DEAR ABBY: I can't stop thinking about the letter from the girl whose boyfriend threatened to kill her parents if she breaks up with him.
When my cousin was 14, her parents forced her to break up with a boy who was too old for her. His solution was to shoot her and himself. She survived but was left a paraplegic.
Your advice to that girl was right on. You advised her to tell her parents immediately. That way, they can take the necessary precautions. The girl should not assume that her own life is safe. Logic has nothing to do with obsession, and that boy is clearly obsessed. -- CONCERNED IN CANTON, GA.
DEAR CONCERNED: When I printed that letter, I thought it was unusual. To my dismay, I have a bushel of mail and e-mail on my desk that proves otherwise. Read on for a sample:
DEAR ABBY: Your advice to "Anonymous in Fort Myers, Fla." was correct. When I was a teen, my best friend was also dating a controlling guy her parents weren't too sure about. He raped her, but she stayed with him anyway.
When she became pregnant, he beat her almost to death. She lost the baby and very nearly her life. Please let that girl know how important it is for that guy to be out of her and her family's lives. -- LORI IN FORT BELVOIR, VA.
DEAR LORI: You're right. If the young man would threaten the lives of her parents because he wasn't getting his way, it doesn't take a large leap of logic to conclude that at some point, he could turn on her. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Lifelong sufferers of domestic violence often begin that sad journey as teenagers, tolerating violent behavior from boyfriends. The boy in that letter isn't the only one who has mental problems. So does the girl. If her first serious relationship is with a boy as psychotic as that one and her problems are not addressed, she will continue to think that kind of behavior is normal. -- LONGTIME READER IN KANSAS
DEAR LONGTIME READER: Good point. Furthermore, the girl's first priority must be to protect her family.
DEAR ABBY: I was 17 when I tried to break off with a jealous and controlling boy like that one. He hinted that our house would not be safe, but I told no one. If I had turned him in, many lives would have turned out better.
About 10 years later, my mom saw him on television in a jail interview. He had raped more than 50 young women.
"Anonymous" should also tell her school counselor and the police about his threats in case his anger turns toward her. His parents also need to be told so they can get him the help he needs. -- SAN DIEGO READER
DEAR READER: I agree with that.
DEAR ABBY: I was in her shoes between the ages of 16 and 18. My boyfriend told me if I didn't move in with him, he'd kill my parents. So I moved in. It was pure hell. He broke my wrist, cracked my ribs, bruised me frequently -– for the rest of my life, I'll have scars as painful daily reminders.
She cannot change him. He may say he'd never hurt her, but she should listen to the threats he is already making. She must get him out of her life. I learned this firsthand. My former boyfriend is now in prison for killing his 9-month-old daughter. -- STILL RECOVERING IN OHIO
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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