DEAR ABBY: When I was younger, I got in trouble with the law and spent a couple of years in prison. Because of my slight build and good looks, I received unwanted attention from several of my fellow inmates. It was very traumatic, and it took years of therapy after I was released to come to terms with what happened to me.
I now have a job that I love, but recently the company hired one of the men who raped me in prison. This is upsetting because he recognized me and gives me this horrible smile every time our paths at work cross. I don't know what to do because I really need this job, and if I were to quit, I wouldn't find one in this area that would pay me half as much as I get now. I can't just up and move because I have to care for my mother, whose health is failing. What can I do? -- MANHANDLED IN MICHIGAN
DEAR MANHANDLED: It's a pity your attacker was released from prison, because someone like him belongs behind bars permanently. Obviously, your employer is one who believes in giving convicts a second chance. I think you should tell your boss exactly what you have told me. If I were your employer, I would want to know so that I could either get rid of that employee, or arrange that your paths never cross again.
DEAR ABBY: My husband is a college professor. His department wanted the faculty to have Web pages with a "personal" touch, so they ordered each faculty member to have a photograph taken to post on them. If they chose not to display their own pictures, they could post a picture of something they like or that represents their particular field of study.
My husband decided to post a picture of Michelangelo's "David" on his Web page. I just about flipped when I saw it. I asked him why he chose that one, and he had numerous excuses, none of them to my satisfaction.
My husband does not teach anything remotely tied to the "David," Michelangelo, art, Italy, Renaissance history, etc. The closest he comes to it is he teaches summer school in Europe and recruits students for his classes over there. I told him he should be promoting his program, not this.
I am not a prude. I've been to Florence and have seen the statue. It's a fabulous art treasure, and I can see why it's famous. I guess my biggest concern is that my husband might be bisexual, and this is his subconscious way of saying so. He hasn't given me any other reason to believe it, but I can't imagine any other reason why a normal heterosexual man would have this picture "represent" himself. Can you please give me your thoughts on this? -- WORRIED WIFE
DEAR WORRIED: You didn't mention your husband's reasons for posting the picture, so I can't evaluate whether they make sense to me. Because his school had no objection to his selection of artwork, I'd say you are overreacting.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder -- and so is evil. Michelangelo's "David" represents the ideal of perfection in the male physique. Perhaps your husband chose that image because he wishes that's the way he looked -- or not. Would you have been equally suspicious if a female professor had used a picture of the "Venus de Milo"? Sometimes a picture is only a picture.
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