Dear Ann Landers, You printed a letter from a woman whose husband beat her up on the street in front of their house. She wanted to know why no one came to her aid when she screamed for help. Well, there are two sides to every story. I have a neighbor who has been beaten up and seriously injured by the man she lives with, and I no longer call the police.
The first time I heard her screaming, I almost broke my neck getting to the phone to call for help. Then, I knocked on her door, thinking my presence might prevent the situation from escalating. After the police came, she told them she didn't want to press charges, and that was the end of it.
The second time, I heard screaming and breaking glass, and I again called the police. They arrested the man and took my neighbor to the hospital, where she had her jaw rewired and several stitches on her forehead. She refused to press charges. The next morning, her "live-in" was back in the house. That very night, he threw her down the outside concrete steps (all 15 of them), and I called the police. The woman spent several weeks in the hospital with both legs in casts. Guess what. Her live-in picked her up from the hospital and brought her home. As soon as the casts were off, he beat her up again.
Now when she screams, I turn up the TV. The police are tired of coming, and I am tired of calling them. This woman needs help, but the police aren't the answer. Several neighbors have suggested that she get some counseling, but she insists that her boyfriend loves her and has promised it's going to get better. It's been nearly five years since I moved here. They are still together, and he is still beating her up. I am minding my own business. -- Gave Up in Pennsylvania
Dear Penn., In most cases of domestic abuse, alcohol or drugs play a big part. It's difficult to help people who refuse to help themselves, but please don't give up. Intervention by neighbors can save lives. I will continue to recommend it.