My boyfriend and I had sex without protection. What do I do?
Deal with reality. Panic only delays what you need to know.
Take a pregnancy test, soon.
Also, get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), in case one or both of you has been careless about sex previously.
A positive test on either possibility means getting to a doctor or clinic, fast.
Hopefully, your boyfriend’s mature enough to take responsibility along with you. Both of you can then discuss together any decisions required, medically and emotionally.
However, if you or he are under-age and/or dependent on parents, ask for their help to understand the options and make choices you can handle.
If that’s impossible, ask a trusted adult, school counselor, or youth agency social worker (e.g. local YWCA youth program) for guidance.
What can be done about a verbally vicious grandmother who continues to cause serious, almost daily, harm to a family’s parents and teenagers?
We are a few of the family’s closest friends who are very fearful about what’s already happened and will surely happen worse if something doesn’t change.
She’s the only living grandparent, lives nearby, and sees the family several times weekly.
We’re afraid someone in the family is going to end up in jail or be killed.
She’s no longer invited to our houses with the family members because of the inevitable cruelty she inflicts.
When family therapy was tried, she presented as charming, caring, and kind in the meetings. No one said anything about her behavior.
When I asked her daughter whether the professionals knew about the nastiness, the answer was “No.”
Privately and publicly, the grandmother undermines, puts down, and mocks or pities her adult daughter (a very intelligent, accomplished, professional), the gentle husband, and all the teenagers (whose behaviors are now often extreme and bizarre).
She is rapidly getting worse. When the children were younger, she struck them even though her friends and family told her it was wrong.
A couple of the teenagers have attempted suicide and all of them are constantly seething with rage.
Would it help if she were confronted by a small group of us? It’d require very strong statements from us. I think it would work and might make things worse.
She usually reads your columns and just maybe she’d take a message from you!
I have no way of verifying what’s described in this question, so, if the grandmother in question recognizes herself, I dearly hope she reflects on the alleged damage that people believe she’s causing.
Nastiness is negative attention getting - making oneself noticed as someone with power. But it’s as destructive to the agitator as to the people targeted.
People such as these friends avoid you. If anything terrible occurs, e.g. teenagers’ self-harm, you, as the bullying adult, will be blamed.
Meanwhile, you’ll be increasingly aware that there’s no bond with anyone who’ll respond when you need help, or are failing.
The adult children in this case, have become, tragically, complicit in the abuse. By not declaring such a person toxic to themselves and their children, and ending contact, they’re part of the problem.
While the children’s mother may’ve grown up with this ill treatment, there’s no excuse for accepting it once children are also at risk.
As soon as the kids were hit, against their parents’ wishes, the limits disappeared. She could wreak harm at will.
They all need to cut her off. That’s my advice to them, if this account is true.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman harassed by her supervisor (Jan, 21):
Reader – “I’ve been an harassment advisor for 20-plus years, advising staff of their options for dealing with harassment allegations.
“The first step is to tell the alleged harasser that their behaviour is unwarranted, unwelcome, unprofessional, and must stop.
“Most often, this works - it's equivalent to standing up to the school-yard bully.
“Sometimes, the complainant wants human resources staff to proceed with a full investigation.
“I applaud you for telling this individual to educate herself about her rights, but I disagree that if nothing changes then she should look elsewhere for work.
“There are other avenues available to complainants. In a unionized environment, they can avail themselves of the grievance process; in a non-unionized environment they can seek legal recourse.
“And there’s always the option of filing a complaint with their respective Human Rights Commission.”
Tip of the day:
After unprotected sex, it’s too late but still necessary to face reality.