When I got married four years ago, I already had two daughters. Now I am pregnant with my husband’s child. Two months ago something happened that has caused me mental anguish. My husband… came home drunk one night…. I pretended to be asleep to avoid an argument. He came into our room and then went out to check on the girls as he always did. My ten-year-old daughter was sleeping in short shorts, and I heard when he climbed up the ladder of the bunk bed. When I got up and went in there, I saw that he was touching my daughter in an inappropriate way….

My husband is a good man. He has always taken special care of my daughters, and has been very ashamed and sorry for what he did…. But I can’t trust him the way I did before. What should I do? Should I keep trying with him, or should I leave him instead even though he is not like that when he’s sober?

Dear Friend,

I don’t know if your husband gets drunk very often, but I do know from personal experience that the children raised in the household of a problem drinker suffer from instability, anxiety, and shame. How sad that you have chosen to bring up three children in that environment! We congratulate you, however, for recognizing a dangerous situation and for deciding to do something about it. Unfortunately, many women ignore the danger signs and even ignore the actual evidence of child sexual abuse.

People who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs very often do things that they would not normally do if they were sober. We are going to assume, primarily because we don’t have any additional information, that you are right about your husband when you say that he would never sexually abuse your daughter if he were not drunk. But he does get drunk, and I also know from personal experience that drunks do not keep their promises even though they may have the best of intentions. So you need to act immediately to protect your daughters. Tell your husband that you will stay with him and support him, but he must go regularly to a group for alcoholics. If he claims that he is not an alcoholic, then he can prove it by stopping all such drinking immediately.

In the meantime, buy new doorknobs for the bedrooms in the house. You need doorknobs that lock with a key. Keep the key hidden from your husband. Any time he drinks, wait until your daughters are asleep and then lock their doors. If the girls ask about the locks, say that they are getting older and need to be able to have privacy, but that you need the key to be able to unlock the door at any time for safety reasons.

You need God’s help and wisdom! Pray in your own words to Him, asking Him to forgive you for your sins in the name of His Son Jesus Christ. Then pray every day for His help and strength. And read the Bible and ask God to guide you through His Word.

We wish you the best,