Dear Annie: Several years ago, I stayed with my aunt and uncle for a week. My aunt sent me down to the basement to tell my uncle to come upstairs for dinner. When I turned the corner, I caught him pulling up his pants in front of the computer screen. He asked me not to tell my aunt, and I didn’t.
During my time there, he did several other things that made me uncomfortable. He asked me personal questions about women’s bodies, and one time when I was alone with him, he hugged me from behind, pushing himself against me. Eventually, I told my parents about it. Although they believed me, I don’t think they ever said anything to my aunt and uncle. So I made my own rules about how close to get to him when we visited.
The reason I’m writing is because I have two younger sisters, both teenagers, and I have noticed my uncle looking at them when we visit. Even more troubling, my uncle has two young granddaughters who visit on a regular basis. My aunt and uncle often baby-sit for the girls, so he has regular opportunities to be alone with them.
The situation worries me, but I don’t know what to do. I’m pretty sure neither my aunt nor my adult cousins have any idea what’s going on. My parents aren’t eager to create a rift, and the grandkids really love their grandpa. But I would feel awful if I later learned he had abused these kids.
If my parents don’t address the situation, should I tell my aunt? My cousins? – Don’t Want It To Happen Again
Dear Don’t Want: That hug from behind was a type of molestation. Your uncle isn’t likely to change his behavior on his own, so it is important that the relatives be informed and the younger children protected. Tell your parents that if they are unwilling to handle this, you will talk to your sisters and adult cousins. Your cousins may not believe that their father would harm their kids, and they may be angry with you, but they should know nonetheless.