An encounter with a domestic violence survivor

It was around 8pm on a Saturday and I was at home relaxing with my family when I heard a loud noise and we all stopped in our tracks to listen further.

Within seconds, we heard loud screaming from a woman and two children and my neighbour stormed out of her house and banged desperately on my door. I quickly opened to find her literally shivering, holding two children in her arms, one aged three and another just a year old. The baby had a big bruise just above her eye and my neighbor, sobbing and shaken, was bleeding from her knee.

A few minutes ago I had seen her husband trying to navigate the stairs in a drunken stupor, holding a plate of half-eaten food. So I knew what had happened. She said that her husband was trying to punch her while as she was holding the baby and because he was too drunk to focus even on the abuse, he missed her and punched the baby. The child wasn’t crying any more, she was just shivering and scared.

I quickly locked the door. I suppose at the back of my mind I thought he would bring a gun or a knife in his confusion and try to harm us. My neighbour is a young mother, barely in her twenties, but her resilience and sense of clarity even during this difficult and confusing time impressed me.

Without me prompting her, she picked up the phone and called the police. She didn’t try to convince herself that he would change or try to think of what she and her children would survive on during his incarceration, should it come to that.

Her decision to call the police was done was done without any hesitation, with no self-doubt or self-pity. It was done without seeking any approval or regret. Although I would never want to be in her situation, I admired her strength. She is unemployed, with no source of income other than her husband’s. But that did not stop her from trying to protect herself and her children the only way she knows how.

The children had not eaten anything since morning and the plate of half-eaten food I had seen earlier was meant to be everyone’s supper. The police arrived. They took one look at the baby and one of them said for this he would be locked up for a long time.

I then learnt it was not the first time my neighbour had reported her husband to the police for assault. He had gotten off in the past with a warning after he had apologised profusely and she had withdrawn the case.

The husband was taken away, cursing and swearing and too drunk to realise the damage he had caused.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *