My friend – update 1 (is this a scam?)

The lovely Daniele Vega, a big pimper of me over on G+, has been helping me get the story about my friend out, and one G+’er responded with some doubt – am I legitimate? Am I a scammer? Am I looking to steal your money?

He raised some questions and suggested I answer them here, on the blog, and I’m happy to do so:

Here’s what he wrote:

I don’t know. Would love to help. But seriously, the story doesn’t make any sense.

She leaves with her iPhone and $300, who pays the iPhone bill if she has absolutely no money besides $300 in cash? Hubby? He beats her and keeps her confined but gives her an iPhone with data plan? :/

She ends up in the hospital, no one calls the cops, even though she shows multiple signs of recent and old abuse? Where does she live? Yemen?

She’s afraid that $300 will send her to jail because it belongs to her husband even though she has an atm card on a common account and they’re married? >Didn’t she realized that, worst case scenario she can say she borrowed the money and will give it back some day?

I mean… I’m all for helping a damsel in distress. I’ve done that as part of my job…

If the story is real, the community should get behind it and help the girl. If it’s a scam, that’s horrible and highly damaging to the cause in general.

And here’s what I wrote in reply:

1)  She converted the iPhone to pay-as-you go.

2)  He didn’t “keep her confined.” She and he live in an insular community of observant immigrants in a big city. She’s part of that insular community, and has no connections outside of it other than virtual ones.

3)  The cops WERE called, and he spent the night in jail. But he won’t be prosecuted unless she presses charges, and for a variety of reasons she is disinclined to do so.

4)  He threatened to prosecute her for theft. I and others advised her that he’d never do so, that it’s a power play on his part. But she’s young, and doesn’t trust anyone, and has little experience.

Please DON’T send me money. Given your doubts, you should give it to an organization. But please do that.

I promise – if I were going to try to raise money for myself, I’d just work. This is a ridiculously inefficient way to do it.

Please please please – if you’re concerned about what I might do with money that you send here, DON’T send it to me. Send it, instead, to a bona fide domestic violence organization in your community.

Or, if you want at least some chance that the money will reach her directly, go here and give. Generously. I’ll happily match all contributions up to $100, up to a total of $500. Whether they go to me/her, or to an organization of your own choice. Just let me know you gave.



One comment

  1. As far as the scam comments, I really can’t comment without sounding offended. As far as some of their specific questions I’ll respond to one. She worried that her husband would have her arrested for taking $300 out of their account.
    I have a friend in California who is going thru something similar…far less horrific abuse(but abuse is abuse) already had 2 kids w/the abuser and now needs to find a way to leave him. I don’t expect most readers to understand the psychology of abuse, but when someone has been abused, physically, mentally and psychologically…for months, years…the abused’s world shrinks to almost nothing. When my girlfriend emptied one of their accounts, grabbed the kids and drove away…her biggest fear was what her husband was going to do when he found out she took the money. Why, you ask? Because he’s told her for years that she’s nothing….that’s she’s lazy, etc… that the only reason she lives is because of his “good graces”. I’m not joking when I say she believes every word. I wish she didn’t but she does. And that night she left…she returned to him the next day and handed him back every dollar. I cried that day.
    I still pray for the day she has enough courage to leave for good and I pray for her children.

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