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Dear Abby 9/29
Friend looks on helplessly at troubled family in crisis
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    DEAR ABBY: I am 15 years old. I have a friend I'll call "Betsy" whose father has hit her or tried to hit her twice. She is depressed and unhappy — clearly suffering. Aside from this abuse, I know her family is having other issues.
    My family knows about the situation but has made it clear to me they don't want to get involved in another family's business. I am so worried about breaking up the family and hurting them further. However, I don't want Betsy to be hurt anymore. How can I help? — HELPING HAND IN VERMONT
    DEAR HELPING HAND: You are a caring friend, and I wish you had been more forthcoming about what "other issues" were going on in Betsy's household. I don't know what kind of pressure her father may be under, but he should not be striking her.
    If it continues, rather than calling the police yourself, you should inform a teacher or counselor at your school, or your clergyperson. They are mandated by law to report it when a minor is being placed in danger or harmed, and the police are more likely to give credence to such a report if they hear it from an adult.

    DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Valerie," just signed herself into a detox center for the first time. My problem is, I found out her drug supplier is my sister, "Lois." Lois gets her drugs from a pain clinic and sells them to various people. Apparently she was selling them to Valerie, too.
    We all live with my mother. I have told my mother I want Lois out, or I will be leaving. Mom says Lois is her daughter, too, and she won't desert her. Am I wrong? — DESPERATE IN DELAWARE
    DEAR DESPERATE: You are not wrong. Your mother's loyalties are seriously misplaced. As a parent, it is your job to protect your child from harm.
    Instead of tolerating your sister's activities and allowing her to continue her drug dealing, your mother should have put a stop to it long ago. Does she not realize that when the police find out — and they eventually will — she could suffer serious consequences?
    You should definitely move — not only for your own safety, but also because when your daughter is discharged from rehab, she will have to forgo being in the presence of drugs and dealing. And when you leave, warn your mother that she could be considered an accessory to crime.

    DEAR ABBY: I am 25 years old and still a virgin. I work as a stripper. Outside of work I am just a normal girl, studying for my bachelor's degree in nursing.
    I am friendly, attractive and outgoing, but no man has ever tried to approach or even talk to me when I'm not dancing naked. Is there something wrong with me? — "TASSLES" IN FORT LAUDERDALE
    DEAR "TASSLES": I am sure there is nothing "wrong" with you. The men who approach you when you're dancing are not interested in the kind of relationship you are looking for. Be patient, use this time to study, and be thankful you aren't being distracted right now. With a degree in nursing you will have a bright future ahead. I'm sure you'll meet a terrific life partner when the time is right.
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