DEAR ABBY: I recently moved to Texas and met my teenage niece for the first time. After I got there I learned she had been molested by her mother's father at the age of 3. He had also molested her mother when she was a child. "Grandpa" is currently serving a life sentence in prison.
Abby, my niece has some issues. Her parents caught her sexting twice that I know of and took her phone away for a period of time. She was also accused of touching her 8-year-old niece and was ordered to knock it off.
She told me she showers with her mother and asked to shower with me. When I refused, she became abusive. When I tried to tell my brother she needs professional help, he told me to mind my own business.
If I report this, I risk never seeing anyone in my family again, but I love my niece and I'm afraid for her. Her mother has already limited my contact with her, and I'm afraid Mom needs help as much as my niece. Please help. None of this makes sense to me. Why won't they get her help? -- DESPERATELY NEEDS HELP
DEAR DESPERATELY: They won't get help because it appears that in their lives inappropriate sexual behavior may have become an ingrained family affair. You are right that the mother needs as much help as your niece, and your brother should not be covering for his wife. You should report what's going on to child protective services. While you probably won't be thanked for it, you may be able to interrupt the cycle of incest and molestation.
DEAR ABBY: I have a great-paying job telecommuting. I know the idea of sitting around in pajamas all day seems wonderful, but I'm going stir crazy.
I live in a very small town with no fancy co-share offices or trendy coffee shops. There's one fast-food place that allows 20 minutes of internet use, but that's about it. How can I stay productive and motivated and not feel so much like a hermit crab? By Friday, I don't want to be at home anymore. -- GOING CRAZY AT HOME
DEAR GOING CRAZY: If there is another telecommuter in your town, perhaps you could compare notes with him or her. If your problem is getting an internet connection or finding Wi-Fi, consider using the public library as an additional site from which to work. That way, you wouldn't be trapped in your home feeling so isolated. If there isn't one in your community, ask your boss if you can change your schedule occasionally. This might allow you to take breaks and do something like take a powerwalk, which would put you in contact with other human beings.
For most people, work involves more than labor -- there is also a social component involved. If that kind of stimulation/interaction is what you're craving, you may have to change jobs.
DEAR READERS: Have a very happy, healthy and safe Fourth of July, everyone! -- LOVE, ABBY