DEAR ABBY: Years ago, my child was sexually abused by a relative. After I found out, I reported it, which made the abuser's family very upset. Charges were filed, and there were court dates, probation and counseling. To date, everything the judge required of the abuser has been legally fulfilled. While I'm glad everything was completed, I'm still not comfortable having him around my child or any of their younger siblings.
The extended family wants to have large gatherings like were held in the past, and they are so happy we can all be together again. Is it bad that I still don't want my child and other children around the abuser? Is it bad I don't want my child to have to spend every major holiday and celebration with their abuser in the same space?
It bothers me that everyone is celebrating the return of this pedophile and disregarding my child's feelings as if nothing ever happened. Am I wrong to feel this way? What's the best way to handle this? -- SHELL-SHOCKED MOTHER IN COLORADO
DEAR SHELL-SHOCKED: You are not wrong. You are a loving, caring, vigilant and protective mother. The best way to handle this would be to forgo family gatherings at which the abuser will be present. A victim of sexual abuse should not be required to ever be in that person's presence again.