Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I am working as a health care aide. Where I am working now I love my job, but the lady's husband is touching me inappropriately. I don't like that but I don't know how to tell him to stop. I can't quit my job because I really need the work. I am someone who is really shy about saying anything to anybody. Please tell me what to do. I am freaking out.
DEAR WORRIED: I understand that when you are shy, it seems impossible to confront someone, even if he is doing something bad.
Please -- tell other people about this. Friends, family members -- or anyone else you can think of. The more people who know about this, the braver you will feel because of their support. Part of this man's power is in the secrecy and silence. You will take these away from him by telling other people about it, even if you can't manage to confront him directly.
If you work for a company, you must tell your supervisor about this. Your company cannot put you in the home of someone who will assault you. It should find another assignment for you.
In the meantime, whenever you are working in this home, do everything possible to avoid being alone with this man. Keep your phone with you at all times. The number for the National Sexual Assault Hotline is: 800-656-4673. Program this into your phone and call if you feel nervous. A phone counselor can help.
DEAR AMY: I'm really not asking a question as much as I am commenting. This past summer I received an invitation to a baby shower that was to be held 1,500 miles from where I live. I have only met the expectant mother twice in my life, but she is the daughter of a much-loved nephew so I spent some time and money putting together a gift to send. I put care and thought into several items, which I then mailed at the cost of $18. I almost missed the thank-you I received because it was one line written on Facebook. I believe it to be a sad commentary on our times that a young woman, with plenty of time on her hands, could not make the effort to sit down and write, on paper, a sincere thank-you. I love today's technology but firmly believe it should not replace good old-fashioned manners.
DEAR FRUSTRATED: I agree with you, naturally. I do sense a slight uptick in the practice of writing and sending cards and letters, however (I hope I'm right about that). Could this be because the same technology that makes it so easy for us to connect also denies us the ability to touch, hold and tape a card or note onto the refrigerator? My feedback for people who don't write notes is: Paper and a stamp! It's authentic! It's artisanal! Handwritten notes are cool and impressive -- and they make people smile.
DEAR AMY: "Feeling Abandoned" was a young man who wrote in because he'd been trying to re-establish a relationship with his dad, who had remarried a controlling woman. The wife had kicked all of the father's kids out of the household. The young man said his dad was no longer responding to phone calls, emails, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if the second wife is making sure the dad never gets those messages. The young man should try other avenues, like visiting in person, as you suggested.
DEAR SADDENED: The scenario described by "Feeling Abandoned" contained some classic hallmarks of an abusive relationship. I agree with you that there is every possibility that the spouse was denying access to Abandoned's father. Or the spouse had a way of making the dad so miserable whenever he received or responded to contact with any of his children that the father simply had stopped responding in an effort to "keep the peace." I was moved by this letter from a young adult who desperately wanted his father in his life. I hope he finds a way to visit his father and try to keep the connection alive.