Dear Abby: Childhood assaults continue to haunt high school senior

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 17-year-old female senior in high school. I was coerced into sex when I was 12 by a 19-year-old neighbor. He raped, molested and beat me repeatedly for two months. I come from a religious family. I was very sheltered and didn't understand most of what was happening. It wasn't until I had Sex Ed that year that I fully understood.

I have horrible nightmares nearly every night. I relive memories of him beating me, molesting me and raping me. The nightmares are getting worse, and I'm falling asleep during the daytime. I don't know how to make them stop. Abby, can you help me?

- Nightmares in Wichita, Kan.

DEAR NIGHTMARES: None of what happened was your fault. You were a child and that neighbor was an adult who took advantage of your youth and inexperience. The feelings you're experiencing are not unusual for rape victims - fear, anger, shame, guilt, loss of power and isolation.

If you will make a police report, it will help you to regain a sense of control. It may also prevent others from being victimized.

Being able to give voice to your feelings will go a long way toward making your nightmares go away. It will help you immensely if you'll talk with a professional counselor at a rape treatment center or crisis center. For you, that would be the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center. The website is www.

wichitasac.com.