DEAR ABBY: I just finished reading a newspaper article describing the arrest and plea bargain of a man who has been sexually abusing his daughter since before she could walk.
As I watch my young son toddling around the house, I don't want to face the future. Will I always have to worry about a sex deviant hurting him?
I am starting to be paranoid -- second-guessing everyone's motive for smiling at him. Between the church scandals and parents who harm their own, I am afraid to leave my son anywhere. The thought that someone out there would hurt precious children breaks my heart.
I don't understand how this happens. Please tell me where are the mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents? Do they close their eyes and ears, or is it so insidious that no one notices? -- HEARTSICK ON LONG ISLAND
DEAR HEARTSICK: It's impossible to generalize because each case is different. Your fears are normal, but should not be allowed to distort your view of the world.
Teach your son while he is very young that you will listen to him. He also needs to be taught proper boundaries -- that NO ONE has the right to touch him inappropriately. And further, that he can confide ANYTHING to you without fear of punishment.