Rape victim has kept it a secret for decades

Published 9:03 am Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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DEAR ABBY: Thirty-five years ago I was raped by a stranger. He told me he would kill me if I ever told anyone. I never told my husband (now ex-), mostly because I was afraid if I did he would never touch me again. So I lived with the secret. It eventually tore our marriage apart and we divorced.
Although we have both moved on and remarried, we have remained in touch. I am 60 now and he is 64. I yearn to tell him the story before one of us leaves this Earth. I want him to understand and hopefully forgive me for the events that drove us apart. The need to tell him is so strong, I cry about it. Please advise me on this. — STILL NOT OVER IT IN MARYLAND

DEAR STILL NOT OVER: If it will bring you comfort, reveal the secret you hid from your ex-husband. However, before you do, I urge you to first disclose it to someone trained to help victims of rape. If there’s a rape treatment center near you, please make an appointment. If there isn’t one, a referral from your doctor to a licensed mental health professional would also be beneficial. Trust me on that.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married a year and a half, although we’ve been together off and on for more than 13 years. I sometimes get the feeling that he married me only because he was tired of being alone. He often compares me to his late wife, and he always commemorates both her birthday and the day she passed away.
What I have a problem with is, every year he posts happy birthday, and her name, on Facebook, but he never mentions my name on Facebook. Should I bring this up to him or just let him continue? — CURRENT WIFE IN TEXAS

DEAR CURRENT WIFE: The basis of a solid marriage is communication. By all means bring it up — all of it — and tell him how it makes you feel. He may be trying to keep his late wife’s memory alive by wishing her happy birthday on Facebook, but as far as Facebook’s reach may be, I’m pretty sure the messages don’t reach the great beyond. That he would mention her birthday and not yours is insensitive. And comparing you to her, unless the comparison is favorable, is more of the same.

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DEAR ABBY: We invited friends over to enjoy our bounty from a successful fishing trip. They live about an hour away. They accepted our invitation, then followed up with, “Can you put us and our two dogs up overnight if we drink too much?” I replied that we meant the invitation for humans only this time. They replied, “We’re sorry you don’t want our well-behaved ‘girls’ in your newly remodeled home.” And, Abby, they didn’t come! Was I wrong? Should I have handled this better? I’m kind of feeling like they were wrong. — ANIMAL LOVER, BUT …

DEAR LOVER: I’m also kind of feeling they overreacted. If you preferred they not bring uninvited guests, whether of the two-footed or four-footed variety, you were within your rights to refuse to have them. Please stop second-guessing yourself.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)