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Greedy niece and almost raped

Dear Manang,

I am old and I can say that I have worked hard all my life. I looked for opportunities to make money and thankfully I have my own house in the city and have dutifully paid taxes in the province for an ancestral lot. My daughter has a comfortable life and her children are adults. My hurt comes from my niece who has continuously stolen things from me and now it is my lot in the province that she sold without my knowledge. I want to take my lot back from the person she sold it to but my niece has spent the money. I have no money too. What do you suggest?

Auntie G -- San Luis, Baguio City

Dear Auntie G,

As they say, every family has a black sheep. This niece of yours is very cunning to have pulled off the sale of your lot without your knowledge much more to make the buyer believe that she owned it. How can this even happen in the province where people know who owns what? You have a reason to be hurt. I would take back the lot if I could, so others would know that the lot is truly mine and it was fraudulently sold. But as you said, the money has been spent by your niece. On this account, your niece won again. If you truly value the lot, then you will need to borrow the money to get it back. Otherwise, your only recourse is to let God be the judge of your niece’s sin. Let prayers heal her of her extreme greed. Forgive her as soon as you can and let her know that you are hurt by her deeds. Then say goodbye.

Forgive,

Manang

Dear Manang,

I was almost raped by a neighbor. I was 14 and his sisters were close friends. I spent most of my time in their house. One day, he saw me inside his sister’s room and he pinned me down on the bed. I was able to run out of the room and escaped. I went home and locked myself in my room. No one learned about the incident. The marks of his fingers were left on my breasts and other parts of my body were bruised. To date, I fear to be touched. I shudder at the thought of being in the room alone with any man.

I haven’t healed and yet it seems to have no effect on the boy at all when it happened or after 20 years. How do I move on?

Gina -- Gibraltar, Baguio City

Dear Gina,

I wonder how many girls at that age have been in a similar situation. I feel that some have been raped and like you continue to suffer mentally and physically. Rape is such a desecration of our body and person. We never become whole again. To make the situation worse is men want their wives to be virgins yet they enjoy premarital sex. It is this Catholic mores requiring women to be a virgin at the altar that drives women to become promiscuous after. They feel dirty and blemished so they wallow in the mud instead of rising above it. You need professional help in these incidents of rape. Counseling helps you process your feelings so you can move on positively and make choices. I know that at 14, you had no means to pay for counseling unless you tell your parents but there are also hotlines to call, even if you just want to talk. Just talk, there are people who will listen and you can remain anonymous. Look for those hotlines and just call. You need to process those feelings so you have a road to proceed on.

Indeed, it is different for men. They have no guilt or remorse because it is the woman who carries the burden. She is the one who gets pregnant. If I were a smart teenager who likes walking the tight rope, I will carry condoms to make the boy use (pardon my lost Catholic morals) so I am sure I will not have a baby until I am sure I am ready. Gina, you have given up intimacy because of what happened. It doesn’t have to be that way. Be comforted that not all men are monsters. There are some worthy ones too. Look around, he might be there waiting.

Look around, take a chance,

Manang

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