DEAR ABBY: Some months ago, you published a letter from "Anonymous, Please" regarding her 4-year-old child's experience with child molestation. She said she had taught her daughter about her private parts at age 4, and "within five months she was molested."
That letter was not the first you have published on the "horror stories" of child molestation. I have been waiting for some letter giving balance to the near hysteria that is gripping our society on the subject.As a lawyer who has handled many cases involving children who were said to have been sexually abused, may I share the following observations:
Children DO lie. They don't call it lying - they call it "making up stories." And with encouragement from a parent and "professionals," these children will eventually believe their own stories. On the basis of an accusation alone, the accused parent may be denied access to his child for months - or even years.
For years children have been sexually abused by neighbors, baby sitters, trusted friends and relatives. Teaching them to scream, kick, hit and run will not protect them. The best protection is to watch your children closely and keep the lines of communication open.
I was in court recently on a child molestation case. The judge stated that more than 80 percent of such cases that had come before him had been frivolous - the accusation has been made for the purpose of gaining an advantage in other actions. I have every reason to believe that what the judge said was true.
One prospective divorce client said to me, "My husband is a sexual deviate - a pervert - and I want you to see to it that he has no unsupervised contact with our children!"
When I pressed her for an example of her husband's perverted sexual behavior, she replied, "He hides Playboy magazines in his underwear drawer." - A WOMAN LAWYER FROM MISSOURI
DEAR LAWYER: Thank you for an excellent letter to illustrate the other side of the story.
DEAR ABBY: I am writing this letter on behalf of my father who died last week of lung cancer. He was very smart about so many things, but he wasn't smart enough to quit smoking before it killed him.
I want you to know that my father loved you and your column for as long as you've been writing it. I used to tell him that I always read Dear Abby last because I wanted to save the best for the last, then he'd say, "I can't wait that long. I read her first."
My father loved The Houston Post and he taught his children to love it, too. Anyway, Abby, I just want you to know that you brought a lot of joy into the life of a wonderful man whose name was Charles Elton. We buried him with his beloved newspaper - your section being on top. He would have wanted it that way. With love . . . ERICA ELTON NEHLS, FRIENDSWOOD, TEXAS
DEAR ERICA: My heartfelt condolences to you and your family on the loss of a loving father. Thank you for giving me permission (on the telephone) to publish your name. You said you "knew" your father would have loved seeing your letter in The Houston Post. Who knows? Perhaps he can.
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