My friend’s husband made an unwanted move on me

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 80s. I’ve lost my husband and son, and I live alone. But I somehow manage to go about my daily life without the help of others. The other day, something happened to me out of the blue.

I have a friend in the next town whom I have known since I was a child. My friend and her husband are in their 70s, and they often bring vegetables to my house.

The other day, my friend’s husband came to my house alone in the afternoon. As he walked in the gate and handed me vegetables, he suddenly said, “I’m so frustrated” and hugged me. I shuddered, struggled to get him off me and drove him out the gate of my house.

I asked the police to keep an eye on me and double-locked the gate. I confided only in my younger sister about this occurrence, but not to the friend because we are like family, and it could cause an uproar if she knew about this. But my heart is not at peace.

Is it true friendship to let my friend know the truth, or should I keep quiet and try to forget about this? Can you please give me some advice?

— N, Fukuoka Prefecture

Dear Ms. N:

I am very sorry to hear that you have had such a thing happen to you. The act of the friend’s husband could be considered indecency through compulsion. I think it was wise to ask the police to watch over you, but I wonder that maybe what he did is not being treated as a crime.

Now, as to whether you should tell your friend about it, I think you have to.

I am sure that your friend and her husband will continue to visit your house with vegetables. Can you keep your composure since she doesn’t know what’s going on? Wouldn’t her husband see your attitude and think he was forgiven? Or he may interpret it more selfishly: You didn’t mind it.

When you confide in your friend, be sure to mention your request to the police and your feelings about what he did. You never know what will happen to your friend’s life as a result. Depending on how things turn out, it could end your long friendship with her.

However, I feel this choice is more appropriate for you than trying to hold yourself back and forget. Even though your husband and son have predeceased you, you’ve tried your best on your own without help, and I hope that you will continue to lead an honest life with nothing to hide.

—Yoko Sanuki, lawyer