Dear Abby:

I am a sophomore in high school. When I was 13, I had a party while my parents were not at home. I got drunk, and my boyfriend, "Jimmy Joe," raped me. I tried to kill myself afterward, but was unsuccessful. I told my best friend that Jimmy Joe and I had broken up because we never got to see each other.

Two years later, I had a mental meltdown and told her why I really broke up with Jimmy Joe. She said I should tell my father, since he and I are really close.

Daddy has always trusted me, and I'm afraid if I tell him, he'll lose trust in me because of the party I had when he and Mom weren't home.

Because it has been so long since it happened, and I am over it now, is it even worth telling him about it?

Undecided in Kentucky

Giving the party was wrong, but the rape was not your fault. Tell your father what happened. He may be disappointed that you broke the rules, but he will also be concerned for your welfare. You may discover that by revealing what happened, you become closer to both your parents. It is never too late to get help, and if this episode were truly over, you would not be having "meltdowns." There are crisis centers for rape victims, and it would benefit you to visit one and tell your story. That's how healing begins.

Dear Abby:

I have been married to "Nick" for 14 years. We have a beautiful 10-year-old daughter, "Betsy."

I recently learned that when Nick was between the ages of 15 and 19, he molested his younger sister.

My husband is now 48 and swears that, during those years, he was a "messed up, suicidal" teen. All this was recently revealed by the sister, who is now 42. She told her parents who, in turn, wrote an ugly letter to Nick. I opened it by mistake and, unfortunately, read it all. It shocked me to the core. I feel so sad for his sister.

Nick will be seeing a counselor to work through what happened 30 years ago and to try to put everything in perspective. I know he is not the monster his sister describes, and I know he would never hurt Betsy.

I wish I could just smooth everything over. How do I explain to Betsy that her grandparents will never visit again?

Nick is considering moving out to distance himself and not hurt us anymore. I know I could speak to a counselor, but I don't have much faith in what one could offer besides being someone to vent to.

Lost in Las Vegas

Before trying to smooth anything over, make an appointment with a child psychologist and take your daughter. Your husband molested his sister not once, but for a long time. It's possible that he's also done something to Betsy, but she was so young and innocent she didn't recognize it for what it was.

In cases like this, what happened cannot be ignored. It might be better if your husband did move out for a while, because your daughter is about at the age her aunt was when the molestations began. And you, dear lady, should by all means schedule some sessions with a psychologist or psychiatrist who understands childhood sexual abuse. Counseling isn't just "venting"; it can also be listening to and learning from someone with insight, education and experience. Trust me.

To My Muslim Readers: Happy Eid al-Fitr!

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate