DEAR ABBY: Thank you for your continued support of victims of domestic and dating violence. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, a day filled with romance for many couples. Unfortunately, for some, it is like any other day -- filled with fear, anxiety and violence.
The sad truth is, every year, close to 4 million American women experience a serious assault by someone who said they loved them. I would like to remind your readers that domestic and dating violence is not just physical abuse. It can also be sexual, emotional, economic or psychological abuse. It is actions, or threats of actions, meant to frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any age, race, sexual orientation, religion, gender or socioeconomic background. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or dating.
With Valentine's Day only a day away, let's work to keep our loved ones safe. -- SHERYL CATES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE
DEAR SHERYL: Thank you for your important letter. As readers of my column know, your organization is one I have relied upon for years to help victims of abuse. If anyone reading this column today feels she is being abused, or knows of someone who is being abused, I hope she will call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The toll-free number is (800) 799-7233 (SAFE). The number for people with hearing disabilities is (800) 787-3224 (TTY). You can also log onto the Web site at www.ndvh.org. There is help available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The danger is great, so please don't wait to contact them.