You really want to help them. It\’s your new year resolution to be benevolent. But you\’ve helped them one too many times already. You are wondering if your benevolence is doing more harm than good,
It\’s the typical abusive family. The father drinks, the mother is unemployed and has come to meet you. You met the mother in the course of your job and now she has stuck to you since like a worrisome toothache that won\’t go away.
\”It\’s Fred,\” she wails as she enters your office. \”He\’s going to kill me.\”
You had heard that phrase over and over but this time there was a wildness in her eyes that alarmed you.
\”What is this time?\” you ask gruffly,
\”He said he\’ll kill me if I don\’t give him some money. But I told him I don\’t have any.\”
\”Agnes, what do you want me to do?\” you ask her exasperated.
\”Please sir, this is the last time. I know I\’ve troubled you enough. But this is the last time. Please, anything you have-\”
You had heard that over and over.
\”Why don\’t you just leave him Agnes? Go somewhere with your daughter.\”
\”Ah, you don\’t know my husband sir. He\’s going to find me and then he will kill me and my daughter. My family\’s all gone. Dead. There\’s nowhere for me to go.\”
\”Don\’t you want me to talk to him?\”
\”Ah no sir.\” The fear in her eyes was unmistakable. \”He would kill me if he knew I talked to any man.\”
You sigh and remind her of the last time you gave her money and her husband had gotten drunk and hit her with a bottle when he came home. She had to have stitches.
\”He won\’t do that this time sir. I\’ll keep out of his way. But now, if I don\’t give him any money he\’ll kill me for sure this time,\” she said earnestly.
Your hands go towards your pocket. But then, you remember a friend of yours told you about a so called person in need for years and then found out later that he was being duped. You have never seen this woman\’s husband. What if she was lying? And if she was telling the truth, did you really want to keep on being involved? What if the husband comes after you? What if he really tried to kill this woman because she had no money to give him? What if he injures her again, maybe worse this time when he gets drunk on the money you gave her?
The woman stands before you, waiting for an answer. What are you going to do?