DEAR ABBY: In the past, you have printed letters from men who have been physically abused by their wives. We want to thank you for helping to make the public aware of this aspect of domestic violence. Male victims of domestic violence face grave difficulties. Chief among them is having few places to turn for information and help.
One of the first things these men need to know is that they are not alone. A national survey funded by the Centers for Disease Control found that nearly 40 percent of all domestic violence victims -– or 835,000 men a year –- are physically abused by their intimate partners.
SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone) has a Web site where male victims (straight and gay) and lesbian women can share their stories with others. It is www.safe4all.org. The Web site lists services that are sympathetic to this underserved population, as well as a number of highly qualified professionals ready to provide training to law enforcement, health-care providers, social service, crisis lines, etc. in how to identify, support and properly refer male victims of domestic violence.
SAFE also provides a brochure for male victims and their concerned family and friends. It identifies domestic violence, lists typical reactions and provides specific advice.
Anyone wishing a copy of this brochure should send a self-addressed, stamped envelope along with a $1 suggested donation to SAFE-Male Victims Brochure, P.O. Box 951, Tualatin, OR 97062. SAFE is a 501(c)3 charitable organization and donations are tax-deductible. -- PHILIP COOK, NATIONAL VICE-CHAIR, SAFE
DEAR PHILIP: Thank you for your important letter. The complex problem of domestic violence will not be resolved until government, private agencies and the public become aware that domestic violence is not a gender issue -– but a human one.
My mail tells me that not all law enforcement agencies are sensitive to the issues concerning female-to-male abuse. I am pleased your organization is providing training to law enforcement for this ugly, often ignored problem.
DEAR ABBY: I am being married in June and have no one to walk me down the aisle. My father is deceased, and I have no brothers or male family members who can escort me.
This isn't so much a problem for myself as it is for my mother. She insists it would be "horrific" (her word) if I go it alone –- which is exactly what I want to do!
What do you think, Abby? Would it be acceptable for me to walk down the aisle solo? I have been reading your column since I was little, and I'm eager for your opinion. -- READY TO GO IT ALONE IN MISSISSIPPI
DEAR READY: Some women ask their mothers to escort them down the aisle when there is no male relative available. Others ask a respected male friend to do it, or walk down the aisle alone and "give themselves away" as a feminist statement.
Do as you wish, dear. It's your wedding and your decision.
CONFIDENTIAL TO FEELING UNAPPRECIATED IN RANDOLPH, NEB.: Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out who was responsible.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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