By Julie (Hoffman) Tuzzoli
Watching my two brothers’ deal with the unspeakable violations against them and seeing their success in life, love, family and faith has been an inspiration to me. As the only daughter, I was not the center of attention where daughters sometimes find themselves, particularly in a household that valued the Catholic parish priest. It angered me that this man could come into my house and demand all of the attention from my parents and take my brothers emotionally away from what should have been a happy childhood. It took me many years into adulthood to realize the wedge this holy and revered man drove between me, my brothers, my parents, and my faith. How ironic it is that by being the odd girl out, I came away with very different scars than my brothers: scars of inferiority and rejection instead of scars of sexual abuse. I’ll take my scars over theirs any day. I have recently realized how our entire family was affected by the actions of the abuser. The victims in sexual abuse cases are many, and the effects far reaching.
As their sister, I wonder what could I have done? How I could have been there, especially for my younger brother who seemed so lost at the time? I have regrets about not being the person that my brother might have confided in. As a teenage girl, thoughts of fleeing the family were all I could really wrap my head around. I didn’t know then what I know now. What I can do today is be there for my brothers whenever they need me. Though we live too many miles apart, we do the best we can to stay in touch and to visit. I am amazed by and grateful for our spouses and the families we have raised. The three of us are blessed with patient, understanding and devoted partners. Personally, the healing began the first day I met mine.
Julie (Hoffman) Tuozzoli lives in Trumbull, CT with her husband and 3 adult children.