I'm Not a Rat, but He Pulled a Gun

Dear Dategirl,

I have a friend I met through work. Her husband works at the same company. She doesn't have a lot of female friends to confide in, so we became close pretty quickly.

I recently discovered that her husband physically abuses her. Furthermore, after an argument they had recently, he pulled a gun on her and she had him arrested. She confessed this to me last week. I have told her she needs to leave him for her own safety. She has tried getting him to leave, and he won't. She doesn't want to enforce a restraining order, which I think is ludicrous. I'm afraid that if she doesn't listen to me, she'll end up either in the hospital or dead.

My current issue with all of this—besides the obvious one—is that I work with this fucker. There are times I need to contact him for business reasons, and it's very difficult; all I want to do is spit on him.

Furthermore, I feel like our company should know what kind of scumbags they're employing. They are an upstanding company, and if this guy goes off his rocker and kills his wife, then where he worked will be public knowledge. Our market is tough enough right now—we don't need anyone making matters worse or souring the company's reputation. I think that if they knew, they'd fire him. And if they didn't fire him, I wouldn't want to work for them anyway. The problem is, I am not a rat. I keep my mouth shut. Only, my conscience is telling me this is one of those times where you have to break the code. So, should I?Furious on Friend's Behalf

This whole no-snitch bullshit is really getting on my nerves, thank you, Busta Rhymes. Where is the honor in protecting a scumbag? How does that make you a better person? Answer: It doesn't.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean you should tell your bosses. At least not right away. You're probably thinking that if they found out he was beating up his wife and waving guns around, they'd can his loser ass. Then maybe once jackass is out of a job, he'd have time to ponder the error of his ways...maybe reflect on his wrongdoings and decide that perhaps pounding the crap out of the woman he married isn't the right way to run one's life.

But I can pretty much guarantee that's not the way it would go down. Instead of focusing on what he did wrong, he'd be furious that his wife opened her yap. Once he was done administering that beatdown (or worse), he'd be apoplectic over the nosy bitch who got him fired. Then it would be your turn. Recall that this guy has a gun.

The best thing you can do for your friend is to make sure she knows she can count on you. I know it's extremely difficult, but try not to judge her. Most abusers isolate their victims, so just the fact that she has someone like you to confide in is huge. You have no idea how humiliating it is to tell another human being that the person you're in love with is hitting you.

I know you don't understand why she's resistant to the restraining order, but the fact is, separation is the most dangerous time for a battered woman—the vast majority of domestic violence murders happen during and after a separation. Plus, the police can only enforce a restraining order once he's violated it, and by then she could be dead.

What she needs to do is come up with what is known as a safety plan. She should know where she's going and how she's going to get there. She should talk to a domestic violence counselor—she can do it for free, by phone (1-800-799-7233 and 1-888-99-VOICE are two good resources).

You also have to keep yourself safe. I know you're furious, but this guy is evil and violent. Don't think for one minute you're immune. Guys like him have murdered judges, their own children, passers-by...so be careful.

Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at dategirl@seattleweekly.com or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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