A few years ago, I noticed some porn in my mom and stepdad's room. I didn't mention it to anyone. Later, my older sister accused my stepdad of window-peeping, but no one believed her. Last summer, I noticed him outside my window when I woke up one morning. I didn't say anything because I didn't want to cause a problem.
I have never liked my stepdad. He is verbally abusive. You wouldn't believe what I hear every single day.
I share a bathroom with one of my sisters. Last year when it was remodeled, we noticed a gap between the floor and the basement. (We covered it with towels when we were in there.)
Last week, I noticed what looked like a piece of wood in the gap, so I decided to give it a closer look. It looked like the lens of a camera. When I took a flashlight into the basement and checked it out, I found a cable running through the room and got close enough to see it said "camera" on the back. It faced the toilet.
I don't know who to tell, or if I should. My sister deserves the right to know -- but who else would believe me? I'm just a stupid 14-year-old girl. If I tell my mom, she will kick my stepdad out, and I'll have to go and live with my dad. I'll have to change schools. I'll lose my boyfriend, my friends, my life. Mom could lose the house because my stepdad mainly brings in all the money.
I should have said something when I saw the porn. I feel like this is all my fault. If I don't say anything and it keeps on, it could get worse -- and I'd probably commit suicide from the stress. And what if my friends come over? Please help me -- this is so important.
Desperate in Indiana
You are not "stupid"; you are a very bright young lady. None of this is your fault. You and your sister are the victims in this nasty business.
Your mother should have believed your sister when she complained about the peeping. That she did not is deplorable. What I want you to do will take courage, but please do it anyway. If you follow my advice, people will have to believe you.
Buy a disposable flash camera. Use it to take pictures of the gap in the floor of your bathroom. Then take it into the basement and photograph the camera and the cable. When the pictures are developed, make sure to get several sets of prints. Mail one set to your father. Show one set to your mother, and tell her what you have told me. If she does not protect you immediately, give the third set to a trusted teacher at your school.
Your stepfather is sick and does not belong in a house with young women. Ideally, the police should be notified. If he has been looking into your windows, the chances are that he has been peeping into other windows in the neighborhood. The problem with "Peeping Toms" is their behavior can escalate. That's why you should not remain silent any longer.
My husband and I have been married 3 1/2 years, and during that time I have begged him to stop playing "telephone games" with me when he calls me -- especially at work. He will either disguise his voice, or speak to me so low that I can't understand him. Every time I answer with the standard "Hello," he'll respond with "Hello," and this goes on for a few seconds back and forth. It drives me crazy.
How can I get through to him, loud and clear, once and for all, that this irritates me no end?
Tired of Playing Games in Fort Worth
One effective way to send a message is through silence. If the caller does not respond properly after the first "hello," hang up the phone.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate