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by Abigail Van Buren

Friend Fears for Safety of Recently Married Woman

DEAR ABBY: I have an extremely well-educated and intelligent friend whose emotions, ideas and opinions seem to have become subjugated to the control of her relatively new spouse. I should add that he has a bad temper, and I am afraid it could escalate.

What are my options for reporting or intervening in the situation? It's possible that she's willingly submitting, but it seems uncharacteristic. I have personal experience with this kind of situation in regard to family members, but I don't want to make a fuss if I'm wrong. -- CARING FRIEND IN KANSAS

DEAR FRIEND: Unless you have proof that your friend is being physically abused, the most helpful thing you can do is stay in close contact and make sure she knows you will always be there for her if she needs you, day or night. If she confides that her husband is emotionally abusive, support her by reminding her that, despite what her husband may have told her, she's intelligent and well-educated.

Talk to her about the situations you have encountered in your own family and mention the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org; 800-799-7233). If she contacts you because he has hurt her physically, get her to an emergency room right away. They know how to handle (and report) domestic abuse and are mandated to do so.

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