On our fourth or fifth date, he revealed his brother had been arrested that day. His arrest lead him to be institutionalized for several years and according to doctors, they didn't believe he should ever get out.
For years my S.O. would visit his brother often and I knew he felt relief knowing he was in a place where he couldn't hurt anyone else and wreak havoc on the lives of his family members. He wished him well, but couldn't imagine the possibility of going through the hell he went through with James in the past.
Fast forward a few years and my S.O. and I have a child together and find ourselves in need of a temporary place to stay. We move in with his mother who has plenty of room and shortly after we move in, the hospital gives James privileges to leave the hospital grounds during the day as long as he stays out of trouble and makes it back at a certain time.
My S.O.’s mother of course was elated she is able to see her son more often and no longer had to make the trip daily to visit him in the hospital. My S.O. didn’t appear to share them same sentiment and abruptly leaves when James comes over to visit. The first day James arrived at our door, he began making perverse sexual comments and requests to my S.O. that sounded, well, crazy. I expressed my concern but my S.O. assured me his brother was harmless and had never done anything to hurt anyone (he must have forgotten he told me of his history of violence when we first started dating). He said the most he might do was harass someone, but I had nothing to worry about.
James pretty much knows to leave me alone when his mother and brother are watching, but if his mother is distracted and my S.O. isn't there, he follows me into the bathroom, hovers over me as I cook and even cracked open my room door one day and watched me as I napped. He never did anything that made me fear that he would harm me, he was just creepy. He one day told me he had gone three weeks without sex and pressed himself against me while I was washing the dishes repeatedly asking for a hug.
I try to avoid being at home on weekends when he visits but I can’t not be home as early as nine am through seven or 8 eight pm each weekend. I have groceries to buy, meals to prep for the week, a house to clean and laundry to do. I often find myself feeling guilty for avoiding him and not being more understanding but I couldn't shake a feeling I had that I needed for my child and me to stay away from him.
After the hugging incident I decided to look him up and see if he was a registered sex offender. He is. He spent two years in prison for a felony forcible touching crime. He overpowered his victim with his 300 pound body and groped her. Shortly after he was released, he had a psychotic episode and was institutionalized. I would have never expected my S.O. to give me a complete breakdown of every act of violence his James committed before he got his treatment while he was in a psych ward. Now that he is out and he is around my child and I, I feel as if I do have a right to know more about his brother especially since the first thing he spoke of when he arrived at the house were sex acts.
My S.O. of course defended his brother, said he had a psychotic episode and wasn't really a sexual predator. He also said what his brother did wasn’t that bad. “It’s not like he raped her”, he said. I can’t imagine the horror that woman must have gone through being cornered and groped by a large 300 pound man, I can’t imagine she would shrug the incident off and say “well at least he didn’t rape me”. He also said I can’t share my concerns with his mother. She continues to insist he never did anything wrong and would ultimately blame me if something were to happen.
I don’t believe the mentally ill belong in prisons; if anything prison will only make their condition worse. I am glad he was finally able to get the medication and treatment he needs, kick his drug habit and finally be given the freedom to at least leave the hospital and feel like he can have part of his old life back. However, I can’t shake the fear that I have that something could happen. Should I allow him to corner me in the bathroom and the kitchen, make sexual comments and insist on hugs because I feel sorry for him? Should I put his feelings and his well-being before my own? And most importantly, can I allow my young child to have contact with a registered sex offender just because this person is his uncle and needs his family?
My S.O. doesn't seem concerned enough about my concerns. I want to move out and he doesn't seem to be too motivated to find a better paying job and the reason we needed a place to temporarily stay is because of financial issues. I am currently looking for a higher paying job so I can afford to move without my S.O. I feel terrible about this whole situation and I really wish the best for his brother, but I can’t shake the fear that I have living there if he is constantly going to be there.
(Image: Andrea Danti/shutterstock)