Girl­friend de­serves to know about man’s abu­sive past

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN AN­DREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION

DEAR ABBY: My brother is in a long-term re­la­tion­ship. Through­out my teenage years, he raped me every chance he got. The emo­tional and phys­i­cal abuse has left my life bro­ken. Should I tell his girl­friend about it? I did con­front him about it, but he just de­nied it. Wouldn’t she want to know? — SUR­VIVOR IN FLOR­IDA

DEAR SUR­VIVOR: Yes, you should tell his girl­friend about it! You should also tell every one of your rel­a­tives. Where were your par­ents when this was go­ing on?

While it may be too late for the po­lice to haul your brother off to prison, you should ab­so­lutely talk to a rape cri­sis coun­selor about what he did to you. To lo­cate a re­source near you, con­tact R.A.I.N.N. (rainn.org), the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Net­work. It may be able to help you put your life in or­der. Its toll-free phone num­ber is 800-656-4673.

DEAR ABBY: Would you please re­mind your read­ers about proper ser­vice dog eti­quette? My ser­vice dog has given me a new lease on life, but go­ing out in pub­lic with him can be a huge source of anx­i­ety. If your read­ers see a ser­vice dog in pub­lic, they should re­mem­ber:

Don’t pet the dog, or talk to it, and don’t al­low chil­dren to “rush” the dog. This dis­tracts the ser­vice dog from its im­por­tant job and could put a han­dler in danger.

Please don’t ques­tion whether ser­vice dogs are or should be “al­lowed” some­where. Han­dlers need to shop, take pub­lic trans­port and go to res­tau­rants just like ev­ery­one else.

Do not ask in­va­sive per­sonal ques­tions about the han­dler’s health or abil­i­ties. I’m sure you wouldn’t want a stranger pry­ing into your own med­i­cal history.

And please don’t gush about how “lucky” some­one is to have a ser­vice dog or how you wish you could have your pet with you. Try men­tally re­plac­ing the word “dog” with “wheel­chair” or “oxy­gen tank” be­fore you speak. Ser­vice dogs are not pets. For a lot of peo­ple they are life­lines.

Many of us are happy to speak with you about our dogs or an­swer ques­tions, but please re­mem­ber we are also PEO­PLE with in­di­vid­ual com­fort lev­els and lim­its, and we just want to en­joy pub­lic spa­ces like ev­ery­one else. — NEW LEASE ON LIFE

DEAR NEW LEASE: Thank you for giv­ing me the chance to re­mind read­ers about ser­vice dog eti­quette. Many of us are an­i­mal lovers who have a hard time re­sist­ing the im­pulse to reach out when we see ser­vice dogs. It’s done with the best of in­ten­tions, while for­get­ting that a dog wear­ing a vest may be work­ing. I say “may” be­cause, un­for­tu­nately, ser­vice vests that al­low an­i­mals to be present in mar­kets and res­tau­rants can be or­dered on­line by peo­ple with no dis­abil­ity at all.

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