Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Should he come to my defense?

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  • #860011 Reply

    I have a male family member who gives me unwanted attention (butt smacks). This family member has been overly physical with me for years and never ceases to leave me alone. I won’t make a scene because our kids are usually present and around the general area we are all hanging out in. And my relative knows this. I’ve told him to stop. He laughs it off and stops for a few months then always ends up doing it again.

    My husband has never (in 10 years) said or done anything to this close relative. My husband if fully aware of the situation with this relative and I even believe he’s seen it happen but denied he saw it when I asked him why he didn’t stand up for me. When we discussed it he agrees that it’s weird and not appropriate.

    I’m getting nervous with the holidays coming up and I’ve spoken to my husband about stepping up for me since what I’m saying/doing isn’t working. I’ve never seen my husband get into a confrontation with anyone (except our own tiffs) and there have been times where he could have had my back but stayed silent. Which can be frustrating to not have a spouse who doesn’t automatically have your back. 😔 I would seriously freak out on someone if they did that to my husband.

    I would never force my husband to get confrontational/physical with someone. I just need some help. My own parents won’t say anything to this relative about it either. I’m a ball of nerves because I don’t want my kids to see that and think it’s ok. You know? What do you think I should do? Thanks 🙏🏻

    #860013 Reply

    Well, if you don’t want your kids to see it and think it’s ok, I think you show them that it’s not ok by loudly and clearly standing up for yourself. “Bob, take your hand off my butt and do not touch me again.” Loud enough that it stops conversation. That’s what I’d do. Your husband and your family won’t come to your defense, so you do it yourself.

    I understand what you’re saying about your husband not defending/protecting you, and yes, it would be nice if he took Bob aside and politely told him that if he wants to use his hands again, he should keep them off you. It would also be nice if your family stood up for you and banished this creep from their gatherings.

    But that’s not the husband/family you have, and you have to make do with what you’ve got. Which means you need to deal with the handsy creep yourself. Whether that means telling him off in no uncertain terms right in front of everyone, or positioning yourself so he can’t get his hands on you, or maybe skipping some family gatherings until your family gets the message and deals with him.

    And don’t worry that your kids will be damaged somehow if they see you telling off your creepy relative. That’s good for them to see – that you speak up when someone is touching you inappropriately.

    #860027 Reply

    I understand how nerve wracking this type of thing can be. And as someone with people pleasing tendencies I get it. But it isn’t up to your husband or your parents to protect you. You need to protect yourself. If you want to try to keep it off the family radar, you could say something to the relative the moment you see him like “in the past you’ve touched me in ways I find invasive and I’ve asked you to stop. If you do that again today I’m going to loudly call you out, immediately leave with my family, and be clear with everyone why I’m leaving.” I know that may seem daunting, but remember- a good man is going to be absolutely mortified that you have to say that to him. A good man will apologize profusely and feel terrible. A bad guy will get defensive or rude. And then, if he touches your ass, you follow through. Loudly tell him you told him to stop touching your private parts and leave. He’s the one who should be embarrassed, and part of the reason he’s been emboldened to keep doing it for so long is because he knows there’s no consequences.

    As Essie said, it will be far more damaging for your kids to see someone touch you against your will and have you do nothing than to see their mom stand up and say no. He’s the one who should feel embarrassed, not you. Be firm and brave

    #860061 Reply

    I agree with the previous posters. This asshole keeps doing it because there hasn’t been any consequences (to him) He deserves public shame. If he lays hands on you loudly tell him to stop. This is his embarrassment, not yours. This is a wonderful example to your kids about sticking up for yourself. This guy has been touching you for a long time. You’re also within rights to refuse to go anywhere he’s going to be. And be honest about it. When asked why you won’t be attending Thanksgiving tell your family that you’re sick of your pervert relative grabbing your ass and you refuse to put yourself and your children in that situation ever again. I would also ask your other relatives if he’s done it to them. Your family seems conflict averse and this pervert could be taking advantage of many people. This isn’t your fault! Lots of people sweep things under the rug hoping the unpleasantness goes away. Particularly watch your kids if they’re ever in his presence again. He already knows you and your husband hesitate to speak up when he violates you

    #860071 Reply

    Agree with the above. Say loudly and firmly, “Bob, do not touch me! Get your hands off of me now!” Or “NO! That is not okay. Stop it!” Every time. My mom was in HR and coached women on how to say no to harassing behavior. You have to be firm and clear. And loud, at a family gathering. That’s much better than your husband trying to have some kind of man to man with him.

    That said, my uncle will be a total dick to me and say rude things like “So, I hear you’re collecting unemployment insurance,” I swear to god, but interestingly he will cut the shit when my husband is around. Not that my husband ever said anything to him, he just won’t do it in front of the alpha male.

    #860075 Reply

    Also, while I think it’s totally fine to tell your family about this, don’t expect them to do anything. I’ll tell my mom what a dick her little brother is and she’ll listen, but she doesn’t really believe it. She thinks he just says things like that because that’s how he makes conversation or [insert excuse here]. Your family won’t get on board with your relative being a perv. You can say you won’t come to TG anymore, but it’s highly unlikely they’ll react by uninviting this guy.

    #860077 Reply

    Are you a fully functioning adult? Do you have working vocal cords? Then your husband, rightly, understands you have all the tools you need to put a stop to this yourself.

    All you have to do is say, quite loudly, “Bob, I’ve been putting up with your shit for years. I’m telling you right now – stop touching me and if you touch my kids you will regret it.”

    #860108 Reply

    You need to speak up for yourself and you need to be loud. Something like “Get your hands off me. Don’t ever touch me that way again.” Or, “You pervert. Quit grabbing me.” Do what would be effective in your family. You could add a question about whether he is grabbing other women or girls too. Put it out there that he is inappropriate and it could be going further than you.

    You have to make a scene even if your family has trained you to pretend nothing is happening. It’s hard when your entire family pretends that nothing is happening and you have to rock the boat.

    You need to do this so that your kids learn how to stick up for themselves. Sooner or later something similar will happen to them and they need to know that it is okay to stand up for yourself. It is okay and even better, good for a woman to stick up for herself. They need to see you set the boundaries for how you will be treated. You are their example.

    If you absolutely feel that you can’t make a scene then don’t go. If he is there you won’t be. It’s that simple. Tell your parents you will not be in the same room/home as him because he is so inappropriate.

    A third option could be to send him a cease and desist order written by a lawyer. I don’t know if you can do that but you could certainly look into it. Let him know that you will be documenting all inappropriate touching and will escalate legally if need be.

    #860116 Reply

    You have to speak up every. single. time. You need to do that to show your children how to protect themselves. They need to know how to advocate for themselves. It is your job as a mother to teach them about consent and what to do if someone crosses the line. If you haven’t been teaching them these important things, you need to. You also need to model appropriate behavior, including speaking up when something happens to you. I’m sorry your parents have never stood up for you. I’m sorry you’re also feeling like your husband will not stand up for you. Regardless of you ability to stand up for yourself, it always feels nice to know that someone who proclaims to love you and care about your wellbeing will do what they can to help you. So ask them to.

    Talk to your husband again. Ask him to please back you up. Don’t get emotional or point fingers. Just ask him for help. When you arrive to your family function, announce that you are not letting creepy uncle Randy touch you anymore. Ask your mom and dad to help you. And maybe mention that you wonder who else he touches without their permission.

    Don’t “not make a scene.” Make a scene! You are not the one making things uncomfortable, he is. I’m not one for physical violence, but I’d seriously smack his hand away and start shouting about him touching your privates. I’d also stay away from him as much as possible and keep your kids away as well. Keep an eye on this situation at all times.

    It is really creepy to me that your entire family ignores this. It really makes me wonder what else he does in view, and out of view of your family. Gross!

    #860117 Reply

    Make a scene. Abusive people rely on your fear of causing strife and embarrassment to continue abusing you. It’s a tool in their arsenal.

    #860120 Reply

    I imagine that there are scripts out there for handling these situations, but I don’t know where to look. Does anyone have any recommendations?

    #860125 Reply

    I think you are setting a *bad* example for your kids by not making a scene and by expecting your husband to put a stop to it. Your kids need to see you calling out bad behavior and demanding that it stop. You don’t want to raise girls that think they can’t make a scene, or boys that think women won’t stick up for themselves and need men to call the shots.

    It’s also okay to stay away from family situations where this guy will be, but before doing that, you should loudly call it out and say NO.

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