Pathways out of abuse

Not long ago , I was looking through a recent shipment of oriental rugs on sale in the basement of a local department store. Standing in line at a nearby cash register was a man in a cowboy hat with an attractive 30or 40-something woman, who was casually but tastefully dressed. I remember thinking she looked a bit sad.

No sooner had I taken in this scene than the man turned on his companion, without provocation. The verbal abuse he began to hurl at her was stunning and incomprehensible. She stood at his side, silently, enduring the embarrassment and indignity of his harsh words. Everyone around them fell silent, and looked nervously at one another. No one dared to intervene. I remember wondering how anyone—especially someone who looked so put together—could have hooked up with a man who treated her so cruelly.

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June 21, 2004
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