Q: There is a topic I haven’t seen addressed in your column, namely being sexually abused by a spouse. I ended my marriage because my husband was waking me at 2 a.m. demanding sex. He expected me to have sex only a week after I had our baby, although my doctor had said I should wait six weeks. If I thought something he wanted me to do was degrading, he insisted I do it anyway.
It amazes me that the subject of spousal abuse isn’t mentioned in premarital counseling. No one seems willing to acknowledge this kind of abuse exists. Is there even a “survivors” network or support group to cope? I went to individual counseling, but it didn’t help me.
I think it would be helpful if society would acknowledge this kind of thing does happen. I also think that those who offer premarital counseling should be required to discuss the warning signs of a sexual abuser. — The Ex Mrs. Brown
A: It is interesting that this topic isn’t addressed more often, because domestic violence can happen to anyone and it shouldn’t be overlooked. No one has the right to coerce a partner into doing something she or he doesn’t want to do, whether it’s done through physical violence or relentless verbal abuse.
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When there is forced sex in a marriage, the name for it is marital or spousal rape. Like any other kind of rape, it is not an act of love but a way of asserting control and dominance. If you contact the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), it should be able to refer you to a support group for survivors. The toll-free number to call is 800-656-4673. (You can also find it online at rainn.org.)
Q: How do you handle an ex-son-in-law who “confides” in his 9-year-old and 7-year-old children? My granddaughter came to me yesterday and said her dad told her he’s not going to pay child support and is going to quit his job. Now she is worried her daddy will become homeless and have to live on the street.
I know he is self-centered. He has started abusing narcotics and is moving in with a girl half his age. I told my granddaughter that no matter what happens, her mom and dad will always love her. There is court-ordered support, but none has been paid. Any advice would be appreciated. — Grandpa in Milwaukee
A: “Daddy” is not going to lose his apartment; he has CHOSEN to move in with his girlfriend. That’s a lot different than becoming homeless. Reassure your grandchildren, but do not lie. Your daughter should discuss with an attorney the fact that her ex isn’t meeting his child support obligation, and contact the state agencies that help to collect it.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.