My husband and I are both thirty-eight years old. I recently found out that seven years ago he inappropriately touched my sister, who was then twelve-years-old. My sister says it only happened one time. I don’t know what to do.

Dear Friend,

Anyone would be confused in your situation. Most wives want to believe that their husbands would not do such a thing, but at the same time most women want to believe what their sisters tell them. How can you know who to believe and then what to do about it?

You do not give us any details about your husband. Do you have any reason to distrust him in other ways? Has he lied to you? Does he view pornography or spend a lot of secret time on the computer? Is he secretive about his social media? Does he stay away from home for unexplained periods of time? These would all be warning signs that your husband might have a tendency toward sexual deviance. However, if you have absolutely no other warning signs and your husband has never been secretive or lied to you, then it is very important to get more information from your sister before proceeding.

A few months ago my ten-year-old niece told me that what an adult male had done was inappropriate. I knew that she believed what she was telling me, but I had been in the room when the supposed inappropriate behavior had happened and I also knew it could not have happened the way she had perceived it. So I began asking questions about exactly how it had happened. When the entire story came out, I learned that the behavior of the man in question was totally innocent and that she had just used the word “inappropriate” because she felt that he did not have the right to boss her around. Her complaint was not sexual in nature, but she innocently used vocabulary that made it seem sexual.

Ask your sister to tell you everything: when, where, who, what happened afterward, and what was said. Of course it is common for victims to be ashamed and to not tell anyone about their abuse, but the important thing you need to know is whether your husband threatened your sister or told her not to tell anyone. If he did, then it implies that he knew he was guilty and it was not just accidental contact. If he didn’t say anything to her, and if she can’t remember some of the details, then it is possible that she misinterpreted what happened.

It seems that you already believe your sister and doubt your husband, which makes me think that your husband has given you other warning signs. If so, you should confront him about all of it. How you proceed after that will depend on his responses. If you believe that he is hiding anything, consult a professional counselor immediately and make sure that your children, nieces or nephews are not left alone with your husband. On the other hand, if there are no other warning signs and if you trust your husband completely, then have a meeting with both your sister and your husband so that they can try to figure out together what happened. It would be best to do that in the office of a professional counselor if at all possible.

It is good that your sister knows that you believe her. However, if there is any possibility that she misunderstood what happened, then your husband could be innocent. You need God’s help to make important decisions. Pray and ask Him to give you His supernatural wisdom for the days ahead. Depend on Him to give you the strength you need for whatever lies ahead.

We wish you the best,