Weeks after Alice Munro's death, daughter tells of dark family secret
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, July 25, 2024


Weeks after Alice Munro's death, daughter tells of dark family secret
The author and Nobel laureate Alice Munro in the kitchen of her home in Clinton, Ontario, Canada, on June 23, 2013. Weeks after Munro’s death, her daughter Andrea Robin Skinner said her stepfather sexually abused her as a child — and that her mother knew about it, and chose to stay with him anyway. (Ian Willms/The New York Times)

by Elizabeth A. Harris



NEW YORK, NY.- Andrea Robin Skinner, a daughter of Canadian Nobel laureate Alice Munro’s, said that her stepfather sexually abused her as a child — and that her mother knew about it, and chose to stay with him anyway.

Skinner, now an adult, detailed these accusations in an essay in the Toronto Star on Sunday. According to a separate article in the Toronto Star, Skinner went to Ontario police, and in 2005, her stepfather, Gerald Fremlin, was charged with indecent assault against her. He pleaded guilty.

By then, he was 80 years old. He got a suspended sentence and probation for two years. Munro stayed with him until he died in 2013.

Because of her mother’s fame, Skinner wrote, “the silence continued.” Munro died May 13 at 92.

“What I wanted was some record of the truth, some public proof that I hadn’t deserved what had happened to me,” Skinner wrote of going to police in 2005, about 30 years after the abuse began.

“I also wanted this story, my story, to become part of the stories people tell about my mother,” Skinner continued. “I never wanted to see another interview, biography or event that didn’t wrestle with the reality of what had happened to me, and with the fact that my mother, confronted with the truth of what had happened, chose to stay with, and protect, my abuser.”

Attempts to reach Skinner on Sunday were unsuccessful.

Skinner wrote that the abuse began in 1976, when she was 9 years old and went to visit Fremlin, then in his 50s, and her mother, who was in her 40s. She said he climbed into the bed where she was sleeping and sexually assaulted her. Skinner said she told her stepmother, who then told Skinner’s father. Her father did not confront Munro.

During the next several years, Skinner wrote, Fremlin exposed himself to her in car rides, described her mother’s sexual needs and “told me about the little girls in the neighborhood he liked.” According to the article in the Toronto Star, he lost interest in Skinner when she became a teenager.

Over time, Munro’s reputation as an author grew. When she died, she was widely considered to be one of the greatest short-story writers of all time. Her work often focused on women in different stages of life, mixing “ordinary people and extraordinary themes,” according to her New York Times obituary. She was awarded the Nobel in 2013 when she was 82.

When Skinner was in her 20s, Munro expressed sympathy for a character in a short story who dies by suicide after being sexually abused by her stepfather. It was after this, Skinner wrote, that she decided to tell her mother about the abuse she suffered.

In a letter, she told her mother what Fremlin had done to her. Rather than responding with sympathy, Skinner said, Munro “reacted exactly as I had feared she would, as if she had learned of an infidelity.”

Munro left Fremlin, going to stay at a condo she owned in British Columbia. Fremlin wrote letters to the family, Skinner said, in which he admitted to the abuse but blamed it on her.

When she went to police in 2005, she took these letters.

“He described my 9-year-old self as a ‘homewrecker,’” Skinner wrote. According to Skinner’s essay and the article in the Toronto Star, Fremlin accused her of invading his bedroom “for sexual adventure" in one of the letters he wrote to the family.

“If the worst comes to worst I intend to go public,” Fremlin wrote, according to Skinner’s essay. “I will make available for publication a number of photographs, notably some taken at my cabin near Ottawa which are extremely eloquent ... one of Andrea in my underwear shorts.”

Despite all this, Skinner wrote, Munro went back to Fremlin and remained with him for the rest of his life.

“She said that she had been ‘told too late,’” Skinner wrote, that “she loved him too much, and that our misogynistic culture was to blame if I expected her to deny her own needs, sacrifice for her children and make up for the failings of men. She was adamant that whatever had happened was between me and my stepfather. It had nothing to do with her.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.










Today's News

July 9, 2024

A lost masterpiece of opera returns, kind of

Exhibition at The Met to illuminate printmaking in Mexico

Bohlin 'Mickey Mouse' silver saddle is top seller at Morphy and Lebel's Old West Show & Auction

Strawser Auction Group announces online-only auctions dedicated to the lady head vases collection of Maddy Gordon

Gagosian announces expansive presentation of works by Oscar Murillo at London's Burlington Arcade

Marian Goodman Gallery to open 'Interconnected Landscapes' in Los Angeles

Christie's announces sale of Impressionist & Modern, Post-War & Contemporary Art

Weeks after Alice Munro's death, daughter tells of dark family secret

An overdue exhibition of an overlooked painter

All the adventure, a fraction of the cost: The DIY Orient Express

Monumental sculptures by Rose B. Simpson to be exhibited in the Ames Family Atrium

'Face the Music: The Legacy of Music Photography' to open at The Fahey/Klein Gallery

Jack Hanley Gallery announces a group exhibition of works by eight New York-based artists

BMA launches artist residency program with philanthropists Betsy and Michael Sherman

The Queens Museum presents "an utterly idiosyncratic Black aesthetic"

Okayama-based artist Hiroka Yamashita joins BLUM

Singing about body image is a pop taboo. These stars are breaking it.

Meet David Ellison, Paramount's future boss and Hollywood's newest mogul

AAM announces upcoming exhibition, 'Blanche Lazell: Becoming an American Modernist'

Knoxville Museum of Art's Collectors Circle acquires several works by noted artists

Dominique Knowles to open solo exhibition at Kiang Malingue

What to see on London stages this summer

How a Boston physician conquered the thriller genre

Going Offshore: Strategies for U.S. Citizens to Optimize Business

Han Jiang: Practicing Environmental Protection Concepts Through Innovative Design

Top 10 Video Game Fallout Cosplay Costumes in 2024

Free Face Swap Video Tool




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Attorneys
Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful