Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Husband is anguished over wife's long-ago assault

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My wife and I have been happily married for 26 years. We have raised two terrific daughters. I continue to struggle with an event that happened while we were still dating.

While at a business conference, my wife (girlfriend at the time) was sexually assaulted by a client.

She was concerned about the impact on her career, her reputation and the public nature of reporting the crime. He was also deemed to have very powerful friends across the industry that would protect him. She made the very difficult decision not to pursue this individual for his crime, and was able to resolve the suffering and pain he caused.

While I fully supported (and still do) my wife's decision not to proceed, I was torn by the fact that a man was (and is) walking the streets unaware or indifferent to the agony and suffering he caused.

For years, I have buried these conflicting feelings, however with all of the recent coverage of sexual harassment -- these feelings have resurfaced, and my desire for justice grows louder every day

I have seen a counselor, and he has been helpful. I persistently worry: How am I going to protect my daughters when I wasn't able to assist their mother?

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Amy, I am struggling to reconcile my promise to my wife with my overwhelming desire to see some form of justice served. I feel an intense sense of rage and agonize over his ability to get away with his crime.

I will not break my vow to my wife, as I realize that she is the one who has endured the real trauma. I realize there is no easy answer.

-- Still Struggling

Dear Struggling: Here is a quote from Pema Chodron: "Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know."


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