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July 08, 2008



I have been enjoying your strip recently, as it was added not too long ago to the Des Moines Register. It offers a very interesting inside look at the lives of Women that we Men never really get to see. I work in an office place that is almost entirely made of female employees. I have been made "uncomfortable" many times by blanket statements such as "all men are like that", or "what do you expect, he's a jerk like all of them". Now I understand that the same things are said by both sexes, but it really makes me feel bad.

Anyway, this is a rambling post, but I appreciate the fact that you try to not make all men outr to be abusive jerks or asses, if you will. We are not all that way, and it is nice to see some men portrayed as normal guys that love their partner and try to be there for them.

Thanks for that.


THANk YOU! thank you! thank you for being so courageous to tell the story of domestic violence in a comic strip. When people say to me "I would never stay if someone hit me" they dont realize the time before hand the abuser grooms the victim with emotional and mental abuse, then the followup "honeymoon period" of flowers and apologies, followed by tension and then abuse again and it cycles again and again until there is actual physical violence and maybe death. The emotional abuse IS Domestic Violence! There doesnt have to be hitting for it to be called abuse, something you are showing in your column and is a very important point. Physical abuse is ALWAYS preceded by emotional, verbal, mental, financial, and/or sexual abuse. I know. I am alive here today to say this fortunately because someone told me that was so. Therefore I commend you heartily for spreading the word in a place where most people dont expect to see it- maybe thru your strip a woman will see herself , recognize a friend, a sister even, and get the help they need to escape the grip of domestic violence. THANK YOU for writing about this!
Marlene - Volunteer Advocate, Safequest Solano, CA

Zainab K.

Thanx for such a great strip. I enjoy all the different characters, and their trials and tribulations. And also with the way you have handled the domestic abuse storyline. All too often, this is a form of violence that goes undetected for women and children, and a minority of men. To bring it into the spotlight takes a lot of diplomacy (for lack of better word) and I appreciate, as I am sure others do too, the amount of research, thought and effort you have put in. And also how you have handled the issue with such delicacy. I am happy for your friend 'Anne' and wish her all the best.

Wishing you continued success with 'Between Friends' ... :)

PS It never ceases to amaze me how much time and energy goes into a strip, that takes only seconds to read, but has such an impact so as to touch the future :)


Thank you for this post, and for the subject you are about to handle. Your words had so much of deja vu for me. When I burnt my hand cooking, the nurse asked me the same sort of questions, and my husband (thank goodness he was there that day)figured it out before I did... And I have a friend, talented, bright, intelligent, who dropped out of school for a guy. Only I have lost touch, and I don't know if she even survived... I have some regrets about not assisting her back then, but I was so naive, and innocent, and she was already in a different world...


Wow. I'm really impressed and proud of you for pursuing this story, Sandra. And hats off to 'Anne' for making the tough choices to get out of her horrible situation.

I know many people can't understand why some women make terrible choices in their lives regarding the men they choose to be with, but like you said, Sandra, it is never a black and white issue. I'm pretty sure that 'Anne' (and so many other women like her) had very low self-esteem in her youth. It's usually women who've never had issues with self-worth who can't understand why women become battered wives. And I speak from personal experience. In my teens and early 20s, I dated a guy (for 4 years!!) who controlled who I could choose as my friends, what clothes I wore, where I could go, how I should speak and even what my career should be. He was a talented cartoonist himself, and very often told me how terrible I was as an artist and writer. And because I struggled with issues of self-esteem back then, I believed everything he said was true. It was tough finally ending that relationship, but I'm sure that if I had stayed in it, my life would have ended in a very negative path. And it took a LONG time for me to get over that time in my life.

Of course, I can't help but think about his words all those years ago, considering what I'm doing for a living now. Nothing in life is black and white. We all have some very interesting (and sad) shades of grey in our pasts.


I will definitely start reading the strip more closely this week. I've never been in this situation, but it's always bothered me that an otherwise rational woman can allow herself to be treated this way. It's always been one of the big rules when raising my children that a man does not raise a hand to a woman or vice versa. I watch my grown children even now for signs that something like that may be going on in their lives so it can be hopefully be headed off. It's so wrong! Maybe it bothers me so much because I had such strong female influences in my life, and other relatives who seem to think any man is okay, no matter what he's like. What are these women thinking?

Margaret Shulock

Hi Sandra,
Your personal story about the triage nurse who "had to ask" reminded me of another topic that sort of overlaps.
The day of Anita Hill's testimony to sexual harassment in the work place I happened to be visiting my Mom and Dad.We sat riveted to the TV until the judge called for a break. As my Mom made tea I casually asked her if she'd ever experienced that sort of behavior at her job. Her reply was a swift and firm, "oh, yes!" Then she proceeded to tell an absolute horror story of inappropriate touching and remarks that had happened to her only a scant seven years before. She never reported the incident but decided to handle it on her own. That worked, thankfully but her story left me shocked and moved by my mother's courage. And very glad that I had asked!
Thanks for reminding me,

Dan V

Wow - gutsy decision! I know, sometimes you go where the story takes you, but I still admire you for not shelving a difficult topic. I'm looking forward to the series! And, don't get discouraged when the critics start yelling - you're doing the right thing.


very inspiring...do keep us posted as you go through the creative process!


Maeve's a better choice than Kim, and I like the suspicion you've created already. Kim isn't exactly a tough character, but she's more introspective than Maeve and would be able to handle this more readily -- not "easily" but with some perspective. Plus, she's got a good marriage and a nice kid and so can look at someone else's choices with a little more equanimity. Maeve's capacity for dumb romantic decisions and her (external only) more la-di-da attitude will set her up nicely to react to what she's about to experience, including the whiplash in her current view of her friend's motivations. Also a nice decision to take it in pieces rather than do a long, Funky Winkerbean-style soap opera. Gives the readers a break and also lets you reflect on the next move!


And thank you for posting this story about Anne today - I was in a slightly tight situation today (absolutely not similar to Anne's story!!) - and this post reminded me that there are much, much worse and tighter situations in the world that I am better off compared to them.


Good Luck, Sandra.. I am sure you will do a good job - as always...
waiting to see the strips..

Brian Fies

Good for you, good for Anne. I look forward to following the story. I swear, there are way too many jerks out there who make me ashamed to be a man sometimes. I just don't understand them.

Robert G.

Thank you for not trying to over-simplify this complicated issue! Also, I expect you'll get a certain amount of flack for not being funny in the "funny pages."

I worked in an emergency shelter for homeless families for a couple of years and the main thing I learned is there's no simple solutions.

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