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Dear Little Bobby,
My aunt remarried a couple of years ago to a very religious guy she barely knew. None of us can stand the guy. They have both become even more rabidly evangelical. At first he seemed friendly, but he talks about himself constantly and hugs me and my daughters for an uncomfortably long length of time, if you know what I mean? I have spoken to him about it, but he keeps doing it. He gives off a very creepy vibe. Other women, from church and work, have even told my aunt that he makes them very uncomfortable as well. I am scared for my aunt. I don’t know how to help her.
—”Bad Touch Uncle” Creeps Me Out
Dear Creeped Out,
Your gut feeling and instincts need to be acknowledged. I am not suggesting that you or anyone reading this who has a creepy uncle needs to accuse them of being a child molester, but if he is making you feel uncomfortable, start with acknowledging that. The fact that other women are bringing this up as well suggests to me that there is a “there” there. I am not claiming to know what is going on, but the fact that something COULD be going on is exactly the problem.
Since you are a mother, I trust your instincts and I trust you to trust those very same instincts as well. Perhaps your aunt has cut herself off from her own feelings, her own instincts, and that part of her brain that uses logic. Extreme religious beliefs often do that to people. I have had to deal with religious fanaticism myself, up close and personal, for many years. It is a cult-like mentality which is very frustrating to interact with.
What the hell are you waiting for? The Rapture?
If you are getting a “very creepy vibe” off this guy, if other women are saying he makes them “very uncomfortable,” if you are “scared for” your aunt, then what the hell are you waiting for? The Rapture? I would suggest that you immediately intervene. Do so with realistic expectations. Just because you speak up to your aunt doesn’t mean she will divorce the creep, but at a minimum you need to stop implicating yourself and your own daughters in his behavior and her willful blindness.
To begin with, keep your children away from this man—far away—meaning no holidays, no phone calls, no Facebook, no hugs, nothing. This is, first and foremost, to protect your daughters. Now to protect yourself, I would speak directly to him, again. You said you have spoken to him about this already and he keeps doing it. Tell him directly what the problem is, AGAIN. Tell him that he makes you uncomfortable and that he has directly violated your wishes.
However, since you have already spoken to him about this, I would not expect him to listen. So go further. Have you done a background check on this creep? I mean…seriously. Other women are telling your aunt about his skeevy ways? AND the way he touches your daughters creeps you out? Run a damn background check on him. They are easy to do. Companies like Good Hire are geared toward servicing small business, but they also offer “personal background checks.” For a small fee they will search sex offender databases, criminal records and more. Other companies like eNannySource are focused on background checks on people who are being considered for childcare positions—but they will also perform a check on any new, creepy, fanatically religious family member. It could easily be worth your time and money.
Keep in mind though, if a background check comes back as “clean,” that should not override your instinct that this loser should be kept away from your daughters.
Then comes the unpleasant conversation with your aunt. It needs to happen. I suggest telling her of your concerns, and that you and your children will not be around him any more. You probably already know whether the relationship your have with your aunt will allow the two of you to honestly communicate with each other, including your concern for her well-being. However, if she truly is in denial about how others feel, there might not be much of a conversation to be had. If that is the case, simply tell her again why you cannot be around him, and that if she stays with him, then you cannot be around either of them. Life is too short to tolerate being creeped out by people in your own family.
—Little Bobby Tucker
“Gonna tell Aunt Mary ’bout Uncle John” —Little Richard, “Long Tall Sally” 1956