Speak up, or shut up?


I saw my brother with another woman at a hotel I was at the other day. He and the woman were checking out when my husband and I were checking in, and they didn't see me. I was too shocked also to say anything — worse, it's a woman the family knows well. My sister-in-law is pregnant and is the nicest woman. She doesn't deserve this betrayal but right now I don't know if I should choose blood and keep my mouth shut. My husband says I should confront my brother, and also tell his wife as she deserves to know that my brother is playing her. He said it's worse that she's pregnant, as who knows if my brother is even being safe, and could risk harming her and the baby. I'm very conflicted and really don't know whether I should speak up or shut up. Before you say it may have been innocent — it wasn't. What do you say?

It certainly is amazing how "fate" can work to help reveal the truth and protect us from lies. This is a lesson for many: Misdeeds can be exposed quite easily. Was it just a mere coincidence that you happened to be checking in to that particular hotel at the exact moment your brother and the woman were checking out? For me, that's not just a coincidence. And this should indicate to you what your role must be in this situation. I'd say you witnessed their checking out for the purpose of intervention. It was prudent of you not to alert him to your witnessing him being there.

It is sad that some siblings might prefer to protect their brother as opposed to revealing his misdeed. Yes, "blood is thicker than water", but we are all "one blood" and what you sow you shall reap — do what is right, and right will be done for you.

Here's my advice:

Speak to your brother: Ask your brother where he was at the time. See if he will confess, or has some sort of explanation. See if it might be remotely plausible or possible. Ask him in the hearing of your husband, so that later you have another source to bear witness to how he answered. If your brother confesses, then the work ahead of you toward protecting your sister-in-law will be easier. However, if what he says is clearly a lie, then the work will be a challenge. Reassure him that you love him and only want the best for him and his family. Let him know what you saw and that you are disappointed in him. And if he doesn't confess to the situation you could let him know that you are giving him two weeks to tell his wife what's going on, after which you will let her know that you saw him and the lady checking out. Suggest that he tell his wife the truth, with a counsellor present.

Speak to your husband: Tell him that you intend to go to your brother and that you'll need his support. It would also be better if your husband is present when you confront your brother. The intention is not to try to punish your brother for what he's doing, but to help him to be honest and, as you said, to protect his wife and their child.

Restrain yourself: Do not mention this to other siblings or others until you have spoken to your brother. Proper protocol for these situations is to speak with the offending party first, to hear their explanation — whether they lie about it or not.

Speak to the woman: Since she's well known to your family, speak to the woman, but only after speaking to your brother first. Give him a chance to sever this situation.

I pray that your brother will confess and get the help needed.

Get on The Counsellor's Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com.

Christopher BRODBER

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