Reader’s Commentary “Older men harassed me verbally and physically when I started taking public transit alone, at 11. My mother said it was “a compliment.”
“At 15, I was assaulted by my best friend's boyfriend. My mother said I should get better friends.
“At 17, when our neighbour made obscene phone calls to me, she accused me of being jealous because she was trying to start a relationship with him.
“When I married an abuser, she said marriage was about sacrifice.
“When I left him, she said I wasn't "wife material."
“It wasn't until he was violent with my daughters that she admitted that maybe the problem lay with someone other than me.
“I've now been happily married for nine years. My mother thinks I've married “beneath” myself. She and I don't talk much and she still doesn't understand why.”
Ellie – I used this writer’s intended #MeToo on its own, to make a point.
Some people have been challenging what’s “really” part of the #MeToo movement, believing that it’s only about people in powerful positions sexually assaulting, harassing, and threatening less-powerful women and men.
Some readers have questioned the #MeToo accounts in my columns, saying the person should’ve known better than to take that drink, enter that car, etc.
Some have dismissed stories of young people who were blamed by their parents.
In the story above, an irresponsible mother failed her daughter, gave no support, reported no one. In other cases, it’s the father or the boy next door who’s somehow excused for the physical and psychological harm they inflicted.
But it’s the painful silence that victims endured – often for decades – which poisoned the soil in which more recent high profile #MeToo incidents have thrived.
Victim blaming fed the current culture, in which the entitlement and power led to rape, career loss, and defamation. And enablers looked away.
My son's wife left him and moved to another city when their baby was four-months-old.
My son worked hard to stay connected with his child over the next several years.
The demands placed on him put his already-compromised health in further jeopardy. He died unexpectedly.
We’ve tried to keep the relationship with this boy (now seven) through Facetime and telephone. We cannot go often to his city, and he cannot travel here alone.
Conversations with him are forced; he’s clearly not interested.
We have close and mutually beneficial relationships with our other grandchildren who live nearby.
We’re trying to honour what our son worked so hard for, but it’s not working. Many people have said he’ll come back to you when he's older.
This is another layer of pain on top of the loss of our son. Should we give up?
What else can we do to sustain and enrich this relationship?
Keep your expectations realistic and you won’t be so disappointed.
Your grandchild will become a teen, a young man, likely, a father. He’ll want to know more.
Reach out to his level. Send a book, then call to talk about it. Tell him about his cousins and send photos. Use Skype for growing familiarity with you and your family.
Try to visit him once a year and spend a couple of days doing fun things. They’ll build memories of you as his grandparents.
When he’s ready to ask questions, connect him to information about his father – photos, stories, his interests, and any mementoes you have.
Meanwhile, try to maintain a respectful relationship with his mother to encourage the connection.
FEEDBACK Regarding the bride-to-be who doesn’t want her groom’s adult daughter at their wedding (Jan. 31):
Reader – “I was taken aback by the sheer nerve of this man's fiancée!
“She must be very selfish, if she wants him to leave out his friends and more importantly his "grown" daughter.
“I’m a mature single woman with grown children. No man would dare tell me to leave my children out of a family event.
“Nor would it even occur to me to ask him to leave his child/ren out. What does this imply for ongoing "family" relationships?
“I’d hope that life would’ve taught this woman something, yet she seems controlling and insecure.
“If he gives in to these demands, I believe this to be the beginning of a journey. Unfortunately, it’ll be downhill!
“There must’ve been other signs of her selfishness. He should run!
“He’s after a partnership/relationship. She’s offering a dictatorship!!”
Tip of the day:
Sexual abuse stories seeking only a voice, not gain, deserve respect in the #MeToo movement.