Alice Munro's daughter accuses stepfather of sexual abuse. Mother 'chose to stay with him'

Books Andrea Skinner detailed the abuse she suffered during her childhood. The case was hushed up by the Nobel Prize winner.

The writer died at the age of 93.

“My stepfather sexually abused me when I was a child. My mother, Alice Munro, chose to stay with him.” The title of an article published by Andrea Skinner in the “Toronto Star” newspaper tells almost the whole truth about the Canadian writer’s daughter, after several years of silence.

Munro’s first marriage, to Jim Muro, Skinner’s father, ended in 1972. They had three more daughters—Sheila, Jenny, and Catherine, of whom Andrea was the youngest. Later, in 1976, he married Fremlin, with whom he lived in Clinton, Ontario, Canada. Fremlin lived with her father during the school year and spent the summers with her mother and stepfather.

In the text published this Sunday, July 7, the daughter of the Nobel Prize winner, who passed away on May 13, revealed that she was attacked by Gerald Fremlin when she was just 9 years old. According to the report, the author knew what was going on, but kept the secret for almost 50 years.

The abuse began in 1976, when her stepfather slept with Andrea in bed one night when Alice was not home. After that episode, Fremlin, who died in 2013, “exposed his genitals during car rides, talked about the girls in the neighborhood he liked,” and described the writer’s sexual needs in detail.

According to the report, the young woman was 25 years old when she told her mother everything that had happened. “She reacted exactly as I feared she would, as if she had found out about an infidelity,” she wrote. “We all went back to acting as if nothing had happened. That’s what we did.”

Skinner said she told her half-brother Andrew about the sexual advances and inappropriate comments in an “attempt to make a joke about it.” “He didn’t laugh,” she added. “He said I should tell his mother right away. I did, and she told my father.” However, Skinner never told Munro and never spoke to his daughter directly. He also asked Skinner’s two older sisters not to talk to the writer either.

Over the years, Skinner suffered from debilitating migraines, which began the morning after the first sexual assault, as well as bulimia. Before confessing everything to his mother, he told her about his mental health problems while at the University of Toronto. The writer told him simply that he was “wasting his life.”

In 2005, Andrea reported the incident to the police using threatening letters from Fremlin. At the time, the man, then 80, pleaded guilty to “indecent assault” without trial, but was eventually sentenced to two years’ probation.

“I wanted some record of the truth, some public proof that I did not deserve what had happened to me,” the text reads. “And I also wanted this story, my story, to be part of the stories that are told about my mother.”

Munro’s Books, founded by the author, has already spoken out on the matter. “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 celebrated in the past,” they announced.