Dear Abby:

I had cause recently to see a psychiatrist. When he took my history, I revealed that at age 12, I was raped five times by an older brother.

The psychiatrist objected to my using the word "rape," and told me the correct terminology was "molested." To me, being molested is far less severe an intrusion than being forced to submit to intercourse.

Could it be denial on the psychiatrist's part? Don't people get sent to prison for raping women -- not "molesting" them? Is this kind of thing widespread among psychiatrists?

Offended in Connecticut

I hope not, because instead of acknowledging what was rightfully a very traumatic event in your life, that doctor chose to argue semantics. My Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Tenth Edition) defines "molest" as "1: to annoy, disturb or persecute esp. with hostile intent or injurious effect; 2: to make annoying sexual advances to; esp: to force physical and usu. sexual contact on."

While the doctor was technically correct, it was more important for you to feel comfortable than for him to "one up" you. If I were you, I'd continue interviewing psychiatrists because this one appears to lack empathy.

Dear Abby:

My daughter was asked to be the flower girl in the wedding of a friend. We were delighted for her to be a part of the wedding -- that's not the problem.

We attended the bridal shower last week, and I lent a helping hand with some of the duties. When the shower was winding down, the maid of honor approached me and asked me to "settle up" for the party. She announced that my part of the shower was in excess of $100. I was stunned. I have never heard of the flower girl being financially responsible for a bridal shower at the ripe old age of 5.

Because I had no way of paying, I told her I'd try and send something soon. I wasn't planning on this added expense and was not warned that I'd be asked to pay for a fifth of the shower.

What should I do?

Not a Bridesmaid

As I see it, you have a choice. You can ignore the request, or smash your little girl's piggy bank and send the maid of honor the contents. I recommend the former.

(c)2005, Universal Press Syndicate