Dear Barb – Sister Must Speak Up to Protect Children

Dear Barb:

My sister is divorced with two small daughters age four and six. She has recently began dating a man who I learned through friends had sexually abused the daughter of his previous girlfriend. I am afraid he may do this to my nieces. When I see him with the girls he seems attentive and caring, but because of what I know I don’t trust him. I believe the people who told me about this are reliable.

I haven’t mentioned this to my sister because she seems to be so much in love with this man that I don’t think she will respond well to this information. I don’t know what to do. Should I tell her or just keep it to myself and hope nothing happens?

Angela

Angela, you can’t do nothing. This is too important. You have been entrusted with some very important information. If It’s ignored and something happened, these two girls would be affected for life.

You have said that you trust the source of this information. Is there any way you could speak to the mother of the child that this happened to? That way you will be 100 per cent sure this is true. Perhaps you could explain to this mother that your sister is involved with this man and that you are concerned for your nieces. Ask her if she would mind if you gave your sister her name. If she is okay with this then I would tell your sister the information that you have and provide her with this woman’s name and number. Therefore, if your sister doesn’t believe what you are saying she will be able to confirm this information.

I think you already realize you need to be prepared when you tell your sister as she may be angry with you. If she is so in love with this fellow, she is not going to want to believe that he would be capable of something so horrible and perverse.

If your sister chooses not to believe this you can’t just ignore it. In that case I would suggest you discuss your concerns with a social worker to find out the best approach.

Childhood sexual abuse has grave consequences that follow its victims throughout their lives. Even one incident of childhood sexual abuse can change who that child will become. Therefore you and your sister have to find a way to prevent this from occurring.

Thanks, Angela, for writing in about such an important topic and I hope I was helpful.

Email your questions to voice@voicemagazine.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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