Dear Abby: We recently learned that our son-in-law, “Mike,” was fired from his job as a community service officer with the county. He committed second-degree criminal sexual assault on two women inmates he was supervising and is now in the process of going to court. We hope he’ll be convicted and sent away so our daughter can put her life together.
This has torn our family apart. We don’t know how to get through to her that she deserves so much better than this. She refuses to divorce him even though this was happening during their marriage and her pregnancy, She claims she’s not being abused, but we have seen how controlling Mike has been throughout their courtship and marriage.
How can we help her realize that life without him would be so much better and that sex offenders are never really “cured”? They tell us they are “constantly praying” and that “God has already forgiven” him for what he has done. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
Dear Worried Parents: Your son-in-law’s abuse of his authority is appalling. But as long as he’s still around and “constantly praying” (probably more for a sympathetic jury than forgiveness for what he did to those women), you won’t get through to your daughter.
Fortunately, the justice system has sentencing guidelines for men who abuse their power the way Mike has, and he may be going away for a long, long time. Once he’s gone, start talking to your daughter about counseling to deal with the trauma she has been through, and let a mental health professional shed some light on this. If the message comes from a person with no bias, it stands a better chance of getting through.
P.S. I wholeheartedly agree she would be better off without him.
Dear Abby: I live in Arizona where the temperature can hit 100 degrees and we get 300-plus days of sunshine every year. I always have my 5-month-old son wear his sunglasses when he goes outside, and I get the most asinine comments from total strangers! Everything from “Can I have his autograph?” to “Does he think he’s cool?” How can they be so dumb? People, tiny eyes need protection too!
A New Mommy
Dear New Mommy: The individuals you describe aren’t “dumb”; they are making a failed attempt at humor. However, I showed your letter to Beverly Hills ophthalmologist Peter Cornell, M.D., who told me:
“It’s ideal for everyone — regardless of age — to protect their eyes from ultraviolet light. And it’s advisable for babies to be protected when they’re outside. But it is NOT as ‘crucial’ with children as it is for older individuals, because their bodies are better able to repair oxidative damage. That said, ultraviolet light is not the friend of anyone’s eyes.”
Dear Abby: I was married recently but kept my maiden name. As wedding gifts, we received two sets of towels monogrammed with my husband’s last initial, and a plaque for the front of the house — “House of (his last name), Established 2012.”
While we appreciate this generosity, I’m sure we will not put the items to use. (The plaque was from a close family member on my husband’s side who knew I would be keeping my name.) How do we handle this?
Dear Perplexed: Here’s how: Consign the plaque to your husband’s man-cave (or toss it), use the towels for something other than display, and write a gracious thank-you to the family members who gave them to you for their thoughtfulness.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.