Daughter of writer Alice Munro says she was a victim of sexual abuse in her childhood and that her mother kept quiet

The accusations of one of the daughters of Alice Munrowhich denounced the silence of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2013 Canadian against the sexual abuse she suffered as a child, have shaken Canada’s cultural world as allegations that many influential people in the country chose to ignore the scandal.

In an article published Sunday in The Toronto Star newspaper, Andrea Robin Skinnerone of Alice Munro’s daughters, recounted how her mother’s second husband, the geographer Gerald Fremlin, began sexually abusing her when she was nine years old.

Skinner also said that when she informed her father, Jim Munro, and her mother of the abuse, they both ignored her and that the writer only reacted as if Fremlin had committed adultery, living with him until her husband died in 2013.

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Alice Munro’s daughter has alleged that many “influential people” in the country knew about the story of abuse and “continued to help, and add to, a narrative they knew was false” about the writer and her personal life.


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

“Unfortunately, that is not what happened. My mother’s fame meant that silence was maintained,” she added in the statement, which was published almost two months after Alice Munro’s death.

Speaking to The Globe and Mail newspaper, Robert Thacker, author of one of the best-known biographies of the writer, ‘Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives’, admitted that he is one of those who ignored the sexual abuse.

Thacker said Skinner told her about the sexual abuse allegations and her mother’s silence in 2005 but she decided not to include them in her book.

Although Fremlin was sentenced to two years’ probation in 2005 for his abuse, Thacker called the sexual abuse a family “disagreement” and argued that including it in the biography would not improve anything.

Even Deborah Dundas, the Toronto Star journalist who decided to give Skinner a voice and break the silence surrounding the sexual abuse she suffered and Alice Munro’s complicity, acknowledged in an interview on Monday that she resisted publishing the story for fear of the repercussions that would result from debunking one of Canada’s cultural myths.

Globe and Mail columnist Marsha Lederman called the allegations “cataclysmic” and argued that Munro’s legacy “must be reconsidered” in light of the revelations by the writer’s daughter.

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American writers such as Joyce Maynard and Joyce Carol Oates, for their part, expressed their admiration for Munro while noting that they did not doubt Skinner’s words.

Munro’s Books, the bookstore founded by Jim and Alice Munro in 1963 and which has not had ties to the family since 2014, issued a statement supporting Skinner while asking for “time” to absorb the news and “the impact it may have on the legacy” of the writer.

Meanwhile, another of Canada’s great writers, Margaret Atwood, who describes herself as her second oldest friend, has remained silent.


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