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Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Anne and I hope each of you is enjoying a wonderful, safe, blessed holiday with your family, friends and other loved ones--as we are. See you right back here next week.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Traditions

Q: My husband insists that I make Thanksgiving dinner exactly as his mother always did when he was growing up. That means only turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, that Campbell's green bean casserole, rolls and pumpkin pie for dessert. For twenty-two years I've humored him because we always hosted the family holidays and it seemed so damn important. But this year we are by ourselves. I don't see the need of preparing all that food for just the two of us. Plus, for all of those years, he played host while I managed all the kitchen chores—preparation, cooking and roasting and baking, and clean-up, with help from the other women in the family. I have been looking forward to the years when I could enjoy the holidays as much as he always seems to, and this is it. However, again he's insisting that we have the full-court meal. We can freeze leftovers, he says, and besides, it's "tradition." I'd like to tradition him. How can I convince him I can be very thankful not to have to prepare the meal this year?

Anne: Give him this letter you just sent us. Maybe it will open his eyes. Out of curiosity, what are the rest of the family doing this year? Maybe you can join them?

Dee: Thanksgiving is about more than the fucking turkey. Tell him he can all he wants of whatever traditional meal by taking you to Picadilly Cafeteria (or restaurant of your choice). Then you'll both enjoy the dinner.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NOT Brotherly Love

Q: I'm so embarrassed I can't believe I'm even writing you. My problem is, my brother—who is three years older than I am and a senior in high school—has been having sex with me. It started a couple of years ago when he accidentally walked in on me when I was showering. Shortly after, he found ways to brush against me. When we were home alone he would corner me and kiss me, and then touch me, until one night when my parents were out at a party, he sneaked into my room and actually had sex with me. I wanted to scream, I wanted to hit him and make him go away, I wanted to throw up, but instead I froze. It was my first time and I cried a lot for days, so much that my mom said I looked awful and wanted to take me to the doctor. Privately my brother said if I turned him in he'd make me sorry—and since I didn't scream or fight him, no one would believe I wasn't willing. From somewhere he found birth control pills and had me take them. After that, he took me whenever and wherever he could. The worst thing is, I have orgasms, so part of me must like what he does. I feel dirty and used. I want to kill myself. What can I do?

Anne: Immediately get help. Tell your parents, talk to a school nurse or your minister or counselor. DO NOT WAIT! Forget the embarrassment. What happened is not your fault—in fact most sexual abuse is done by someone the abused person knows. You won't be the first girl to have to tell on your brother. He played on your fears to have his way.

I am serious—find someone to talk to right away. Dee and I are not qualified in this kind of situation to recommend more than that.

Dee: Your brother raped you, nothing less. He could (and should) go to jail for what he's doing, especially since you were a child when he started and you’re still underage. You must tell someone what's been happening. Do not waste any time doing so.

If you can't bring yourself to talk to someone you know, there are online organizations that could help: http://www.stopitnow.org/ or http://www.protect.org/home. But it would be best if your parents knew or a teacher or someone locally who could remove you from your situation. Please write back and let us know that you found help.