Then it was my turn to say my piece.
I expressed my apprehensions about why I felt that Dick and I shouldn’t share joint custody of Ashley.
In a nutshell, it was because Dick wasn’t willing to listen to anything I had to say, would disagree just to be difficult, didn’t feel he had to tell me anything and felt he could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, with whomever he wanted and no one would tell him otherwise.
I also had a major concern about letting Ashley be left unsupervised with Dick overnight. A few years prior to our deciding to divorce, he developed the habit of walking around naked in front of the children. This was not something our kids were exposed to (pun intended!) their whole lives. In fact, until Ashley entered puberty, Dick was very modest. Around the time that Ashley’s body started to change, so did Dick’s demeanor.
I’m not talking about letting his guard down (and everything else) sporadically or unintentionally. His actions were deliberate. He made sure the kids got full view of his family jewels. *In his case, it’s all costume jewelry and not worth much.
He routinely went into Ashley’s room while she was laying in bed before she got up in the morning, stood by her pillow in his birthday suit and carried on small talk with her. He also developed the habit of barging in on her while she was taking a bath claiming to need something out of the vanity or to ask her a question. Obviously he could have waited until she was done.
Repeatedly I told him to stop. Josh told him to put some clothes on because it was disgusting. On the other hand, Ashley never said a word.
She’s the type of person that would avoid confrontation at all costs. She never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings or have them be angry with her. Therefore, Dick proceeded to expose himself and ignored Josh and me completely. I continuously prayed that he wouldn’t cross the line any further.
On several occasions I brought up the subject of inappropriate sexual behavior with Ashley and requested that she come to me if she was asked or told to do something that was not right. She brushed these conversations off and told me that nothing happened and that it wouldn’t.
When I filed for divorce, I brought up this issue with my attorney. He spoke to Dick’s lawyer about this, who then told Dick he needed to dress appropriately around the kids immediately. Dick took his counsel’s advice. However, a grown man, a medical professional– no less, should have known better.
I knew he was only controlling himself because he was being watched very closely and he knew if he crossed the line, there would have been a high price to pay.
So what did the mediator say about all this?
In a nutshell, she said that the judge wouldn’t feel this was any reason to keep Dick from having Ashley stay with him overnight. However, I could request that when Ashley would be in Dick’s charge that she have her own room with a lock on the door.
Having gotten everything out in the open, the next step would be for Dick, the mediator and I to meet together.
She asked me if I would feel safe discussing things in front of Dick. I told her that I would but I didn’t know what repercussions would happen once we left her office.
She also informed me that if she would see that things wouldn’t be progressing in a positive manner, she would stop the session and inform the judge of her findings.
Wrapping our session up, she felt that it would be worth the effort to try to see how things would go.
Easy for her to say! When the session would be over, it would be over for her!
Me, on the other hand???