Week of:
Apr 12, 2019

Forgiving myself after being sexually abused

Dear Alice,

I am now 20 years old. When this situation took place, I was 16 or 17. I was living with this family that went to my church, and the lady's husband kept coming on to me. At this time, my parents were divorcing and I was depressed. I was so scared of this man because he was a giant compared to me. He kept asking me if he could touch my thighs. I kept telling him no because it was wrong, but I didn't tell anyone. I wouldn't even eat at night because I was afraid he would try to rape me.

So one day I came home from church a little earlier than the others did. He came in and waited until I got out of the bathroom. He sat me down on a chair and he kept touching me. I was so in shock that I couldn't move. That day he entered me and I didn't push him away, but I was crying and felt sick. Later on that week, he came into the basement where I stayed, and he performed oral sex on me. I felt really bad, but then again I did enjoy it. I felt so confused and cheap because after he was done he left $100.00 on my table. I felt like a slut. Then after a few weeks of him not even looking at me, I decided to talk to him and tell him that I was sorry and that we couldn't do it anymore and that we had to ask God for forgiveness.

My question is was it my fault for being in this situation or is he at fault for taking advantage of me? I have forgiven him, but I still have to work on forgiving myself. To me that is a very hard task because he is one of the elders in the church. What should I do?

Setting boundaries for work relationships

Dear Alice,

I interned somewhere this summer, and I think one of my co-workers has developed a crush on me. Now I'm back at school. He will still text or call every week even though he knows that I have a boyfriend. At first, I enjoyed our conversations, but I'm starting to feel very uneasy about what's going on. I have to admit, I may not be the innocent one either because I try to make pleasant conversation with him, and I really do like talking to him. I don't want to lead him on anymore, but at the same time, I don't want to make him mad because I've accepted a position at the company and I will be working with him again. HELP!

My boyfriend hits me: Should I go back to him?

Dear Alice,

I've been with my boyfriend for over two years now. We were great during the first year, but our relationship has become abusive. I remembered that I was the one who first laid a hand on my boyfriend. Then, that's when it all started. Every time we get into a fight, it frequently ends in violence. But now he becomes the aggressor. He's the one who hits me first. I don't hit back anymore, but this doesn't seem to stop him. He ended up taking me to the hospital to get stitches in my head after he hit me. The hospital asked questions and I covered up for him, but the police didn't believe me and arrested him. He said he's going to a counseling program to get better. He still loves me and realized the horrible things he has done. He said he wants to get back together after the program. Is there a chance for him to get better? Should I go back to him?

Healthy versus unhealthy relationships

Dear Alice,

What are some ways to identify and deal with unhealthy relationships? And what strategies can people use to enhance relationships? What are some internal and external support resources that are available for people dealing with unhealthy relationships?