September 7, 2010 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: It’s OK to share ‘gossip’ about abuse

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar
 

Dear Annie: Several years ago, I married the man of my dreams. “Darren” was everything I wanted. He had three children, two from a previous marriage and one from an earlier relationship.

Darren told me all about his children before we married, and I appreciated his honesty. He gave me the option of ending our relationship if this was something I couldn’t handle. He allowed his oldest child to be adopted by her stepfather, and here’s what I couldn’t handle: While I was out shopping, someone who knew this child repeated a bit of information that devastated me. She said she thought there was sexual abuse going on. I immediately told Darren.

Now, I am being chastised by a member of the clergy who said I should have kept quiet and treated this information as gossip. Should I have? – Stepmom

Dear Stepmom: Absolutely not. While it is terrible to accuse an innocent person of abuse, it is worse to allow a child to be abused because you are reluctant to speak out. Darren deserved to know what you heard so he could check out the information to see if there was any truth to it.

Dear Annie: I am a 13-year-old girl and think I might have breast cancer. I looked at the signs online, and I’m scared. How can I bring this up to my mom? As far as I know, there’s no history of it in my family. – Worried in Arizona

Dear Worried: We’re not sure why you think you have breast cancer. If you found a lump, please know that many are benign cysts and harmless. However, it makes sense to have any anomaly checked out by a physician. Bring this letter to your mom, and tell her you wrote it. And, Mom: Please make an appointment with a doctor so your daughter can rest easy knowing she is OK. We hope she is.


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