DEAR ABBY: My daughter is in fifth grade at a very small, rural school. She's outgoing and makes friends easily. My problem is, when she comes home from school, she tells my husband and me about the conversations the other fifth-grade girls are having. Most of them involve boys. However, recently the conversations are about sex and things these girls say they want boys to do to them, which include rape.
My husband and I are appalled. My daughter knows that it's not appropriate to discuss these topics, but she is forced by these girls to listen. What should we do? Should we discuss this with the other parents involved? Please help. -- CONCERNED PARENT IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR CONCERNED: While discussing sexual matters may not seem appropriate to you, that's what some children in grammar school do. The problem, however, is that a lot of misinformation can be transmitted among them. Be glad your daughter trusts you enough that she's willing to tell you what is being said.
If this were my daughter and I had not yet had "the talk" with her, I would waste no time in initiating it. Her classmates may say some of the things they do for shock value and have no concept about the violence and physical and emotional damage that a rapist can inflict.
Not only should you bring this to the attention of the parents of these classmates, also talk to the school principal. (Could these girls have been exposed to rape, pornographic movies, etc.?) The best way to combat screwed-up thinking like this is through frank, open discussion and education.