Long-hidden rape haunts her again

Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: My ex-husband and I had a tumultuous relationship. One night 21 years ago, he was drunk (the norm for him) and became very physical sexually. I tried to fight him off, but he raped me. I was injured and not able to go to work the next day. I never brought it up again until this past year. I am now happily married to another man (18 years). My ex and I have tried to be friends because of our children and grandchildren. Suddenly, my ex divorced his wife and started calling me "just to talk." Then he started in with how much he still loved me! I told him that I would not accept his calls if he continued with this sort of talk. One day he called -- drunk as usual. I finally told him I didn't want to have contact with him because he had raped me. I've never told anyone about this incident. Now I am angry. To make this even worse, he is denying it. He told our two adult children about my accusation and told them I am crazy. He had no right to discuss this with them. I have anger issues now, partly because my children still seem to want to be around him. I almost feel betrayed because they know their father raped me. How do I get over this? How do I feel close to my children again?--Confused

DEAR CONFUSED: Much of what you are experiencing is common to sexual assault survivors. The anger and hurt have bubbled up. You cannot avoid these feelings; you must deal with them.

Your ex-husband is still trying to control you (by disclosing this to your kids and continuing to contact you when you have told him not to). The statute of limitations may have passed on a rape charge, but if he persists, you should get a restraining order.

Seek professional help. A therapist will guide you through your anger and sadness.

You cannot control your kids' choice to have a relationship with their father. He may be a rapist (and a drunk), but he is their father, and that is their problem to deal with, not yours.