You shouldn't, but do

December 12, 2001 12:00 am

Glenda McDermott-Roe died at the hands of her husband, Scott.

He was sentenced to 10 years on a charge of first-degree manslaughter in her death, a seemingly light sentence but the heaviest punishment prosecutors could pursue.

If Scott and Glenda had been strangers, the beating and choking could have amounted to murder. But because they were married and this is Oregon, prosecutors could only pursue charges of manslaughter.

A sad loophole in the law, and one that deserves change.

You wouldnt think we as a people would need to make it possible for a husband to be charged with murder in his wifes death, but we do.

Men shouldnt beat women, either, but they do.

And women shouldnt stand for being beaten, but they do.

Thats why we found the method of putting community activists In Her Shoes (Tuesday, Dec. 4) a good one.

We can quibble over the causes of abuse social, economic, biological. It doesnt matter: By the time abuse is taking place, the important thing the point everyone can agree on is getting help for the victim.

It is hard to understand the difficulties involved in calling the police, or going to a doctor or shelter home, if you havent been in an abusive relationship.

And if you are, it is hard to talk yourself past the barriers the risk of arrest yourself or embarrassing personal questions.

What we heard loud and clear was this: friends and family have a responsibility to recognize abuse, and offering a caring hand to someone in need of help.

Abusers often cut off the abused from the outside world, limiting their access to other people and the means of support in effect increasing the victims dependency on her own abuser.

A friend or family member can reach through that vail and offer help, not unsolicited advice.

You ought to leave that creep probably wont work as well as:

Im concerned about your safety and the safety of your children.

No one deserves to be hit. It is not your fault. I can go with you to get help.

Lets talk about a safety plan. I will help.

Sure, it isnt your problem. But if it is your sister, or friend, or mother, or daughter, it is your responsibility to help.

Still not sure how?

Call MayDay, Inc. at 523-9472. Its a business line. Someone there can help you assess the situation and develop a strategy.

It is easy to say, Not my problem.

You shouldnt have to help.

But you do.