DEAR ABBY: I am 19 and having an affair with a married man twice my age, but I am an unwilling participant. You see, I grew up with "Jasmine," and over the years her family has become mine. I was going through a rough time, and when her family offered me a place to stay, I accepted. They treat me like their own -- even introduce me as a daughter. However, after my birthday party, Jasmine's father came into my bedroom and took advantage of me. I was scared and didn't say anything.
He sneaks into my room now to "talk" or rub my back and always crosses the line. I feel sick and guilty when I see Jasmine or her mother, and I'm hurt and ashamed when I see him. I feel betrayed and confused. I tell myself I do it "for a place to stay." Is there forgiveness for me? -- DISTRAUGHT IN THE NORTHWEST
DEAR DISTRAUGHT: It appears you ARE "doing it for a place to stay," and for your own well-being you need to make other living arrangements and get out of there. You have been betrayed, and your feelings are valid.
You are not being treated like a daughter; you are being coerced by a man with no conscience or compassion. Of course there is forgiveness for you -- but first you have to forgive yourself. Leaving is the first step.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips.
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