Mt. Vernon Register-News

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March 20, 2013

Sexual abuse can occur without physical contact

Dear Abby: Is there such a thing as non-physical sexual abuse? When I was young, my father would fondle my mother when I came to sleep with them when I had a nightmare. (She would rebuff his advances.) He would also watch porn in front of me.

As I matured, he made comments about my figure. He would barge into my room without knocking and insist he didn’t have to knock. He’d tell dirty jokes or talk about sexually inappropriate things. But with all of this, he never touched me or assaulted me.

I recently began seeing a new counselor who thinks my father was just a dirty old man – nothing more. Was I abused? Any information you have would be appreciated. – WONDERING

Dear Wondering: When a parent attempts to initiate sex or watch pornography in front of a child, it is sexualizing behavior and it could also be considered “grooming” behavior. Yes, it WAS a form of abuse. My advice is to change counselors.

Dear Abby: My daughter is mentally ill, homeless and on meth. A year ago, when she wasn’t so bad, she asked if I would take her 3-year-old daughter, “Lucy,” so she could get herself together. Unfortunately, she went the other direction.

It was fine when I thought that the arrangement was temporary, but when I realized I would be raising Lucy as a single parent at 49, things got hard.

My so-called friends have abandoned me, and so has my much younger boyfriend. But what is actually killing this is that I get no respite.

I know if I had time for my own mental health, I could be a good surrogate mother to Lucy, but if I can’t, I’m starting to think I may have to give her up, and that breaks my heart – END OF MY ROPE

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