DEAR ABBY: I am a 14-year-old girl. My brother molested me. It happened only once, but since then he has twice offered me money to help him with his "fixation." He had a girlfriend for a few years and they had sex all the time. After they broke up, his next relationship lasted for only a few months before she broke it off. That's when he turned to me.
I haven't told anyone because I'm ashamed of myself. I don't want people to find out -- especially my friends. I'm afraid they'll think I'm gross or something. What should I do? -- 'TOY' IN INDIANA
DEAR 'TOY': What happened wasn't your fault. You have done nothing to be ashamed of. The person who should be ashamed is your brother. His "fixation" is sick, and he should not be trying to make you a part of it.
It is important that you get help. Your friends do not have to know. Tell your mother what happened. If she minimizes what your brother did, then pick up the phone and call your local rape hotline, or the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (R.A.I.N.N.) -- 800-656-HOPE (4673). The people there will understand the seriousness of what happened and will help you during this difficult time. Please don't wait. Trust me, you are not as alone as you think you are.
DEAR ABBY: What is the protocol for avoiding a co-worker's third wedding? Everyone in our office was invited to her second one, a large, catered affair. We all knew the marriage wouldn't last because she was marrying a jobless, irresponsible parasite.
She is again marrying for the wrong reasons. She admits she doesn't love her fiance, but he provides security and takes care of her two sons from her first marriage, both of whom have problems she can't handle.
I don't plan to attend, so am I obligated to send a gift? She's having another large wedding, she says, because they need money for the house they just bought. -- DISGUSTED IN DETROIT
DEAR DISGUSTED: You are under no obligation to give your co-worker a gift if you do not attend her fund-raiser. Since you have to work with the woman, consider sending a lovely greeting card or token gift along with your good wishes.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 13-year-old girl. I baby-sit for a family with three children. I watch them twice a week from after school until the mother arrives home from work. Lately, the kids have been involved in sports and after-school activities, so some weeks I am not needed.
Yesterday when I arrived, there sat the mother. She had taken the day off from work and didn't notify me. I'm afraid if I bring up the fact that I never know whether or not I should go to watch the kids, I'll lose my job. (Of course, when I don't baby-sit, I don't get paid.) I would appreciate any advice you have. -- GETTING FRUSTRATED
DEAR GETTING FRUSTRATED: It's time to expand your client roster. It appears you are being taken for granted and taken advantage of. For the mother to expect you to reserve a bloc of time and then not pay for it is inconsiderate and unfair. I recommend you institute a 24-hour cancellation policy. If you allot time to baby-sit someone's children, you should be paid for that time unless properly notified. Experienced, responsible baby sitters aren't easy to find.
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