If rel­a­tive re­fuses to re­move photo, limit fam­ily vis­its

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - Dear Abby Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Dear Abby ap­pears on Sun­day, Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day. Email Dear Abby at www.dearabby.com.

Dear Abby: My daugh­ter was re­peat­edly date-raped at the age of 16. Her preda­tor threat­ened to kill her if she ever told, so she kept it to her­self un­til she could get away from him. It was a very scary time in her life, but with the help of coun­sel­ing she is work­ing through it and mov­ing on with her life.

The prob­lem is, while vis­it­ing with my in-laws it was pointed out to us that my mother-in-law had made a col­lage of pic­tures and in­cluded in it the per­son who raped my daugh­ter. In all, there are five pic­tures of him in group set­tings. When my hus­band asked her calmly to re­move them, she re­fused. She says it would pun­ish the other grand­chil­dren if she re­moved the pic­tures, and it would “ruin her col­lage.”

We have asked her three times, but she re­fuses to budge. She says WE all need coun­sel­ing and that the re­quest is com­pletely out of line. Do you think our re­quest was out of line? — Ap­palled in Illi­nois Dear Ap­palled: Of course not! Was your mother-in-law aware of what this per­son had done to her grand­daugh­ter when the col­lage was cre­ated? If so, her re­ac­tion is bizarre and un­be­liev­ably in­sen­si­tive.

Ap­proach her once more and ask if she would agree to take the col­lage to a pho­tog­ra­pher so your daugh­ter’s at­tacker can be dig­i­tally edited out of it. If that’s not pos­si­ble, per­haps she would agree to take down the col­lage when your fam­ily vis­its. How­ever, if the re­sponse to that re­quest is also neg­a­tive, I wouldn’t blame you if you went there very rarely, if ever.

Dear Abby : What do you say to peo­ple when they tell you they will “pray for you” when you’re deal­ing with an ill­ness or other life tragedy if you are a non­be­liever? Statis­tics say that 34 per­cent of Amer­i­cans are non­be­liev­ers, so please ad­dress this to the 34 per­cent who share my feel­ings of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the sen­ti­ment, but feel like hyp­ocrites for play­ing along to re­cip­ro­cate their kind­ness. I won­der if any of your non­be­liever read­ers can share how they in­ter­nally deal with this dilemma.

— Non­be­liever, but Grate­ful Dear Non­be­liever: When some­one of­fers to pray for you, it’s usu­ally be­cause the per­son cares about you, knows you are sick and feels help­less to of­fer any­thing more to help. Ac­cept it for what it is, and say thank you rather than tell the per­son that what they of­fered is, in your eyes, worth­less. That’s called be­ing gra­cious — re­gard­less of your re­li­gious or non­re­li­gious con­vic­tions.

Dear Abby : My hus­band of eight years will not re­solve his foot odor prob­lem. He re­fuses to wear socks, and his so­lu­tion in win­ter is to open all the win­dows and turn on the fan as soon as he re­turns from work. The “air­ing out” never com­pletely gets rid of the smell — and I freeze! How can I get him to change?

— Fed up in Man­hat­tan Dear Fed Up: You don’t have to risk get­ting pneu­mo­nia. Shoe re­pair shops sell de­odor­iz­ing prod­ucts in the form of sprays and pow­ders. Or buy bak­ing soda, and when your hus­band re­moves his shoes, dump a cup­ful into each one. They next day the smell should be gone.

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