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COED'S MOM WANTS ANSWERS ABOUT DORM RAPE

DEAR ABBY: Please help. I don't know how to handle this situation. My daughter is a freshman at a Midwestern coed college. She was assigned to a coed floor in a dormitory with 11 girls and 64 boys.

The first week of school, a girl she knows who lives across campus was raped in her dorm room. Campus police were notified. The boy admitted the rape. His "punishment": He was moved out of the victim's dorm, across campus, and onto my daughter's coed floor!I am outraged! I definitely want to do something, but my daughter and her roommate are upset because they feel my involvement would label them, and the boy's friends would harass them. The roommate won't tell her parents because she is afraid her parents will make her move back home.

These girls are young and naive, but I have to respect her wishes. Since I am new to the state, I have no contacts or support.

I know that local police should have been involved and the victim should have pressed charges, but neither was done. I am deeply concerned for my daughter's safety; the rapist should have at least been moved to an all-male floor! Please tell me what to do. - CONCERNED MOTHER

DEAR CONCERNED: It is unfortunate that the local police were not notified immediately.

If the young man admitted to the rape, he should have been expelled. And, if your daughter is afraid to speak up because of possible harassment, you should contact the president of the university and request a copy of the school's policies about rape. Also, ask for the university's explanation for its action in this case. Finally, inquire about the school's programs for educating students about their vulnerability to this crime. If there are no programs, something should be started.

DEAR ABBY: I recently attended a bridal shower. Many attended, since the bride-to-be is a well-known, well-liked local woman.

After opening all the gifts, the bride stood up and thanked everyone for coming and bringing such lovely gifts. Then one of her aunts, who was one of the hostesses, stood up and said, "Because of the price of postage these days, the verbal `thank-you' you just heard from the bride will be the only one you will get. She will send written thank-you notes only to those who were unable to attend the shower."

Abby, I think this was very tacky. What gift isn't worth a 29-cent postage stamp for an acknowledgement? What do you think? - PUT-OFF GUEST

DEAR GUEST: If the aunt made that announcement without the consent of the bride, she had a lot of nerve. And if she had the consent of the bride, shame on both of them. Every shower gift calls for a written thank-you.

DEAR ABBY: I sure enjoyed those letters from people who told about receiving gifts that had telltale signs of having been used. My cousin received a cookie jar as a wedding shower gift. When she got it home, she noticed some cookie crumbs at the bottom.

A friend of mine told me she received a steam iron for a wedding present. It was in a regular carton, taped shut, like brand-new items come in, but when she took it out of the carton to use it, it had water in it! I'm sure others have had similar experiences. Have you, Abby? - ME IN LANSING, MICH.

DEAR ME: Only once. I bought a brand-new purse, and when I got it home, I found a quarter in the coin purse!

DEAR ABBY: Please print this letter to let people know that it is very rude to ask a woman who has a different hairstyle, "Is that a wig?"

I cannot believe how many people ask this question. I'm talking about supposedly smart people. I work for a law firm, and two attorneys and two secretaries asked me this question. I happen to have a hereditary disorder that I inherited from my mother, and I've lost a lot of hair. I managed to cover up this problem for several years, but recently I have had to face the facts, and now I am wearing a full wig.

I thought it looked very pretty and natural until one of the male attorneys asked loudly, "Is that a wig?" I was so embarrassed, I wanted the earth to swallow me up.

One of the secretaries tried to rescue me (or him) by saying, "It looks so natural, no one can tell the difference."

Abby, please let people know that things are not always the way we want them to be, and a little support can go a long way. - FLIPPING MY WIG IN N.Y.

DEAR FLIPPING: Your letter has an important message: Even with the best of intentions, a compliment can backfire. I know.

On being introduced to a gentleman at a large gathering in a distant state, I complimented him on his "lush" head of hair. His "thank you" somehow lacked enthusiasm.

It never dawned on me, until I was told later in the evening, that the gentleman was wearing a full toupee.

CONFIDENTIAL TO C.B.H. IN ROCK ISLAND, ILL.: Heed the wise words of Winston Churchill: "When you have got a thing where you want it, it's a good thing to leave it where it is."

Everything you'll need to know about planning a wedding can be found in Abby's booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)