Protecting friend from an abusive husband
DEAR AMY: I have been friends with my former college roommates for 32 years. We get together every couple of months for dinner. One of our roommates has always been the "party girl." This wasn't cute at age 21 and is really awful now. She lost her driver's license years ago. She is usually half in the bag when we pick her up and is passed out by the end of dinner. If this weren't bad enough, her husband is abusive. The last time we dropped her off, he ran out to our car swearing at us, and kicked the car, damaging it. Then he called our homes and told our husbands we were all "whores." We know he hits her. She has left him in the past but always returns. We are afraid she is going to accidentally overdose or that her husband may kill her. We would like to stage an intervention, but we don't think it would work. Her husband drives her everywhere and buys her drugs and alcohol. This is how he keeps her tied to him. He has driven everyone away from her, including her family. We don't want to abandon her. What do you suggest?Afraid for Our FriendDEAR AFRAID: I shared your question with Katie Ray-Jones, president of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Read through the hotline's informative website at thehotline.org, or calling the hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233). You may be able to contact your local women's shelter to bring your friend for a dinnertime visit.
Her husband is dangerous. If you can find a way to meet her without interacting with him (perhaps meeting her in a busy public place), you could spend time with her and urge her to go to a shelter, where her location would be kept secret. Make sure she has the emergency hotline phone number to call and a bag packed (stored in a secret location, perhaps with one of you). Let her know that if (and when) she is ready to leave, she will have support to do so.
If you witness violence or have threats leveled against you, call police.