Just, Melvin: Just Evil

Most sexual abuse victims develop a bond and loyalty to their abuser over a period of time. They become a part of the secret. The powerful film Just, Melvin touched on the silence, the denial, and the loyalty embedded in families of incest.

The documentary showcased the story of Melvin Just who sexually abused the filmmaker’s mother, the mother’s two sisters, and her four step-sisters. According to the documentary, the grandfather betrayed, tricked, and brutally raped the girls. By the time they were adults, some of the daughters and step daughters lived in cars or old tiny trailers. Many had attempted suicide more than once. Some were alcoholics, promiscuous or had been involved in prostitution.

As a child, one of the girls brought petroleum jelly and a dog toy that looked like a hot dog to the police. The objects had been used to molest the girls. When questioned by police, the other sisters remained silent. This shows the loyalty to an abuser. The girls would not even tell a helpful authority figure who could have freed them from their molester. It was not until thirty years later that they would all speak the truth. Melvin Just was charged with twelve counts of child molestation. He was found guilty and given thirteen years, only serving eight. His daughters still serve their prison sentences of pain to this day.

Just before the end of the documentary, the grandson filmed the women while visiting their father at his hospital bed where they hugged and kissed their childhood rapist. These women show how much strength the human soul has, but they also display the need for their father to love them.

All of this immediately put me in touch with feelings for my own father. I could see how much pain these women in this film were in and how much their father hurt them, but yet they still loved him. I could see, as I see in my own self, that it was the child in them who went to their father’s hospital room. It was the little girls they once were who hugged their rapist and told him they loved him.

One daughter did stay in the hospital corridor instead of visiting her father. She talked about the hell he put her through. She says she wants hurt herself because of the abuse. My guess is that if someone asked her if she loved him, she too would have said “yes.”

Melvin Just eventually died. Some of the daughters spoke about their father at the grave site. One woman talked freely about how terrible he was as a father, but in the same breath, she said, “But he was cool when he built beach buggies and let us have our fun.” She added, “But I never wanted to sit on his lap.”

Another daughter proclaimed that he was “an awesome man.” They even continued to speak of the molestation as they shoveled dirt on his grave, and just like a little girl, one daughter drew a purple heart on his gravestone, symbolically sealing the bond that abusers retain with their unhealed victims.

Just, Melvin: Just Evil HBO America Undercover Written, directed, and produced by James Ronald Whitney 2001

This entry was posted in child molestation, child sexual abuse, Denial, rape and abuse, repressed memory. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Just, Melvin: Just Evil

  1. Jessica says:

    Never can I fathom such devastation and trauma, and how these people were feeling and how they feel now, but I agree with Lyn’s comment, and even though it is extremely difficult to trust in Jesus when we’re in pain, when we’re suffering, I pray that they’ll find healing and solace in Him. I hope that they give their hearts to The Lord, as there is no other way of truly surviving. I know that it’s easier said than done, but we have to hand all of this up to Him and pray that He’ll give us the strength to trust Him, because we can’t do this by ourselves. I’m not trying to bible-bash anyone here, I’m just trying to tell it like it is and somehow, through Jesus, give some hope. God bless you all.

    • Alethea says:

      Jessica, trust and gratitude are keys to life, and are essential to our relationship with The Divine. Trust that we are going through what we need to for our soul’s growth, and gratitude for everything….even for our suffering.

      When healing was extremely hard on me physically, I offered my pain and suffering up to Jesus, or The Holy Virgin Mary…I offered it to them and it always gave me some kind of relief to do so.

  2. dylanfreak76 says:

    Just saw this film on YouTube, and it haunts me. I can’t believe the filmmaker was molested by the very uncle he was interviewing. Also, I had the volume turned down very low, but I think the woman sitting on the car that showed her breasts on camera also molested him, or vice versa. She mentioned some of the girls “experimenting” too, though the film didnt delve much into that part of the story. I was surprised by this incestuous experimentation being blown off in the film, as much as the filmmaker having the ability to be anywhere near his abusers- also showcasing your points regarding the daughters forgiving their father enough to go near him.

    This film caused my mind and stomach sickness, and I couldn’t finish it all in one sitting. I probably shouldn’t even finish watching the rest. I don’t believe victims are acting in a healthy way when they embrace their attacker in any way.. But I have had 7 children, 4 daughters and 3 sons. I’m horrified to think of an adult sexually assaulting a child so young. What a sickening nightmare.

    • Alethea says:

      Dylan, it is not unusual at all for a woman to sexually abuse her child becasue she too was sexually abused.

      It is not healthy for them to have embraced their attacker, but it is natural and very common. More often than not, the perpetrator is loved, embraced, accepted, forgiven falsely in an attempt to make “peace” with the family. Most children love and hate their abusers.

      Can you send the link to the film? I have not watched it in years.

      • hintonblogs says:

        Alethea, you can view the documentary here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY4eHaiVK9s – it seems that Youtube is the only place it can be seen now. Though I’ve heard HBO will send out copies for educational purchases.

        I was incredibly moved by the film and the frankness with which they talked about their abuse. The sad feeling I got from them talking is that it felt like stories they’d told a hundred times before.

        I’ve tried to find out more information on the family but it seems that after the initial airing there’s no news at all. The Director has a website that is incredibly outdated (It’ll give flashbacks to anyone who remembers the Internet pre-millennium) and Google turns up very little. I think part of me just wants to know that they’re doing alright, but I think I already know the answer to that.

        • Alethea says:

          “I think part of me just wants to know that they’re doing alright, but I think I already know the answer to that.”

          Sadly, so do I.

          Thanks so very much for the link and for caring about abuse survivors.


  3. Jason McCann says:

    At no point did I think these people represented the strength of the human spirit.

    • Alethea says:

      I did not say they “represented” the strength of the human spirit. I said it shows how much strength the women had *in that moment* of being in the presence of their father.

      • Jason McCann says:

        Sorry for delay! The moment with their father, to me, showed how profoundly weakwillied these people are and pretty much represent how weak and pitiful the human spirit can become. I’m sorry but that many years and that many all keeping quiet, there is nothing good represented by it. Nothing. No strength either. Sorry just my thoughts.

        • Alethea says:

          Well Jason, what do you think child sexual abuse –especially incest– does to the soul of that child? It weakens them beyond anything you can imagine.

          I was once weak. My soul was hammered into the ground by incest, death threats, physical abuse, and terror. My spirit was deflated by the lack of love and my mind was warped into thinking sexual abuse was love.

          I am strong now –stronger than I ever thought I could be, but it took me over a decade of therapy to have gained that strength.

    • Lyn says:

      if u survive this type of abuse….from toddler age?…..your spirit is alive…..badly damaged…but alive…..in whatever form you have been forced to make ur reality….

Comments are closed.