I’ve just been accused of sexually abusing my sister-in-law 40 years ago.
I don’t deny any of her allegations and there’s no hope that I could ever have any kind of relationship with her ever again.
I’ve torn apart our family and don’t believe that will ever be repaired.
I don't know whether she’ll go to the police, but if she does I’ll suffer whatever consequences that brings.
I can truthfully say that I have never done this to any other woman.
I need help to discover why I did this. I’m hoping you can point me in the direction of some kind of programming.
I'm not looking to be excused or forgiven for my behaviour, I just want help.
There are several crucial steps needed here, and since you’ve been vague about your response to your sister-in-law, first and foremost was admitting guilt, which you’ve done here, and must do to her.
That means a full apology and remorse. She needs and deserves that.
She may or may not report you to the police, but you should go and admit your guilt to them. They will advise you to get a lawyer if she asks them to charge you.
Counselling’s essential for your own self-understanding but also to make amends to other people you may’ve hurt by that abuse – e.g. those in your and her family who were affected by her experience of sexual abuse.
Search online for a registered therapist or psychologist experienced with sexual deviance, being clear that you’ve been the abuser.
There may also be court service programs for admitted/guilty offenders.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the man who protected his finances from a woman, in case of divorce or common-law break-up (August 13):
“While I experienced an awful divorce, I still find his is the coward’s way of approaching things.
“My wife (and co-worker) left me for a man as old as her father.
“I had to deal with embarrassment and shame because she proceeded to lie about me, to save face herself.
“She told co-workers that I had a drug problem (untrue), said I didn't pay for anything (80% of our finances, her student loans and car), told our families I lost the house (I still own it), etc.
“I was extremely bitter for a couple of years afterwards. I dated for sex and no emotional attachment, which just made me more bitter, sad and lonely.
“Eventually, with the help of counselling and love from my family and friends, I came out of that hole and decided to just be happy with myself and let dating take a back seat.
“I ended up meeting the most amazing woman I’ve ever known - my perfect match, love of my life, she makes me happier every day.
“Some years later, we’re together with a beautiful son in the lovely home we've made together. Our families and friends are overjoyed for both of us.
“We share EVERYTHING - chores, finances, time with our son, our hopes and dreams.
“The bills and house deed have both our names on them. That's what marriage or a partnership is: You have to risk it all.
“If you don't take that risk, you're kidding yourself if you think you're really all in.
“The letter-writer’s detachment and “make-her-pay- rent” plan, may work for those who don't realize they're still living with bitterness in control of their lives.
“But that way, you're just sleeping with your tenant.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the eight-month-old who has crossed eyes, doesn’t hold his head up well, and physically doesn’t do much (August 14):
Reader #1 – “The crossed eyes aren’t necessarily a biggie, but lack of head control at that age is a clear sign of something wrong.
“This child should see a developmental pediatrician ASAP.
“Early intervention is key for whatever the issue is —neurological, musculature, general developmental delay.
“I’ve worked in paediatrics and physical and developmental challenges for over 30 years.”
Reader #2 – “Better to ask for attention early even if later it proves to have been an unnecessary worry.
“When my baby wouldn’t make eye contact or lift her head, I learned advocacy – Don’t ask, tell the pediatrician when you want a referral. I learned that my daughter had a genetic syndrome.”
Ellie – I hope the baby’s mother reads these important feedbacks. The grandmother’s letter indicated that her daughter won’t accept her concern and advice.
Tip of the day:
Admitting guilt for sexual abuse is essential for the victim. For the abuser, therapy may bring needed self-understanding.