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I was shocked by the reason women say they are skipping family Christmas

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When it comes to enduring a stressful and toxic family Christmas I know I’m not the Lone Ranger. So, when I wrote an article about rejecting my traditional family Christmas in favour of creating more joyful Christmas rituals, I thought it might resonate.

What I didn’t expect was the common thread in almost all the stories people told me: sexual harassment and violence.

The risk of harassment by family members hangs over the day for some women.

The overwhelming reason the women who contacted me were anxious about their family Christmas and wished to avoid it was a fear and expectation that someone in their family would sexually harass them.

The stories ranged from sexually degrading comments from cousins and brothers-in-law, to the wandering hands of uncles, to being expected to shut up, smile, and break bread with the man who raped them.

“The first time I met my husband’s family, his brother 'meowed' at me for the duration of the dinner, all because I was wearing a pair of black pants and a black turtle neck top," one woman who has been putting up with sexual harassment for almost 20 years said.

"The next time I had the displeasure of seeing his creepy, sinister brother he stared at my boobs for the rest of the dinner.”

When this woman........

© Canberra Times