We are a family of believers and ___ broke loose in our house. I recently found out my husband has been fondling my teen-age daughter. It has been going on for some months off and on. She was afraid to tell me for fear of losing all she was familiar with, but finally she broke down. She had been having nightmares, had become very angry, had stopped wanting to sit next to him in his chair.
I had been wondering and had asked her a couple of times if he had been touching her, but she always said no.
I could feel the spiritual disturbance in the house, something very dark and evil, I thought he was probably cheating on me, but there was no way to know. I wish that’s what it was…
When she finally did tell me, I reassured her, told her all the “right” things(ie. it wasn’t your fault), and asked her what she would like me to do. She said she didn’t want us to divorce and move, just wanted it to stop.
I confronted my husband immediately. He responded by saying he goes in when she is restless to comfort her, and starts to doze off, then he must think it’s me. … but I’m not sure I should buy it.
He then apologized to each of us and promised my daughter she no longer had to worry, it would never happen again. He put a lock on her door to use as she wants.
It’s been a month and a half, my daughter no longer has nightmares, her anger has lessened a little. I am teaching her about boundaries again. She is mostly comfortable around him now and shows some signs of healing.
I am having difficulty deciding whether or not to forgive and heal concerning my husband, or whether to move and divorce and heal. I do not feel the same about him now and have difficulty sleeping with him.
Though, he wants everything to be fine. I cannot pretend so easily.
I do not want to dishonor my daughter by letting people know. I don’t want to involve the law if he is repentive and she is gaining, she has at least grown in faith through this…but how does one know if that is correct thinking?
I do not want to be un-forgiving, if he is truly repentive. I believe in God’s changing ways and do not believe my husband’s sin is any different than my own. But, my children’s well being is more important. And as we have not had a good marriage, this makes it easy for me to want to leave, but I can’t tell what is best right now. I feel very stuck and confused. Thank you for your consideration.
Answer: Dear Friend,
I would encourage you to separate from your husband and give yourself time to think this over. Sexual abuse of children is a grievous sin, it is evil and it is a crime. Yes, your husband may be truly repentant and you will need to forgive him but, does that mean you should trust him – a perpetrator of abuse – with yourself and your children? This must be reported to the Department of Child Protective services also.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that there will be no consequences. The decision is certainly up to you but, trust is a precious commodity – a gift – which is granted only when someone has proven their character through a life of virtue, responsibility and good reputation.
It’s hard to be intimate with someone who has crossed a boundary no one should cross – incest is a sin for which the Lord commanded people be put to death in Leviticus.
Get yourself a good Christian counselor. See the directory at American Association of Christian Counselors for a professional in your area.
Talk with your pastor who can give you sound advice and pray with you. This is not a sin which should be hidden. This is a criminal act – one which legal authorities take very seriously and one which sends people to prison. You are not married to someone who has a mild addiction to pornography. You are married to someone who has committed a crime and has abused your daughter – committed acts which will cause psychological damage to her for which she will need much counseling as well.
There’s no excuse for abuse. No adult should first of all take the step to sleep in a teenager’s bed and then, wake up thinking the person next to him is his wife. That’s just an excuse for criminal behavior.
Read Coping with Sexual Abuse. People who have been victimized sexually have many issues to work through: shame, guilt, trust, grief, and forgiveness. You may not want to report this to the authorities but, you will be sorry.
This is a criminal act for which the perpetrator should pay the consequences. You should call the Department of Child and Family Services in your state and report it. Here are some Child Abuse sites and hotlines: Call Child Help USA at 1-800-4A-Child or call the Illinois hotline for child abuse at 1-800-252-2873 – they will provide other state numbers.
File a report to the police. Why shouldn’t your husband pay a penalty for this grievous crime? Why should he go free of any consequences? The law requires that people be held accountable for sexual abuse crimes.
Take care of yourself and your family. Go to a Divorce Care Support Group in your area. Seek support and comfort from a mentor, confidante, counselor, and pastor. This is a crisis and a serious offense and you will need healing and time to work through it. Get counseling for your daughter and your son – as he may have been abused as well.
Pick up some books for healing:
Bold Love by Dan Allender.
A Safe Place: Beyond Sexual Abuse by Jan Morrison.
May the Lord help you and strengthen you through this crisis. Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC
Lynette Hoy is a Marriage and Family counselor at CounselCare Connection, P.C. and is the co-author of: What’s Good About Anger?
Response from writer: “I just wanted to thank you for taking time to send your advice, I will consider it carefully. May the Lord keep you in His service.”