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Domestic violence is a 2-way street

Dear Abby: On Oct. 19 you printed a letter from "Bruised and Abused," a man who is dating a woman who becomes physically violent when they argue. I have heard from authorities that about half of domestic violence occurs when a woman throws the first blow.

Most women believe, as the abusive girlfriend said, that her attack on him isn't violence because she's a woman and he is a man. As difficult as it may be, we need to talk about the role women play in the domestic violence cycle as well as the responsibilities of men. I'm saving the letter from "Bruised" to remind me.

-- Donald, a California Dentist

Dear Donald: Since I printed that letter I have heard from readers telling me my answer didn't go far enough. (I advised him to end the relationship.) Among those who wrote to me were doctors, members of law enforcement and mental health specialists -- as well as former victims. Read on:

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Dear Abby: I'm a retired cop. "Bruised" asked you if what his girlfriend is doing is domestic abuse. Your reply did not mention that his girlfriend hitting him IS domestic abuse. It doesn't matter if the abuser is male or female, nor the size of the victim.

"Bruised" should call the cops and report this before she goads him into a response that gets him arrested. The courts can mandate the therapy she apparently needs.

-- Russ in Helena, Mont.

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Dear Abby: I was a victim. People asked me why I didn't fight back. I wasn't raised to hit women.

In the end, my wife put me in the hospital twice and left me blind in my left eye. She spent nine months in jail for everything that happened.

Violence is violence regardless of who is throwing the punches.

-- Battered in Arizona

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Dear Abby: It doesn't matter if he is a boy and she is a girl, or that he is bigger and stronger. Women do abuse men. It's a crime that too often goes unreported. He should contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233 or SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone) at www.safe4all.org.

-- Claudia, Ph.D., Long Beach, Calif.

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