DEAR ABBY: I recently gave a party for about 50 of my friends. One of the late arrivals was my beautiful and talented friend "Sara," who arrived accompanied by her new beau, "Sam," whom I had not yet met, but about whom I had heard quite a bit. I greeted them both warmly and invited them into my home. But what I really wanted to do was turn to my other guests and call out, "This is Sam, the man who has been beating our friend Sara."
Since the party, others have told me that had they realized who he was, they wouldn't have shaken his hand, or they would have "told him a thing or two." The bottom line is that we were all polite, even cordial, toward him -- and that's what is bothering me. I know enough about domestic violence to know that if you make the abuser uncomfortable, he will inevitably take it out on the victim. But if we all remain silent, it can appear as though we condone his behavior which, of course, we do not.
I still feel uneasy about treating him as though he were any other welcome guest. As a host, Abby, how would you have handled it? -- THE HOSTESS WHO KNEW TOO MUCH IN FLORIDA
DEAR HOSTESS: I would have handled it exactly the way you did. Publicly embarrassing Sam would not have curtailed his violence, and might have resulted in another beating for Sara.
However, you and Sara's other friends should not sit idly by. Let her know that she does not have to tolerate his abuse, that the beatings are not her fault regardless of how he tries to place the blame on her, and unless he is willing to get psychiatric help, he will not change. Sara should also be told that all of you support her, and for her own safety she must end this romance before he seriously injures or kills her.
DEAR ABBY: I'm responding to the two letters you printed about winery tasting room employees. I have worked in the wine hospitality business for more than 25 years, primarily as a consultant in tasting rooms.
It would be wrong for me to say there is absolutely not one person in the wine business -- or any other business -- with an alcohol problem. But there is no "dirty little secret" about tasting room employees.
My experience is that the vast majority of tasting room employees do not abuse wine, and I've worked with literally hundreds of employees. We practice responsible consumption for ourselves and our guests. The two letters you published on the subject are the exception, not the rule. The wine business is committed to using wine in moderation, particularly with meals. Please set the record straight. -- CRAIG ROOT, ST. HELENA, CALIF.
DEAR CRAIG: I think your letter does that very well. However, although the wine industry urges consumers to "enjoy in moderation," not all individuals are willing or able to acknowledge when enough is enough. It is not my intention to trash the industry, but the people whose letters I published were genuinely concerned about a small group of employees.
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