Minny is worried that Aibileen will take the fall for getting her the job with Miss Celia, but Minny ends up being blamed for everything, including lying about the recommendation. Miss Celia values her too much to care, though, and ignores all the horrible things Hilly and her friends say about Minny.
Leroy has beaten Minny again, but she is too ashamed to tell anyone. Celia tries to help her and suggests they call the police. They are interrupted when a naked man shows up in the backyard. He tries to break the window and threatens the women. Minny runs out into the backyard to attack him with a broom, but he hits her already smashed face. Celia comes to the rescue with a fire poker and beats the man bloody until her runs away.
Minny's shame about being beaten by her husband is revealed. She tries to hide the physical and emotional pain from Celia and Aibileen. Minny says that black men can leave their families but colored women don't because they have children to consider. Minny is amazed by the strength Celia shows defending them both against the intruder. A new side of Celia is revealed, and Minny admires her courage. Both events make Minny and Aibileen think about the lines drawn between husbands and wives, white and black, and employers and the help. Aibileen tells her that "kindness has no boundaries" and encourages Minny to tell Celia that she is too good a person for those society women anyway. She does not like Celia's feeling the same kind of shame and rejection, but Celia will not listen. She dresses for the Benefit in a sparkly dress that is too tight and too revealing for the conservative society women. Then Celia downs a bottle of wine before leaving for the event, and Minny knows they're both doomed.