DEAR ABBY: My daughter, “Meg,” was sexually abused at the age of 3 by her father 25 years ago. “Emile” and I were divorced, but he had every other weekend visitation. After returning from one visit, she said, “Daddy put his finger in there. It hurt. I cried.”
Her words forever changed my life. After we made countless trips to the children’s hospital and numerous therapists, a judge allowed supervised visitation. It happened again, but Emile told the judge he was “putting medicine on her.” He remarried shortly after and lost interest in Meg and her brother, “Ian,” which was a blessing to me, but he’d visit with them occasionally.
Emile spent years belittling me and telling lies to the kids about me, but I stayed busy with two jobs and raised them by myself. Meg has no relationship with her father, but her brother does.
Ian is now expecting a child and knows nothing about the abuse his sister suffered. I have tried raising the subject with Meg, but she won’t discuss it. I’m afraid if I tell Ian, it will cause a breach in our relationship and I’m not sure he would believe me. But how do I NOT tell him? Please advise me. — WORRIED SICK IN LOUISIANA
DEAR WORRIED SICK: Sit your son and his spouse down and tell them EVERYTHING. They need to know what Grandpa-to-be is capable of. Because it has been kept a secret for so long, it’s sure to be a shock, so don’t be surprised if they react with disbelief.
If they want proof, show them any court records or other documents you may have. Whatever happens after that, your conscience should be clear, because you will have done your duty as a mother, and they will have been given fair warning.
DEAR ABBY: Six months ago I ran across an ad from a woman in prison who was looking for a pen pal. Having served time in the past, I know how it feels to be locked up and wanting contact with the outside world, be it friends, family, etc.
I wrote her and she wrote back, and we exchanged pictures. I am twice her age. I tried to get permission to visit her but was denied because I had served prior jail time. Our communication has been emails, letters and phone calls. I buy her things, and she is appreciative of everything I have done for her.
She says she wants to be with me when she gets out, which is not far off, and I’d love for it to happen, but I don’t know how my daughters will react because she’s their age. Right now it’s friendship, but I know it could quickly evolve into love. I have prayed about it. All the signs keep saying we are good for each other. Abby, what to do? — A GENERATION OLDER
DEAR G.O.: If you can, find out from the warden what the woman is incarcerated for. (Could it have been for conning people? Armed robbery?) Close your wallet and see how your “pen” pal reacts, because you may not be her only benefactor.
After she has been released, there’s no guarantee your relationship will evolve into love. In fact, she could have a change of heart about committing to someone who’s old enough to be her father. Please stop and look both ways before proceeding further.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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