DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine was a victim of domestic violence. When I asked her why she didn't phone 911 for help, her response was, "They play those 911 calls on the radio all the time." She didn't want her prominent husband's career damaged by adverse publicity.
Today, a group of us discussed the issue over breakfast. Many of the women said that because of the popularity of 911 calls being broadcast on the Internet, radio and TV, they'd be hesitant to phone for help when needed, too.
Abby, someone is going to suffer serious harm out of fear that their call for help will be publicized. Do you know what can be done about this new "drama entertainment"? I wouldn't want my terrified call heard by the public either, so I'd take my chances without calling for help. I just hope I don't wake up dead one day as a result. -- PUBLICITY-SHY IN FLORIDA
DEAR PUBLICITY-SHY: Nothing can be done about "drama entertainment" as long as the public has an appetite for it. The reason for the practice of "if it bleeds, it leads" in the media is that it draws viewers and listeners -- which means advertising revenue.
In the case of domestic violence, calling 911 is the lesser of two evils. Out-of-control abusers have been known to maim and kill the ones they "love." Ask yourself if your friend's husband's career was worth risking her life for. It makes more sense to risk a 911 call being broadcast than to have cameras and TV reporters camped on your lawn while the EMTs or the coroner carry your battered, bloody body out on a gurney.