: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.