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Living in fear after assault



Published: Mon, September 4, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Dear Annie: Two months ago, I was sexually assaulted at work. The company hired a private investigator to look into the accusations and gave me three choices: I could sign a confidential paper and let it go; I could voluntarily resign without filing charges and get four weeks' pay; I could get fired.

I didn't sign or resign, and I got fired. That doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that the guy who ruined my part-time job and delayed my education (I was taking night classes but am too scared to go back) has gotten away with it. Even though I went to the police and had all my ducks in a row, there is no justice. Apparently, because he didn't actually rape me, I wasn't abused.

My family tells me to forget about it, but when I close my eyes, I feel his hands again and I relive that nightmare. Even though I have friends around me, I have never felt more alone and scared. What should I do? Crushed

Dear Crushed: We are not certain why your attacker was not punished, but your situation sounds difficult and frustrating. We suggest you contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at (800) 669-4000 (eeoc.gov) and explain the situation and ask what recourse you may have. You also should talk to a counselor to help you work on the fear that is keeping you from moving forward. Your doctor can recommend someone.

Dear Annie: My son has married an only child. For two years, they planned an elaborate wedding, and it was beautiful. Yet not one thank-you card was ever sent. They were too busy with their honeymoon, house hunting, house buying, moving, fixing up, etc.

Now her mother and aunt are giving them a baby shower. Guess who is sending out the invitations? My daughter-in-law. I didn't think immediate family was supposed to give showers. Is there no such thing as etiquette anymore? Perplexed Grandma

Dear Grandma: We agree not much of it seems to be left. However, it always has been permissible for an aunt to host a baby shower, and Peggy Post says it is sometimes OK for mothers to do so if the parents-to-be live far away (although your daughter-in-law should not be sending the invitations). The lack of thank-you notes, however, is inexcusable. Is your son's hand broken? He can write them, too. Even at this late date.

Dear Annie: We are the parents of an 11-year-old daughter who was in the same situation as "Mom in the Middle." Our daughter is smart, attractive and athletic. She also happens to be ostracized by the "in crowd."

Our solution was to get our daughter involved in local running events such as citywide 5K runs and "fun runs." I ran with her during the year, and she worked hard at it, which was a great pressure release. She is now outrunning me.

Our daughter has done very well in these events and gotten her name in the school newspaper numerous times for placing or winning races in her age group. The respect she has been shown at school is unbelievable. Girls who would not give her the time of day before are always the first to ask how she did. Her confidence level has risen dramatically, and she has made many new friends through these runs.

"Mom in the Middle" should get her daughter into some kind of outside activity that she enjoys. It's great for self-esteem and meeting new friends outside her school. Then she won't have to worry what the "in crowd" thinks. Dad Not in the Middle Anymore

Dear Dad: Thanks for pointing out that all children have a talent or interest that can be encouraged and used to teach self-confidence.

Annie's Snippet for Labor Day: The best inheritance a parent can leave a child is a will to work.

E-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@com-cast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox™, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

Creators Syndicate

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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