I was abused when I was five years old. Growing up with alcoholic parents was a living hell.

Now I am happily married…. However, my parents are still alcoholics. Now they are raising my younger sister’s daughters because she is a drug addict…. When I went to visit them today, I found my mother inebriated with the two-year-old beside her, and my father behind closed doors in the bedroom with the six-year-old! I believe he’s abusing the little girl! What should I do? I’m not sure if my own experience has put these thoughts in my head, or if my silence makes me an accomplice to a crime such as that. I have wept all day thinking that this little child might be going through what I went through.

Help me, please! The anxiety and sadness have returned at the mere thought of this.

Dear Friend,

I am very sorry to hear about your difficult childhood. Growing up with alcoholic parents is extremely difficult, and we congratulate you for not choosing that kind of life for yourself. The additional trauma of sexual abuse was another obstacle that you overcame, so now you know better than most people why that abuse should never happen to another child.

Your story was not clear as to whether it was your father who molested you, or someone else. If it was your father, then you have evidence that he is a pedophile, and it is your urgent responsibility to do what it takes to get your niece out of danger. If your country prosecutes pedophiles, then you need to immediately report what happened to you to the police, also telling them your fears about what may be happening to your niece.

Of course, most of your family will be angry and will blame you for all the legal and financial problems that will result when your father is arrested. But no matter what they say, and no matter what happens, you will be doing the right thing for the little girl and for any other children that he would have abused in the future.

On the other hand, if your country does not actively prosecute pedophiles, or if what happened to you was too far in the past to be prosecuted now, then you must confront your father and also reveal the truth to all your other family members. You must bring your secret out into the open so that others can understand why your niece needs to be protected now.

However, if your father was not your abuser, then perhaps your own experience has affected how you perceived the current situation in your parents’ home. Certainly you should keep observing and checking to see if there is any evidence of abuse; but if there is none, there is no reason to make any accusations.

In either case, the children do not seem to be well cared for. If your extended family cannot find a better solution for the children’s care, then you may need to report the situation to the appropriate social service agency in your country and ask for their help.

These children, growing up with an addict for a mother and alcoholics for grandparents, are going to have emotional issues to work through. More than anything, they need strong and healthy role models. You and your wife can be examples to them, and as they grow you can teach them about a Heavenly Father who loves them and wants to give them a better life. Find a church where there are classes for children and make sure that you take them regularly. God has loving teachers who can be a positive influence in the children’s lives if given the opportunity.

None of this will be easy, but with God’s help and your wife’s support, you can do what needs to be done. Strength comes from the Lord (1), so ask Him for His help.

Take courage!

1 Php 4:13