DEAR ABBY: My child was sexually abused by a relative many years ago. After discovering it, I reported it, which greatly distressed the abuser’s family. There were charges filed, court dates, probation, and therapy. To date, all of the judge’s requirements for the offender have been legally met. While I am relieved that the situation has been resolved, I still do not feel safe having him around my child or any of their younger siblings.
The extended family desires reunions similar to those conducted in the past, and they are overjoyed that we can all be together again. Is it unacceptable that I still do not want my child or other children to be around the abuser? Is it wrong that I do not want my child to spend every big holiday and celebration with their abuser?
It bothers me that everyone is celebrating this pedophile’s return and ignoring my child’s feelings as if nothing occurred. Am I in error in feeling this way? What is the most effective approach? — HORRIFYING MOTHER IN COLORADO
DEAR SHELL-SHOCKED: You are correct. You are a mother who is compassionate, alert, and protective. The best course of action would be to avoid attending family events where the abuser will be present. A victim of sexual abuse should never be required to remain in the presence of the perpetrator again.
DEAR ABBY: This may seem like an odd reason to complain, given that most people enjoy receiving flowers. My partner of three years brings a dozen crimson roses to my workplace every two months. It has nothing to do with birthdays or anniversaries. It is “simply because.”
It would be acceptable if they were sent to our residence, but sending them to my place of employment suggests that he wishes to send a message. It feels oppressive in some way. I feel awkward and like a spectacle. I don’t want to offend him when he’s trying to be kind, but I simply want him to stop.
He believes that my late spouse brought me flowers frequently because I had at least 30 vases when we moved. However, the most of them were bouquets I received after his passing. In addition, when my deceased husband gave me flowers, it was typically after he had done something terrible. Therefore, I do have a bad association with flowers. Still, saying something to him about stopping makes me feel as uneasy as picking up the flowers themselves. Please assist. — SUPERABUNDANT IN THE WEST
DEAR OVER-BLOSSOMED: Release your tongue! Your partner cannot read your thoughts. Give him a copy of everything you’ve written to me. He must understand why you feel the way you do about receiving flowers, as well as the fact that sending them to your job is distracting and invasive. If he feels compelled to offer you a public display of his affection, he should give you a box of candy that everyone can enjoy.
DEAR READERS: In the words of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated in 1968 for the cause of civil rights and whose birthday we commemorate today: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, writes Dear Abby, which was started by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or Los Angeles, California 90069, P.O. Box 69440.