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HomeWorld NewsNobel laureate Alice Munro’s daughter says stepdad abused her and mom knew

Nobel laureate Alice Munro’s daughter says stepdad abused her and mom knew


Canadian writer Alice Munro’s daughter said that her stepfather sexually abused her as a child and that her mother was told but stayed with him, in a damning account published after the Nobel laureate’s death. File
| Photo Credit: AP

Canadian writer Alice Munro‘s daughter said July 7 that her stepfather sexually abused her as a child and that her mother was told but stayed with him, in a damning account published after the Nobel laureate’s death.

Andrea Robin Skinner wrote in the Toronto Star that she was nine when, in 1976, “one night, while she (Munro) was away, her husband, my stepfather, Gerald Fremlin, climbed into the bed where I was sleeping and sexually assaulted me.”

She wrote that when she was alone with Fremlin — who died in 2013 — he “exposed himself during car rides, told me about the little girls in the neighborhood he liked, and described my mother’s sexual needs.”

Ms. Skinner said that, when she was 25, she shared everything that had happened with Munro — but the acclaimed author decided to stay with Fremlin, whom she wed in the 1970s after her first marriage ended.

“She reacted exactly as I had feared she would, as if she had learned of an infidelity,” Ms. Skinner wrote of Munro.

“We all went back to acting as if nothing had happened. It was what we did,” she added.

At 38, Ms. Skinner said she took her allegations to the police after Munro complimented her husband in a New York Times interview. Fremlin pleaded guilty in 2005 to indecent assault.

“What I wanted was some record of the truth, some public proof that I hadn’t deserved what had happened to me,” Ms. Skinner wrote.

“I also wanted this story, my story, to become part of the stories people tell about my mother,” she added.

Munro, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013, died at 92 in May. Her death prompted glowing tributes, including from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Victoria-based Munro’s Books, founded by the author, said in a statement it “unequivocally supports” Ms. Skinner in sharing her story of sexual abuse as a child.

“Along with so many readers and writers, we will need time to absorb this news and the impact it may have on the legacy of Alice Munro, whose work and ties to the store we have previously celebrated,” it wrote, adding the shop had been independently owned since 2014.

A separate statement from the Munro family, also published on the Munro’s Books website, praised the shop’s owners for being “part of our family’s healing.”

“We wholly support the owners and staff of Munro’s Books as they chart a new future, and respectfully request that they not be asked or expected to answer questions about the Munro family,” it added.



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