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by Abigail Van Buren

Granddaughter Knows Truth About 'Wonderful Father'

DEAR ABBY: When I was 11, my parents and I moved near my grandparents. I loved them very much. One day, my grandfather offered to take me for a ride around the countryside, and we jumped in his pickup truck to explore.

When we started our ride, he had me move over as close as I could to him. Then he popped open a beer and handed it to me to drink. I had never tasted beer before. As we traveled down the road, he slipped his hand under my shirt and proceeded to feel my breasts. This happened three or four times on different days. He then tried to move his hand down into my pants. I resisted. After that, I never went for a ride with him again.

I have been through therapy to deal with this, but I have been unable to move on. My mom and her sisters think he was a wonderful father. She and two of her sisters have always had problems with men. I have always suspected that he abused them also. Should I confront them about this or just let it go? It haunts me to this day. -- PAST BUT PRESENT IN FLORIDA

DEAR PAST: I do not think it would be appropriate to "confront" your mother and your aunts about what might have happened to them. I do, however, think you have every right to tell them what your grandfather did to you during those "joyrides." If your suspicions about them are true, you should never have been permitted to go with him.

When you talk to them, do not be surprised if they try to minimize what happened, but you may find it therapeutic to speak openly. Family secrets like this are unhealthy for everyone.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Abuse