DEAR ABBY: A childhood friend of mine died from cervical cancer. “Katy” died because she didn’t go to her gynecologist for annual pap smears.
She was a beautiful, intelligent, talented wife and mother who was responsible in every other way. Katy simply couldn’t face a pelvic exam because throughout her childhood she had been molested by her father. I know it’s true, because her father molested me, too.
Katy’s doctor told her that had it been caught in the early stages, her cancer would have been curable. She hadn’t been to see her gynecologist since her last child was born nine years before. Because of what her father did to her, she was unable to allow anyone other than her husband to touch her.
Abby, my friend suffered during the time between her diagnosis and her death. She fought to stay alive for her husband and children, whom she loved with all her heart. But in the end, cancer took her, and her family will suffer for years to come.
Please remind every woman and sexually active teenage girl about the importance of a yearly exam. Those who feel they can’t deal with the exams should force themselves to talk to their doctors and explain their fear. Otherwise, the sexual predators win again. I think they should be held accountable for the deaths for which they are ultimately responsible. — Sick of Molesters
DEAR SICK OF MOLESTERS: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your friend. She won’t have died in vain if women of every age heed your message about the importance of regular pelvic examinations, which should start as soon as a girl becomes sexually active.
Put a name to your marital problem
DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my husband, “Henry,” for 25 years, and he refuses to call me by name. He doesn’t call me anything — certainly no terms of endearment. He just calls out or starts talking. He addresses our daughter’s relatives, our neighbors and even our dog by name, but refuses to say mine.
I have mentioned to Henry many times how deeply hurt and resentful it makes me feel. He admits it’s a problem but refuses to get help because “he doesn’t believe in counseling.”
I know things could be worse. I’m not abused physically, but I feel mentally abused. I find it hard living as a nobody. Can you give me an insight on how to cope with this? — Nameless in South New Jersey
DEAR NAMELESS: What Henry has been doing is called “passive aggression.” It’s a pattern of behavior that can occur in a variety of contexts. In your case, it’s consistently failing to do something he knows would please you, the absence of which he is fully aware is hurtful. He refuses counseling because he knows a counselor will call him on it.
This does not, however, mean that you shouldn’t have some counseling. Once you have recognized Henry’s behavior for exactly what it is, you must then ask yourself why you have tolerated it for a quarter of a century, whether there are other things wrong in your marriage and if this is the way you want to live the next 25 years of your life.