Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sexual Assault at Christmastime

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My brother’s friend did sexual things to me against my will. He threatened me, if I tell on him. No one else was home, except him

He’s been at our house alone with me lots of times before and nothing ever happened. He’s been my brother’s friend forever. 

I’m 13 and I’ve never been sexual with anyone. Was I raped? I took a shower afterwards. I know you’re not supposed to do that, but I was crying and I have bruises.

I’m scared to tell my family. They won’t believe me. My family knows I’ve had a crush on him.
He said he’d hurt my family if I told anyone. I’m so depressed. 

I also don’t want to ruin Christmas for everyone. 

Scared Sister

Dear Scared,

You’re the victim, and we’re so sorry. Sexual assault may create trauma for you and last well into your future, Christmastime or not.

Sexual assault means any unwanted or forced sexual activity done to you by manipulation, coercion, or force, and may include molestation, rape, incest, and sexual abuse. It’s a crime and an act of violence. 

Just because you showered doesn’t mean you don’t have evidence of his attack. Get pictures of your bruises immediately.  

Abusers commonly use threats and fear tactics. Your abuser is counting on your fear … fear that your family won’t believe you or they may be harmed. If your family doesn’t believe you, still report his actions to the police. 

Your attacker is also trying to use your attraction to him as a shame factor. You’ve done nothing to deserve any violence or sexual attack. Don’t let anyone shame you for being attracted to your brother’s friend. You are innocent and he’s the criminal.

This is a horrific offense and needs to be told now. Don’t wait until after the holidays. It could easily happen again to you or others. 

As difficult as it feels to you, stand tall and have direct eye contact when telling your family members. And when you appear before your attacker in court, don’t have eye contact with him. He’ll likely try to intimidate you.

You didn’t choose to be a victim, but you can choose not to stay one. It takes heroic courage to report this kind of maltreatment. We encourage you to be your own hero.
Advocate for yourself because it will help you heal emotionally and you’ll be a great example to others. 

Also, remember this, sexual violence usually increases around the holidays. You can still be strong and stand tall against this wrong.

Our prayers are with you. 

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Modesty isn't only about clothing

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’m a lot older than my wife who’s 39. We have two teenage daughters.

Everything I say causes the girls to accuse me of being old-fashioned, “Daaaaad, no one thinks like that now.”

Our girls dress in revealing clothes, to the point that I can see half their bodies. Everything is too tight, too short, too transparent, and too much. They should be embarrassed.

My wife dresses in a classy way and has a classy demeanor. She doesn’t show everything off to everyone. She’s humble about her talents and beauty.

My wife said they’ll grow out of this stage. She says most Millennial teens are the same way.
She’s also a Millennial and I’m a baby-boomer, who wasn’t a hippie. Am I just an “old-fashioned” white guy?

Baby-boomer Dad

Dear Dad, 

Being a “white guy” doesn’t have anything to do with modesty. 

Also, the most recent definition of the Millennial time frame, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are Americans born between 1982 and 2000. Technically, your wife isn’t a true Millennial. Today’s youth doesn’t like being lumped in with the negative connotations of Millennials.

However, it doesn’t matter what generation you come from, modesty still means the same in appearance and character. 

A few definitions of modesty include much more than modest dressing. Modesty: Being reserved, moderate, having humility and self-effacement. Being unpretentious and living with simplicity are also common descriptions. 

One of our favorite definitions of modesty is having propriety in dress, speech, and conduct.
Many people, young and mature, struggle with the lack of modesty and inappropriate clothing and behavior. It seems to go hand in hand.

Since the attire revolution of the 1960’s, there’s been a scarcity of modest dressing and manners.
Having decency, politeness and respectability are all associated with civility and modesty. The acceptance of immodesty on all levels, contrasts with our definition of civility: Care, consideration, and having courtesy.

It’s worth noting that it’s rare to see the private parts of boys and men through their clothing. 

Sometimes, women’s clothing shows all of a woman’s body. It doesn’t necessarily mean that women are trying to be sexually attractive, however. But it can be sexually attractive and distracting. 

The Supreme Court’s definition of modesty (for women) is: “The essence of a woman’s modesty is her sex.” This definition doesn’t seem to provide enough clarity. 

We do hope the pendulum will swing to a moderate degree regarding appearance. We do encourage an increase of civility in the way many people conduct and display their behavior.

Your concerns are valid. Kudos.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Marijuana use and entitled kids: a dangerous combination

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

Our daughter was suspended from school due to her smoking pot on campus. Surprise! She’s been smoking pot for two years and argues it’s not bad for her.

We’ve never allowed any drug use. 

She rolled her eyes at us and said everyone smokes pot: cheerleaders, athletes, intellectuals and even teachers.

My husband made the mistake of telling her that he smoked pot in high school, but once he was in college, he said he couldn’t think and function well enough. 

She called her dad a hypocrite, slammed her bedroom door shut, and put up – Keep Out! 

We tried giving her space, but she’s rude to us.

Mom of a Pot Smoker 

Dear Mom,

Who’s setting the boundaries in your family? Who decides and enforces consequences for not obeying rules and the law?

Rolling her eyes is very disrespectful, manipulating your husband’s past mistakes to her advantage is disrespectful, and along with punishing you with her consequences … it shows how she is the entitled ruler. 

Some consequences of marijuana use:

  • Researchers have found THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol — marijuana's main psychoactive (mind altering) ingredient and concentrated resin active ingredients – have risen 4 times in potency from 1995 
  • Conversely, cannabidiol — a claimed health benefit ingredient – decreased in potency 80 times since 1995
  • Several studies have linked marijuana to psychiatric disorders: psychosis (schizophrenia), depression, and anxiety
  • Marijuana has an enzyme that affects dopamine and can increase phobias
  • Research shows marijuana usage during teen and young adult years can cause permanent adverse changes in the brain: loss of memory, learning and impulse control damage
  • A large longitudinal study in New Zealand found marijuana usage in adolescence resulted in an average loss of 6 to 8 IQ points and this may not be repairable
  • Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke harms the throat and lungs, contains levels of volatile chemicals and “tar” causing rising concerns about cancer and lung disease. Even edible forms of marijuana has many chemicals and tars that are high risk health hazards

However, what we’re most concerned about is the entitlement attitude that your daughter seems to have, causing her to think she’s above laws, rules, and family union.

Write your consequences down, get an agreement signed by her, and absolutely follow the consequences. If she will not follow your rules and consequences, get her and your family additional help with therapy and drug – alcohol classes. 

Again, persistence, consistency and enduring to the end are the best ingredients for families.
We wish you the best of luck.


Rhonda and Dr. Cheri