Teenage Problems/I saw my brother kissing his best friend's dad and he forced me to keep it secret; NOT COPING WELL.
Hi, Dawn here.
I'm 19, live at home with my parents; planning on going to uni in September. I've got a 16-year-old brother.
Anyway, I came home from work one night, well, Wednesday actually, went and got myself a cup of tea. I knew my brother was in as I could hear music blaring loudly. I went upstairs to the bathroom to have a wee and before I could do so, I saw my brother kissing another man. If he's gay, fine, no problems with it. I know my brother's gay, and have no issue with it. He's not camp or anything like that, but he is gay.
It's the identity of the other man that concerned me; it was his best friend's dad. Our family have known my brother's best friend's dad since my brother was 5 years old. His best friend's family always hold big parties, known for it in our neighbourhood (we live in a small market town).
I confronted the two of them, asked what was going on, they said "Don't fucking tell anyone about this, besides, you shouldn't have seen, you pervy little freak. We're together, have been since October, that's it.".
What a situation. I know my brother was gay and had problems meeting gay people, but to go off with his best friend's dad, what a sick betrayal.
I did manage to ask him privately yesterday a bit more about why he's in this relationship, he said he instigated it, found his best friend's dad sexy, he told me his best friend's dad is gay but couldn't tell his wife and son obviously, he's 43 and in my brother's words "hot, a sexy, hot guy, seen him in his smalls, we even got the selfie stick out and took photos of each other in our boxer shorts, it was fun."
Our town (a small market town near Stourbridge; we don't actually live in Stourbridge, but mum commutes to there, dad works in Birmingham and Evesham) doesn't have much in the way of LGBT for youth, and being gay is not well accepted, it's fairly conservative. It's the sort of town where everyone knows everyone else.
If he had problems with meeting people, why didn't he talk to me or Mum and dad? My mum and dad know he's gay, my brother came out in August 2014, and he can usually talk about such issues or problems with them; he talked well to them about problems with his maths homework.
I haven't told his best friend's mum, or indeed my parents, for fear of worrying about their reaction. This is embarrassing and a sensitive issue, and I really don't know what to do.
He turns 17 in April, which won't be far off. Legally, he's of age, so nothing wrong's been done.
I'm 19, and have my own worries about finding a used car; trying to decide between a Mitsubishi Lancer or a Volvo S60, but that's not really advice for here (it's a consumer issue, isn't it?)
I would appreciate any help on this, especially as I'm not sure where to go next.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me and I hope that I can help.
The situation that you have become involved in is complicated and regardless of what you choose to do or not do, someone may end up getting hurt. In some ways, this is about morality and principals and in other ways it is about protecting your brother. You cannot forget what you have seen and are aware of but going "public" with what you know may stand to destroy more than one person's life. The other issue that you have with talking about what you know is that you are potentially "outing" your brother's friend's dad without knowing the whole situation and this could backfire on you. You could be blamed for the breakup of this man's family and potentially, you risk damaging your relationship with your brother for a long time. But what is the alternative?
If you keep quiet and do not say something, can you feel comfortable concealing a secret that you know is being hidden from this man's family? If you kept quiet, the worst thing you can be accused of is not saying anything opposed to being the person who forces the issue into the public domain and caused embarrassment. Although it is unlikely, this man's partner could know that he is/was gay/bisexual and has come to terms about it for the sake of their family. If this was the case and you told her about your brother and her partner publicly, you could potentially cause more damage than was necessary because you would not have known all of the details. So, if you do decide to tell this woman there are a few things to be aware of:
1) speak to her when she is alone so she has time to think, gather her thoughts and make decisions.
2) Do not have a conversation with her when she has had alcohol as she is likely to not remember and could lash out.
3) Be factual - tell her about what you saw, not what you think.
4) Be prepared for the anger to be aimed at you. Even though it is not your fault, by telling her, you could become the focus of the anger.
5) Do not speak to too many people a out this before or after speaking to her as it will look like you are gossiping.
6) Prepare for the fallout with your brother and this man.
There is a potentially, more sinister situation that you need to be aware of. Although your brother is of legal and can consent to having sex, under the law he is still deemed as being a child and as such, even if he consents, if he and this guy actually have sex, it could be illegal. Because of the age difference and depending upon the basis of their relationship, it could be argued that this man has groomed your brother and if this is the case, he could be charged by the Police of this is found to be the case.
Grooming occurs where an adult contacts a child (anyone under the age of 18 as defined by the government) with the ultimate goal of having sexual contact with them. This does not just mean penetrative sex but any kind of encouragement by the adult for the child to do anything sexual, sexual touching by both or either or by showing them pornographic material. The child is contacted over a period of time and may not even know they are being groomed. Grooming can take the form of giving gifts, including money, cigarettes and/or alcohol and the relationship is kept secret. Grooming is about manipulating the child into thinking they are in some kind of relationship and then pushing them into performing sexual acts.
I am not the Police and I do not know the facts about the basis of your brother's relationship with this guy but if you suspect that the above may apply to their relationship from what you know and have seen, I would suggest that you contact the Police or your local council's Safeguarding Children's Board (social care direct) for advice as this may become a safeguarding issue. You do not need your brother's permission to contact Social Care Direct but it is always recommended that you seek the person's consent as good practice.
You are in a difficult situation and it won't change until the information becomes public and out in the open. However, you are only a witness to something and not directly involved and may not have all of the facts. Put yourself in the situation of each person and how they would feel about it becoming public and then put yourself in your brother's situation. How would you want this handled?
Whatever you decide to do, do it with the right intentions and sensitively.
I hope that helps.