Amanda was sexually abused by her father, she says from the time she was 10 until she was 25. A court convicted her father, Earl Nix, of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree sexual conduct and he is now serving up to 36 years in prison.
However, Amanda’s immediate family still say they think she is lying – and Amanda’s mother, DeeDee, says the accusations against Earl have torn their family apart.
“I’m broken. The kids are all broken and it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. It doesn’t. Every single one of my children are broken,” DeeDee says of Amanda, and her two siblings.
DeeDee, who says she still believes her husband is innocent, says she has unanswered questions which make her question Amanda’s claims against her father.
“If this happened to you, why would you… allow my granddaughter to be alone with him?” DeeDee asks Amanda and her husband, Gabe, on Wednesday’s Dr. Phil. “Those are the kinds of questions that I have that make me not believe you.”
In response, Amanda explains, “The times that my daughter was with my parents, it was my understanding every single time… she’d be with my mom, as well as my dad. And I knew every time my mom left, my daughter went with her.”
Amanda’s family also questions why, if what she says is true, Amanda would ask her father – who adopted Amanda when she was 5 – to walk her down the aisle at her wedding.
“How could I tell my dad that he can’t walk me down the aisle? I love my dad. I wanted him to walk me down the aisle,” Amanda says. “At that point, I could do it. I could put on my face and I could be the normal daughter by day and the woman he wanted me to be at night or whenever we were alone. It was expected. What was I going to do?... I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to get him in trouble, I didn’t want to come forward. I just thought it was going to be over.”
Amanda, who was eight months pregnant when she got married to Gabe, tells Dr. Phil that she thought the abuse had finally stopped by the time of her wedding.
“I was pregnant. He was acting like a normal dad. He hadn’t touched me. He hadn’t even been around me. He was normal. He didn’t make any moves, he didn’t do anything and I thought it was really over. I thought I have my normal dad back, and we can move forward, and we can move on and we can be a normal family.”
“It was the beginning of the rest of my life,” she continues. “I desperately needed that normalcy.”
But, she explains that the abuse continued after her wedding and even after the birth of her daughter
. So why did Amanda – who had previously come forward when she was 18 but later recanted – come forward at age 25 to reveal her secret?
“I needed to protect my daughter. If I wasn’t his real daughter – that’s what he always told me, ‘You’re not my real daughter, so it’s different’ – than she’s not his real granddaughter, and how long did she have? How long before I have to look at my daughter and wonder why I put her there? Why did I put her in that position when I knew it was going to happen? I can’t do that to her. I needed to get her out. I needed to get me out so I could be a better mom,” she says.
Dr. Phil points out that much of Amanda’s thought process, in allowing her parents to watch her daughter and having her father walk her down the aisle, can be common in certain victims of abuse.
“Experts that specialize in this type of trauma would argue that that type of behavior would be consistent with being fully controlled by the individual and trying to please the authority figure and the power figure,” he explains.