my friend’s dad touches me

dear heather,
I’m really worried. My best friend’s dad seems like he keeps finding excuses to touch me. He hasn’t touched me on my boobs or between my legs, but I’m afraid he might. I’m scared to tell my parents because I think at least one of them might confront him. I’m afraid if that happens, my friend wouldn’t want to see me anymore because she would be too offended (or her parents wouldn’t let her). I might be imagining it, but I don’t think so because it’s become more and more frequent. What should I do?

That sounds really upsetting. I can see why you would want to find a way out of such an uncomfortable situation, while also making sure you don’t lose your best friend.

Inappropriate touching of this kind is unfortunately common. It’s also likely that your friend’s dad has done or will do the same thing to other girls or women–and yes, that he would deny it if you confronted him and try and separate you from your friend.

So what can you do? I called up Dr. Frederyka Shabry, a psychiatrist who works with teens, to see what she advised.

For starters, she says, you might want to talk to a trusted adult about what is going on. If you don’t want to involve your parents, is there someone else you can discuss this with? A teacher or counselor at school maybe?

Dr. Shabry also suggests seeing if there’s a way to avoid this man. What if you spent time with your friend somewhere else? Maybe you can come up with some kind of new activity or arrangement that makes sense to your friend.

Of course confronting him yourself is an option–but it’s definitely not your responsibility in any way. Whatever you decide to do, according to Dr. Shabry, right now your focus should be on yourself and on securing your own well-being.

take care,
heather


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