Although the State of California called David pelzer's child abuse "the third worst case ever in California history" three of his brothers deny there was any abuse at all. I thought this article was interesting. It shows the degree family members will go to in order to discredit an abused family member or maybe they really didn't pay any attention to what was going on, since it wasn't happening to them. Thought I'd post it since it ties in with my other thread about how family members tend to jump and rave against somebody who brings up family dysfunction, many claiming the abused is a liar and/or it never happened. Here is the article, if anyone is interested. I am assuming here that most people have read "A Child Called It', the national bestseller by David Pelzer. Memories of a family at war March 29, 2005 Richard Pelzer doesn't deny he helped his mother abuse his elder brother. In fact, he used to watch with glee. Helena de Bertodano reports. When Roerva Pelzer died, only six people attended her funeral. Her five sons and their grandmother, her mother, stood in a row and watched the coffin pass. Not a single tear was shed. "It was very odd, the lack of emotion," says her son Richard. "But there was just silence, and a feeling that this was finally over." For Roerva Pelzer, say two of her children, was responsible for some of the worst child abuse on record in California. Her second son, Dave, wrote about what he claimed he suffered at her hands in A Child Called 'It', an international bestseller five years ago, spawning a Dave Pelzer mini-industry in sequels and self-help books. In A Child Called 'It', Dave describes how his brothers collaborated in his abuse and how his mother encouraged them to view him as the "family slave". One brother in particular stood out. "Even though [Richard] was only four or five years old at the time, he had become Mother's Little Nazi, watching my every move, making sure I didn't steal any food. Sometimes he would make up tales for Mother so he could watch me receive punishment." Far from denying Dave's version of events, as the three other brothers have done, Richard - the fourth brother - wholeheartedly corroborates it. In his memoir A Brother's Journey he graphically describes how he and his mother treated Dave, who was starved, beaten and isolated from the family. But Richard also reveals that once his elder brother was rescued by police, at the age of 12, he, Richard, took his place as his mother's "punching bag". Whereas Dave occasionally excuses the worst of his mother's excesses as accidents, Richard refuses to let her off so easily. For example, in one scene, recounted by both brothers, Roerva stabs Dave in the upper chest. While Dave has always maintained that this was not intentional, Richard believes she intended to kill him. "I started to realise that she had been preparing herself to kill Dave for years," he writes. But what is more astonishing is his frankness about his reaction as he watches his brother being stabbed. "I could taste the adrenaline that now flowed throughout my body," he writes. "I ran for my life. She now had the power to kill. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I was more fearful that she might kill me than of the possibility of my brother bleeding to death." When he does worry about his brother, it is from a selfish standpoint: "I needed him to live so I wouldn't be the one lying on the cold, damp cement wondering if I was going to live through the night." Richard, now 39 and married with two children, agrees with Dave's description of him as his mother's collaborator. "Mum made me into this obedient child that she could totally manipulate," he says. "I was very much turned against Dave, and I would lie about him and make stuff up just to get him in trouble." He even admits that although he was partly motivated by fear he also used to enjoy watching the degradation of his older brother. "To prove that he hadn't eaten anything during the day she forced Dave to throw up on the kitchen floor," Richard writes. "Many times he was forced to reconsume the mess he had just thrown up. It was awesome to watch. I was excited to stand there and enjoy the show until I started to think about Mom doing that same thing to me. I had a vague feeling I would eventually take his place some day." All the brothers were encouraged to alienate whichever one their mother targeted - after Dave left and Richard became the victim, it was his older brother with Bell's palsy who collaborated with his mother. As an adult, Richard feels nothing but remorse for his actions. He says he has discussed what went on only once with Dave: "I've said to him, 'This book is a purging of my soul because of the way I treated you.' Dave said, 'Oh, I forgive you because I know it wasn't you; I know it was Mom.' "But later on he'll say the opposite, so I really don't know what he feels. It's hard to say I don't know my famous brother but I don't." He has seen Dave only twice since his brother left the family - once, a year later when Richard was 9, and again at his mother's funeral in 1992. The Pelzer family lived in Daly City, a middle-class suburb of San Francisco. Their father, Stephen, was a fireman, and in the early years the sons remember an almost idyllic childhood. "My mother was very much a socialite," says Richard. "She met Steve Pelzer and they fell madly in love but what changed it was when she suddenly realised, 'It's no longer parties, now it's diapers and baby bottles'." She had five boys in fairly quick succession throughout the 1960s, driving her to drink. Eventually she was drinking about 30 litres of vodka a week. "When she was on that plateau [of intoxication], it was just the normal routine of getting a slap, getting a kick, not eating, little beatings. When she didn't drink or ran out is when she was just a maniac; it was as if she was possessed." The boys' father was not around often and when he was, he did not do much to intervene. At 12, Dave was finally taken into foster care after his teachers reported the apparent abuse. No charges were ever brought against Roerva, and it remains something of a mystery why only one boy was removed from the family. As Richard says: "It was 30 years ago and the laws were so limited. [If it had happened today,] I'm totally confident that the state would have come in and taken all five of us." By then, with Dave gone and her husband moved out, Roerva's eyes alighted on Richard. At first the abuse was physical. Then she started to branch out, excluding him from family outings, and making him drink hot Tabasco from a serving spoon. Once some of it spilt on the floor and, as he recounts in his book, she became enraged. "Lick it up. Like a dog," she yelled. Once she beat him so severely that he had to be hospitalised. But she made him promise not to tell anyone that she was responsible. "I felt a duty to protect the ongoing secret," writes Richard. What does Dave feel about his younger brother's writing career? "When I first told Dave I was submitting a manuscript to be published, he thought it was a great idea, thinking it would never get anywhere. When it became a reality, he changed. Dave has told me that he feels I shouldn't be an author, that I haven't earned it. He thinks, like him, I should go through years trying to find a publisher." His other brothers, with whom Richard has very limited contact, and grandmother feel Richard, like Dave, has exaggerated their mother's behaviour. Their grandmother once said of Dave's writing: "His books should be in the fiction section." Nevertheless, no one denies that Roerva was a drunk and that the house was severely dysfunctional. Richard says he's unperturbed by his family's lack of support, saying that writing the book has been great therapy and may even help others. "This book has done so much for me. If it helps one kid, great. I can live with people being mad with me." When Richard was in his 20s he wrote his mother a long letter. "In Christmas 1991, I decided I'm going to bury the hatchet and I'm just gonna tell Mom, 'I love you as a mother but I never want to see you, I can't stand you, I don't want you to be a part of my life or my children's lives. But I forgive you. Just simply go away.' It took days to write and I decided to mail it after the holidays. But she died on 2 January. I had it cremated with her." Asked if he thinks his mother loved him, Richard doesn't hesitate: "I don't think she loved me or any of the boys or her husband or herself. "I don't think she was capable of love and she should never have had children." The Telegraph, London A Brother's Journey is published by Penguin.