Annie's Mailbox for April 23, 2011: Worried that grandson is being sexually abused

Dear Annie: I took care of my grandson three days a week for the first two years of his life. He is now 3, and I have not been allowed to see him for nearly a year because I noticed clear evidence of sexual abuse and told my son.

I took my observations to many professionals, including pediatricians, therapists, Child Protective Services, a family law attorney and even therapists who treat perpetrators. They all agreed there was abuse.

My daughter-in-law has a history of dysfunction. She was diagnosed with Munchausen syndrome, which means she makes up stories to get attention. My son is depressed, drinks too much and is a workaholic who is seldom home.

I had no way to get a witness or to somehow record the behavior proving my grandson was being abused. The result is, no one can do anything except slowly build a case so that if future reports come in from teachers or doctors, there will be a record. The tragedy is that the abuse has to continue for many more years before there might be enough evidence to take action.

There is now a second child, but I've not been allowed to see him. I keep encouraging my son to figure this out and seek help. He refuses to believe any of it and demonizes me for "lying." I've been told there is nothing else I can do, but am hoping you or your readers have suggestions. It is a very wrong world when this cannot be stopped.

— Northern California

Dear California: If your grandson regularly sees a pediatrician, any sexual abuse should be noted and reported. We are surprised this hasn't happened and worry that perhaps you are misinterpreting the signs. Please contact stopitnow.org for more information and assistance. If you are certain there is abuse, we urge you to find a way to get back into your son's good graces so you will be in a position to help those children. Say you're sorry. Beg for forgiveness. Whatever it takes. Those boys need someone to watch out for them.

Dear Annie: My husband is 55 years old and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes six years ago. In addition, he suffers from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. His doctor prescribed oral medications and suggested he follow a low-carb diet.

My husband has paid no attention whatsoever to his doctor's advice. He eats fast food at least once a day. He dislikes vegetables and instead eats rice and potatoes, adding excessive amounts of salt and butter. He also snacks on sugary treats with no regard to the effect they have on his blood sugar levels. Worse, he is lax about taking his medications.

I am having a tough time watching helplessly as my husband slowly commits suicide. He ignores my concerns. Any advice?

— Concerned Wife

Dear Wife: There isn't much you can do about someone who insists on making unhealthy choices. Your husband could be depressed, or he may need a diet that gives him different options. Talk to his doctor. See a nutritionist. Try to get Hubby to take romantic walks with you. And contact the American Diabetes Association (diabetes.org) for online support.

Dear Annie: This is in response to "Lucky but Not Happy," who married her husband for stability, but is no longer content because there is no passion. Whatever happened to marriage vows? Did she not say "for better or worse"? What would happen if the tables were turned and she became ill and could no longer perform in the bedroom? Would it be OK if her husband found something "better"?

I am so tired of people getting divorced simply because they are bored with their spouse. Too bad. Unless there is abuse or other untenable circumstances, you made a lifetime commitment. People need to start keeping their promises, or they are meaningless.

— In It Till the End

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