DEAR ABBY: I am a woman in my 30s. When I was in high school, a male teacher sexually abused me. After my parents and I went to the authorities about it, it became widely known. The teacher resigned, and the case was dismissed. However, like many high school students are, my peers were cruel and insisted it was my fault. Many of them seemed to think I had brought it on myself.
I have since received several years of therapy. I have moved on with my life, and I'm happy. I am being married in the fall, and I'm now a teacher myself, dedicated to protecting my students.
My high school reunion is coming up, and I'd like to go. I've lost track of several friends from high school, and I'd like to see "where everyone is at" in their lives.
My problem is I'm afraid to see the cruel people who made my life so difficult back then. I'm afraid they will bring up the subject. I want to forget about it and continue moving on with my life. What do you think I should do? -- FRIGHTENED BUT CURIOUS IN ILLINOIS
DEAR FRIGHTENED BUT CURIOUS: It's important that you remember that you are no longer the inexperienced young woman who was victimized by that sexual predator. Contact the reunion committee and inquire if the former classmates you want to see plan to attend. (If they don't, you may not want to go.) If they do, then go to the reunion, reconnect and have a good time. And if any of the others are so insensitive as to raise the subject of your abuse, inform them that it took years for you to get over the damage that teacher did, and the trauma they perpetuated because of their cruel and ignorant gossip. Say you don't care to discuss it, then change the subject.