DEAR ABBY: I'm the mother of two boys who are 12 and 13. The letter from "Terrified for My Niece in the Southwest" (Feb. 16) horrified me. The aunt who wrote the letter said her sister "bragged" about how popular her 14-year-old daughter is because she gives oral sex to the boys. Is this the kind of girl my sons are exposed to at school?
I know kids are curious and experiment at this age, but it's disturbing that the mother of this girl doesn't see that her actions are dangerous and can lead to more serious sexual situations. If she were my niece, I would speak up and let Mom know exactly how I felt in hopes that she would recognize how inappropriate her daughter's actions are. Pregnancy can become a harsh reality to a parent who was blind to the seriousness of her child's actions. -- YVETTE IN RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CALIF.
DEAR YVETTE: Thank you for writing. Many readers were equally disturbed by that letter, and a few even questioned its authenticity. I spoke to the aunt who wrote the letter. She verified that she had written it and everything she said was true. Perhaps the following responses will serve as a wake-up call for teens and parents:
DEAR ABBY: I have been a criminal investigator for more than 38 years and can state with certainty that having sex with Naomi is a felony in most, if not all, states, particularly if the boy is over the age of 16. At 14, this girl is not able to give consent. What is happening is considered an act of rape, even if it is voluntary on her part.
Someone needs to intervene now before some "innocent" boy gets charged with a crime. I've handled too many cases where boys have been charged with rape when the girl gets angry at him for almost no reason. The welfare of all the children is at stake! -- "SNOOPER" IN WISCONSIN
DEAR ABBY: This letter literally makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I think about a mother who would actually brag about something like this to family and do nothing about it. That mother is in desperate need of counseling, and Naomi is in desperate need of guidance because, obviously, she's not getting any from her mom. I wonder if her dad has any idea what's going on? -- A MOM IN GREAT FALLS, MONT.
DEAR ABBY: "Terrified's" niece is being sexually abused. It would be particularly egregious if her partners are 18 or older. For her mother to crow about her daughter's exploits makes her an unfit parent. "Terrified" needs to take a firm stand with her sister, and if she is ignored, the authorities should be contacted. -- MIKE IN NEW YORK
DEAR ABBY: This girl's mother is abdicating her responsibilities as a parent and indirectly condoning and encouraging her daughter's promiscuous behavior. The emotional damage could be irreparable. Naomi is being used and abused by any young man with whom she is involved. The aunt should talk to her sister and, if there is a father in the house, he needs to know about his daughter.
In my opinion, that mother wants her daughter to be popular for all the wrong reasons. Mom sounds like someone who sat on the sidelines in high school and never understood that what makes a person popular is the ability to carry on an intelligent conversation, get good grades, provide community service and so on. Pity! -- BARBARA IN KALAMAZOO, MICH.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)