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Alert to Action! Write Dear Abby
May 12, 2004

Regina N. alerted ifeminists.net to the following exchange in the "Dear Abby" column of May 10th in which Abby seems to be advising a woman to falsely report domestic violence. Add your voice to Regina's protest.



DEAR ABBY: I have been married to "Ron" for 11 years. Throughout our marriage he has been unfaithful. We have three children under age 12. I work a minimum-wage job and have no family, nowhere to go, and no one to turn to.

A few months ago, Ron brought home a sexually transmitted disease, which he gave to me. I feel trapped, alone and terribly depressed. I realize the children must be sensing my tension and pain. As Ron is not physically abusive, I cannot go to a shelter, and this has taken a toll on my health and well-being.

Should I stay until I'm financially able to leave? Or should I flee now and hope for the best? -- LONELY AND SAD IN LOUISIANA

DEAR LONELY AND SAD: If you haven't already done so, contact your physician and be treated for the STD. Make a list of Ron's assets, as well as his Social Security, driver's license and bank account numbers. Next, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233. Although there may not be room for you at a shelter, they can help you formulate an "escape plan." Once that's in place, consult an attorney who specializes in family law. You've suffered enough.

This was the letter Regina wrote in response.

Dear Abby,

You gave horrible advice to "Lonely and sad in Louisiana" by telling her to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline to help her formulate an escape plan. Her husband is committing infidelity, not domestic violence! While I sympathize with her about her cheating spouse, your advice will call many more problems!

The "escape plan" many shelters will help her formulate will be to get "Lonely" to file a "Restraining Order" to get "Ron" out of the home and gain custody of the children. This is a ploy many women use when they are not abused to gain the upper hand in divorce proceedings.

The restraining order will keep her husband away from their children who need and love him as he does in return, put an undeserving mark on his record, and put him in the domestic violence offender database most states keep now. He will have to pay all the bills at the home where "Lonely" and the children live plus a residence for himself. He will have to go to court to defend himself against a "false accusation of domestic violence" paying an attorney high fees. The accusation could cause him to lose his job! A person can be a good parent and not a good husband. You will have succeeded in making a situation worse with your advice and escalating the situation!

If "Lonely" wants a divorce, let her seek legal counsel, but don't, don't encourage false accusations of domestic violence! False accusations downplay when a woman is truly a battered wife! False accusations ruin many lives!

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