Updated: May 22, 2013 6:06AM
Dr. Wallace: My parents divorced a year ago because my mom was seeing another guy. My dad has moved back to Mexico, and I haven’t heard from him since he left our house. The “other guy” mom was seeing is now my stepfather, and he has me scared to death.
When Mom is not around, he is starting to be sexually aggressive with me. I don’t want to tell you everything he has said or done to me, but I don’t know who to turn to for help. I want to tell my mother, but I don’t want to ruin her new marriage, and I’m not sure she would believe me because she knows I dislike my stepfather. I’m 14 years old.
Nameless, Houston, Texas
Nameless: Please read the following letter from someone who has suffered a similar terrible experience. Please contact me in a few weeks and let me know how you are progressing.
I’m writing this letter to all the young women who are being sexually abused by fathers and stepfathers. This abuse must be stopped!
First, tell your mother what has happened. If she believes you, she’ll take action immediately. But don’t be surprised if your mother doesn’t believe you. She’s likely to think it’s impossible for her husband to do something so horrible, especially after he denies everything. If that’s the case, immediately tell a teacher, relative, clergyman or, if need be, contact the police. It might be wise to tell all four. If you do this, the proper action will be taken.
Please allow me to tell you my sad story. My father started molesting me when I was 13, and this nightmare continued until I joined the Navy the day after high school graduation. At 13, when I told my mother, she called me a liar and said I was trying to break up her marriage. I then went into an emotional shell and stayed that way until I entered the Navy. I didn’t tell anyone else about my problem because I thought they wouldn’t believe me and I’d be in trouble if they contacted my parents.
After I left home, Dad started molesting my 14-year-old sister. She told me all about it when I came home on leave. She also said she told our mother but was accused of lying. I immediately took my sister to the police station. The following day, our father was arrested, and my sister was placed in my aunt’s house. Mom finally got the message that her husband was molesting his daughters. She was devastated, but she has only herself to blame.
When confronted by the authorities, Dad admitted everything and said he was sorry. Unfortunately, sorry wasn’t enough. My life at home was worse than the worst nightmare. No child should ever be subjected to such terror.
My mistake was telling my mother, and when she didn’t believe me, not telling another trusted adult. If you are a teen and you are being molested sexually, and your mother does not believe you, keep asking for help until the help comes, and it will.
Cindy, Miami, Fla.
Write to Dr. Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org