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Alice Munro

Alice Munro's daughter alleges she was abused by stepfather and her mom stayed with him

Alice Munro's daughter is alleging she was sexually abused by her stepfather and that the Nobel Prize-winning author stood by him.

In an essay published Sunday in , Andrea Robin Skinner, Munro's daughter from her first marriage to James Munro, said she was sexually assaulted by Gerald Fremlin, her stepfather and Munro's second husband, in 1976. She was 9 years old at the time.

In 2005, Fremlin received two years' probation after pleading guilty in Canadian court to assaulting Skinner.

The assault occurred when Skinner went to visit Munro for the summer at her home in Ontario. Fremlin also "made lewd jokes, exposed himself during car rides, told me about the little girls in the neighbourhood he liked, and described my mother's sexual needs," she wrote. Once, in front of Munro, he "told me that many cultures in the past weren't as 'prudish' as ours, and it used to be considered normal for children to learn about sex by engaging in sex with adults," Skinner alleged.

Alice Munro's daughter has alleged she was sexually abused by her stepfather and that the writer stood by him.

Years later, when she was 25, Skinner says she wrote a letter to her mother telling her about the sexual abuse, but Munro was "incredulous." According to the essay, Fremlin told Munro that he "would kill me if I ever went to the police." Despite what Skinner had told her, the short story writer remained married to Fremlin until his death in 2013.

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"She said that she had been 'told too late,' 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," Skinner wrote. "She was adamant that whatever had happened was between me and my stepfather. It had nothing to do with her."

Skinner also said Fremlin's former friends told her mother that he exposed himself to their 14-year-old daughter.

Skinner ended contact with her mother after telling her that Fremlin could never be around her own kids, and the two never reconciled their relationship.

Though she wrote that she was "satisfied" with Fremlin pleading guilty to indecent assault, Skinner also wanted her story to be told and for future interviews and biographies of Munro to wrestle with "the fact that my mother, confronted with the truth of what had happened, chose to stay with, and protect, my abuser."

But Skinner said this did not happen, and due to her mother's fame, "the silence continued."

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The essay comes after Munro, who in 2013 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, died in May at age 92 after suffering from dementia for over a decade.

"I want so much for my personal story to focus on patterns of silencing, the tendency to do that in families and societies," Skinner . "I just really hope that this story isn't about celebrities behaving badly … I hope that … even if someone goes to this story for the entertainment value, they come away with something that applies to their own family."

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline offers free, confidential, 24/7 support to survivors and their loved ones in English and Spanish at: 800.656.HOPE (4673) and  and en Español .

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