Q: My rapists are dead now, but I can see from the years since their attack what damage they have caused. I’m having medical complications that have developed over time, pain and suffering from those complications, PTSD and additional stress over pharmacy bills because of it. It has affected the way I feel about men, and I’m afraid it will be this way for the rest of my life.
My attackers caused a great financial burden on me because of the cost of psychological counseling and loss of income due to episodes of related illness and working beneath my potential. Rapists seem to think they’re entitled to take what they want when they want it. I’m thinking perhaps they should be forced to take responsibility for the resulting cost to the person whose life they affected, which brings me to my question: Can women sue their rapists? — Altered Body and Soul
A: In this country, anybody can sue anyone for anything, but not someone who is dead. However, lawsuits can be emotionally and financially costly, and the question is whether the plaintiff can win. Some states offer financial assistance to victims of crime, which includes medical and dental expenses, counseling costs, funeral or burial expenses, and lost wages or support.
Because your rapists are deceased, it would be more practical for you to go online and visit victimsofcrime.org to explore what kind of compensation may still be available for you. I wish you luck in your pursuit of justice.
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Q: I’m an only child; my husband is not. Our parents don’t live nearby, and every year we have great debates over where to go for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both sets of parents host both holidays at their homes.
My husband feels we should alternate, one year spend Christmas with his parents, the next with mine. I suggested that one year we host Christmas at our home. That way, both sets of parents could be with us, but his mother said no because her other children and grandchildren spend the holidays with them at her house.
Even though I know the fair thing to do would be to alternate, I do not want to leave my parents alone on the holidays because I’m their only child. They have no one else! But his mother expects us to be there for every holiday and gets upset if we aren’t. I know this situation will only get worse once my husband and I have children. What should we do? — Holiday Trouble in New York
A: Because a marriage is supposed to involve the joining together of two families into one, you might suggest to your mother-in-law that she extend an invitation to your parents for the holidays. But if she’s unwilling or your parents are unable to travel, then I agree with your husband that you should alternate the holidays.
After you have children, this should be discussed again, because it is important that they get to know their cousins, and it will be easier to expose them when the family is all together, whether it’s at your home or your in-laws’.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.