DEAR ABBY: Last Sunday I attended church as usual. After the service, another woman and I started talking and the next thing I knew, we were having lunch together.
Over lunch, the other woman told me about her life. She said that as a child she had been molested by her father and when she refused his sexual advances, he started to malign her socially, emotionally and mentally. She no longer lives in the same town with him.
I have no experience or training as a relationship counselor, and found my tongue tied over her story. What should I have said to her? -- UNCOMFORTABLE IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: The proper response would have been to acknowledge that her youth had been very difficult, but that she's a survivor and you're glad she got away from her abuser.
It is unusual for someone to reveal that much to a stranger, and had the woman confided in me I would have asked if she'd had counseling to help her deal with it. If the answer was no, I'd have recommended she get it so she could lay her past to rest.