DEAR ABBY: I have just been through the worst experience in my life. I am a 22-year-old woman who was robbed in the apartment I share with a friend, who was away for the weekend. I spent 14 hours bound and gagged. I have tape marks and rope burns on my legs and shoulders. Yes, I actually opened my door to a stranger thinking it was the maintenance man from the complex. A couple (man and woman) pushed themselves in and held me at knifepoint. I am petite and was no match for either.
They wanted money, bank and credit cards, which I willingly gave them. They told me they'd have to tie me up. (That actually relieved me since I figured they would have no need to hurt me and, being fairly agile, I could eventually work myself loose.) Well, they proceeded to bind my hands behind me with duct tape, and bind my legs and feet with rope. They taped my mouth and wound the remaining yards of duct tape around my entire body. For good measure, they plopped me face-down on a bed and bound my hands and feet together so I couldn't even stretch out. That's how I spent the next 14 hours. I did not attempt to roll off the bed for fear of breaking a limb, and though I struggled from time to time, I knew it was hopeless.
When my roommate finally returned, I was as tightly bound as ever. She needed scissors and a knife to get me free -- and it still took 20 minutes.
Abby, I am telling you all this partially to get it out of my system and also to warn your readers about opening doors to strangers. I am so embarrassed, I haven't even told my family, but I sure have learned my lesson. Sign me ... HOMEBOUND IN PHILADELPHIA
DEAR HOMEBOUND: Thank you for writing to describe your nightmarish experience in order to warn others. Although you didn't mention doing so, I hope you reported this serious crime to the police, even though you have not informed your family.
You may also need someone with whom you can talk this out. An excellent resource for this would be a victims' rights or victims' support group. They are as close as your local phone directory.
Readers, I hope you have instructed your children never to open the door to strangers. Now vow to use that advice yourselves.