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`Breakthrough Leaders'

Thank you for publishing "Halting the Clenched Fist of Abuse," July 28. The plight of the battered wife is not some new phenomenon, of course, or merely the result of drunkenness or drug abuse. The only thing new is that society is now offering an escape for the woman.

It used to be that if a neighbor or one of the children called the police, the officer would merely chide the husband and perhaps mention that he was tired of responding to such calls. Fear of reprisal from the husband and lack of access to funds for escape kept the woman prisoner. Respect was given to the man as head of the household when respect was unwarranted. Society has a way of covering up this abnormal behavior and blaming the victim. Betty Spiers Sands, San Francisco

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