What Kind Of Person Does That?


I had to call the police this morning because I could hear my neighbor beating his wife.

It was just horrible. I’ve heard him yell before, but she has always yelled back. At least, I thought she had. But this morning. This morning was like nothing I’d ever heard before.

I had my headphones in and was listening to Harry Potter while I worked on our budget, and I had just taken my headphones out to call AAA to have them jump my car when I heard it. He was yelling. Like I said, I’ve heard him yell before. Unfortunately, him yelling isn’t uncommon. And, to be honest, Rob and I have wondered before if he is abusive, but we’ve never had anything other than a feeling.

Until today.

Because among his yelling I could hear banging–thumping even–and a guttural wail. It was that soul deep cry that happens when you’re heartbroken. I made that exact noise when Rob and I were falling apart last year and when we lost Jamie. I have made that sound so many times when the trauma of the abuse consumes me. I know that noise. And I felt myself grow cold when I heard it come from next door.

I think they were in the front of the house because that’s where the sound was loudest, so I cracked our front door open so I could hear more clearly. And what I heard just confirmed that he was hurting her. There was lots of swearing. She was moaning and crying. She said ‘please stop’.

He said ‘I can do it harder’.

And that is when I called the police.

I don’t know if they heard me call, or if I was too loud when I shut the door, because the sounds stopped abruptly while I was on the phone. I gave the dispatcher all the info I could, and they said they would send someone. Then she asked if I wanted to leave my name, and that’s when I hesitated. I knew that leaving my name would help her if it came to court, but I was also terrified that he would find out I had turned him in and then come after me. I asked the dispatcher if giving my name would help keep her safe, and she said that they prefer witnesses leave names and contact info for those types of calls, so I did. And I’m still scared.

I kept glancing out the peep hole every few minutes, praying that the police would get there soon and help her. I imagine it didn’t take long for them to get there, but it felt like forever before they showed up. I finally saw the cop at the door, but he didn’t knock. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to hear her cries (although she’d been quiet for a while) or what, and he walked away for a bit and then came back. After a while, he walked away and another cop left the house, so I think one was in the house while the other was outside.

But then they still didn’t leave. They were hanging around in the side parking lot next to the neighbors house. And then a few minutes later the neighbor rode up to the sidewalk on his bicycle. He got off the bike, looked at the cops, and said “do you guys know what’s going on?”.

And that’s when I realized.

They keep their bikes on the back porch. He must have gone out the back door, gotten his bike, and rode off so that he could claim he hadn’t been there. And I just couldn’t stop thinking “what kind of person does that?”. Not only does he beat his wife, but he has the malice and forethought to think how to make himself seem innocent. That’s just horrible. And way too familiar.

I want to help her. I want him to have to pay for what he’s done. I don’t want anyone to have to be trapped, but I don’t know how to help her, and that makes me feel helpless. The only think I can think of is to keep my eyes open and if I hear anything again, I need to get my camera and record it so I have evidence. I don’t think talking to her will help, because most physical abuse victims won’t leave their abuser, and if she didn’t take the police’s help then she probably won’t take help from anyone.

And I’m scared that he will find out it was me and try and take revenge. But I hope he is a coward, like most abusers. And the situation brings up bad memories and feelings, but all I can do about that is process it, talk to Robby and Sheila about it, and try to help her so it doesn’t haunt me. I could never know abuse was happening and not try and help. I just keep praying that he will get arrested.

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11 thoughts on “What Kind Of Person Does That?

      • Yes, me too. There is such wrongness in him leaving and coming back as if he was never there. My guess is that she is scared to death of him and the consequences of anyone finding out are harsh. Maybe she would be willing to come up with a safety plan and eventually leave. There is a cool app out looks like a news site but it us actually a way to text and call friends or the police when in trouble.

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      • I know what it is like to be terrified of your abuser. In all honesty, I am still terrified of mine. And I’m scared of my neighbor because of that residual fear of my abuser, so I completely understand the fear she is living with every moment. I just keep praying she finds a way to leave and/or get help. If I knew her, I would talk to her about making a safety plan and tell her my story and encourage her to get help, but I don’t even know her name. And I worry that her husband would be suspicious if all of a sudden I start talking to her. Plus, neither of them work so getting her alone is hard. And I just don’t want to do anything to make the abuse worse for her. Should I try and talk to her? Which would be better, risk bringing his wrath on her by talking to her, or wait and hope I can catch him abusing her on tape?

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      • I would probably wait right now as the police were just there and trying to help could just make things worse. Maybe down the road there will be an opportunity if he leaves for a bit. It’s a tough situation.

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  1. I’ve been on both sides. The abused and the witness to abuse. How frustrating and frightening it is. Thank you for trying your best I wish more people did.

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    • I don’t know if you are familiar with my blog, but I too have been abused and so I know (to an extent) what she is going through. It just breaks my heart that she is still trapped, and I have been praying constantly that she finds that moment of strength she needs to break free. I don’t understand how anyone could KNOW that someone was being abused and not try and help them. How could you leave someone to that? How could you just turn away?

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      • I just started following you because I read this post any your about me page. I have written about similar things on my blog. I have gone through the same things and even the sound of raised voices by couples will make me begin to shake. I once pulled my car in front of a man and woman who were fighting on the street. Got out and called 911 and told that man to leave her alone. He ran like the coward he was. The woman thanked me but in my heart and guts I fear she went back. I prayed constantly as well. It would be so hard for me to have neighbors like that. Bless your heart for actually giving a dam when most of the world forgets.

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      • I know your pain, and it is our duty to protect and understand each other, because sometimes many will not understand, or they put a stigma on us.

        I had one simple post that I wrote about a relationship breakdown, it did not even have to do with the violence part, and a blogger wrote things that fueled anger in me. I knew what he was trying to say and maybe it came from a good place, but one of his comments really upset me . . . I finally realized I had to walk away from the conversation. I felt horrible for days afterwards and it brought back a lot of bad feelings and emotions. This was the post with his comments.

        http://beledbyreason.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/the-awful-nothingness/

        Just know I understand 🙂

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