DEAR ABBY: I am a 21-year-old Mormon girl who attended church every week until last March. I did not curse, drink or smoke, and I was a virgin. I was the "girl next door." I was respected for what I believed in and had many good friends.
In March my life was turned upside down. I was raped. I couldn't believe this happened to me, but it did. I couldn't tell anyone -- not my parents, not my church counselors, not my friends. My parents learned what had happened through the police.
I had filed a crime report, but I could not make myself sign the charges. The man who raped me wasn't charged since I didn't sign the papers, so he's walking around free to do it again.
I feel so used, so bad. I feel completely worthless, and I'm sure no one will ever want me. Because I couldn't face the church members, I quit going, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to attend worship services again. I feel too guilty to go back, although I know it wasn't my fault.
I'm trying to forget the rape and put that nightmare behind me so I can get on with my life.
Abby, I had always planned on being a virgin when I walked down the aisle. I didn't want this to happen, but it did, and now I don't know if I'm a virgin or not. I know this is a strange question, but I need to know. Please help me. -- RAPED VIRGIN
DEAR RAPED VIRGIN: You may no longer be a virgin, but because the act occurred against your will, the church may consider you still a virgin.
In time you may be able to face your church counselors to inquire; meanwhile, call your local rape hotline, or the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (R.A.I.N.N.) -- 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) -- to be referred to your nearest rape treatment center. They will understand your trauma and reach out to you in this time of emotional devastation. You are not alone -- it is estimated that every two minutes a woman is raped in this country.
Please don't delay; call the hotline TODAY. You've suffered enough.