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To Sam

Inappropriate touching / sexual abuse

Dear sam,

since my friend was a little girl her grandad has always nibbled her ears or licked them as he goes to kiss her cheek but makes it look like he's just giving her a slobbery kiss & whenever he hugs her he holds her tight so she can't move from his grip and sometimes hits her bum or touches her thigh.

Is this sexual abuse or is this normal? It sounds wrong but it seems to be how he is with all his grandchildren, help please?

Ask Sam



Thank you for your letter. I can hear how worried you are about what your friend’s grandad is doing.

You ask a really good question when you ask ‘is this sexual abuse or is it normal’. Sometimes abusers will get away with inappropriate behaviour for so long that people may think it is normal or acceptable. But it isn’t. It’s important to trust your instincts. Anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable or nervous about the way they touch you or kiss you is wrong and they should stop what they are doing. If you ask them to stop and they don’t we do suggest you immediately tell an adult you trust about how you feel.

How would it be to start by talking to your friend about how she feels about her grandad’s behaviour? It’s worth thinking carefully about when would be a good time to talk to her. She might be surprised or upset by your questions, or she might be relieved to be asked.

If your friend is unhappy with how her grandad touches her then you could help her talk to an adult she trusts. If she doesn’t want to do that, but you still feel worried, then it’s important to talk things through with an adult who can support you. Think about talking to a parent or maybe your teacher. You could tell them what you have seen and how you feel about it and explain that you're worried your friend and the other grandchildren aren’t safe.

If you are unsure about the way someone touches you, then the Underwear rule can be useful for working out when to speak up. It’s aimed at younger children, but the rules still apply whatever age you are.
Remember, if you or your friend would like to talk a counsellor about what’s happening and how it makes you feel, you are very welcome to get in touch. You can call 0800 1111 (free call) or you log in for a 1-2-1 chat or send an email.
Take care,


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