DEAR AMY: I have no one I can talk to regarding an incident that took place 21 years ago. My ex-husband and I had a terribly tumultuous relationship. One night, he was drunk (the norm for him) and became very physical sexually. I tried to fight him off, but he raped me. I was injured and not able to go to work the next day. I never brought it up again until this past year.
I am now happily married to another man (18 years), and my ex and I have tried to be friends because of our children and grandchildren. Suddenly, my ex divorced his wife and started calling me “just to talk”! Then he started in with how much he still loved me! I told him that I would not accept his calls if he continued with this sort of talk.
One day last year he called — drunk as usual. I finally told him I didn’t want to have contact with him because he had raped me.
I have never told anyone about this incident. Now I am angry. To make this even worse, he is denying it. He told our two grown adult children about my accusation and told them I am crazy. I told him he had no right to discuss this with them. I have anger issues now, partly because my children still seem to want to be around him.
I almost feel betrayed because they know their father raped me. While it was a secret, everything was fine. Now, how do I get over this? How do I feel close to my children again? -- Confused
DEAR CONFUSED: Much of what you are experiencing is common to sexual assault survivors. Now that you have disclosed what happened to you, the anger and hurt has bubbled up. You cannot avoid these feelings; you must deal with them.
From what you report, your ex-husband is still trying to control you (by disclosing this to your kids and continuing to contact you when you have told him not to). The statute of limitations may have passed on a rape charge, but if he persists, you should get a restraining order.
Please seek professional help. A therapist will guide you through your anger and sadness.
You cannot control your kids’ choice to have a relationship with their father. He may be a rapist (and a drunk), but he is their father, and that is their problem to deal with, not yours.
DEAR AMY: Recently my sister and I went out to an R-rated movie. Someone else brought a child along who could have been no more than 10 years old. The movie had graphic sex scenes and nudity along with graphic violence and language.
I would not have allowed my teenagers to see this movie. I feel that movies are rated R for a reason. There should be a law to prevent younger kids from seeing inappropriate material even when their parents accompany them.
Is there a way I can approach these parents and voice my concern about what they are allowing their kids to view on the big screen? -- Sincerely Concerned
DEAR CONCERNED: Voicing your views publicly to a parent who makes such poor choices is unwise (especially in front of the child). I agree with you that some parents don’t seem to imagine the impact of such media on their children. Among other consequences, their kids may grow up to be the kind of parents who expose young kids to inappropriate media.
DEAR AMY: I think you didn’t go far enough in your reply to “Furious” about the grandmother who gave her 15-year-old granddaughter a vibrator and asked her to keep it a secret.
If this was a grandfather (instead of a grandmother), your answer would have been different. This is obvious “grooming” behavior of a sexual predator. -- Been There
DEAR BEEN THERE: I’ve heard from many readers reminding me that female family members can also be sexual predators. My advice was to limit any private interaction because this grandmother was not trustworthy.