Ask Amy: They attacked me over my innocent dating preference

DEAR AMY: I would classify myself as a
generally nice, nonjudgmental friend. I tend to lean toward being a
“fixer,” but I have never been called rude, judgmental, or
mean.

Columnist
Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune) 

Recently I was having what I thought was a benign conversation
with a group of friends. I expressed my viewpoint that I wouldn’t
want to date a person who was super into spectator sports. This was
met with anger, disbelief, and harsh criticism.

I always try to give my friends the benefit of the doubt and
accept their opinions (even if I don’t agree), but now I’m
feeling judged and outed for not fitting into the group’s
majority opinion on this topic.

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I want to bring up how I’m feeling and address the larger issue
(I don’t care so much about the opinion itself as I do the
reaction), but I want to make sure I’m not creating more
hostility. How would you go about this?

Feeling Judged

DEAR FEELING: It’s best to respond (if
possible, with humor) in the moment: “Whoa, ease up, guys. I feel
like I’m on a bad Tinder date, here!”

After the fact, you can express: “I’ve been thinking a lot
about this, and while I respect that we don’t agree on some
things, I left our last meeting feeling like you all really piled
on.”

DEAR AMY: Over 20 years ago, my middle
school-aged younger sibling was violently sexually assaulted by the
adult son of my parents’ best friends.

When my sibling told me about it, I convinced my sibling to tell
our mother, assuming she would do the right thing. But alas! Not
only did my mother refuse to take any action, she forbade either
one of us from telling anyone: the cops, our school counselors,
even our dad.

I live with great shame that I obeyed and did nothing more to
help my sibling, but I was a minor as well, and didn’t know any
better.

Fast-forward two decades, and my sibling and I are well-adjusted
adults with loving spouses and wonderful families.

My spouse and I are active in the geek culture scene and attend
a few gaming/comic/geek conventions annually.

My sibling’s abuser is also a frequent patron of these events,
always alone (which is unusual in that scene). Every time I see
him, I want to run to the site security and tell them he’s a
predator, but legally I have no grounds to do so, since he’s
never been convicted or even charged for what he did.

Instead, I keep watch, to try to ensure that he’s not luring
some poor child off-site.

I can think of no other viable course of action. Can you?

Wrathful Geek

DEAR WRATHFUL: First, you should check and see
if this man is on the s*x offender registry. Each state maintains
one, and the FBI compiles these into a national database. Check
your state, or search using fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/s*x-offender-registry.
If he is on this list, you should absolutely notify the security
team at the convention site.

You should contact your sibling to see if they want to try to
pursue legal action against the perpetrator. Rainn.org offers
state-by-state information about the statute of limitations for
s****l crimes. Even after all this time, your sibling could choose
to try to report this attack to the police. Another option is to
try to sue for damages.

You and your spouse and/or your sibling could choose to
personally confront him. The safest option would be to reach out to
him through a private message. Tell him that you know what he did
to your sibling, and advise him that you don’t think it’s wise
or prudent for him to attend conventions where there are children
present. Do not threaten him.

You and your sibling should also talk about this — ideally
with a counselor. You are both survivors of an attack that
shattered your trust. I hope you can work this through,
understanding that when parents fail to protect or defend their
children, children are left to carry the burden.

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DEAR AMY: I believe your
suggestions to the anxious “Stressed”
fell short.

First of all, this anxious teenager should see a physician.

Secondly, there are many anonymous resources Stressed can
contact, and — depending on the level of anxiety — this might
be easiest.

Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: Thank you. My favorite
emergency resource these days is Crisis Text Line. Anyone in crisis
can text 741-741 and communicate with a counselor. Their number is
stored in my phone contacts.

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You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a
letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also
follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

Source: FS – All – Interesting – Lifestyle
Ask Amy: They attacked me over my innocent dating preference