Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Domestic dispute

About a week ago, I was getting ready to play in a doubles tennis match when two of the ladies declared their need to use the restroom before we played. This is a fairly common occurance before matches; however, I refuse to engage in this ritual. I am not a lemming, darn it!

Anyway, while myself and the other lady were waiting for the other two to return, we heard a man shouting. I couldn't tell where the shouting was coming from, but my first guess was that someone was experiencing EXTREME road rage. As the shouting continued, I rolled my eyes more and more convinced that this person was just venting.

I walked over to the water fountain to fill up my water cup when my heart dropped at the sounds that immediately followed the shouting. It was the sound of leather or flesh pounding on flesh, and after each whack came a terrifying "YELP!"

There were about 6 or 7 of these whacks, and each YELP got more shrill and terrifying.

I asked to borrow the other lady's cell phone, so I could call 911. The operator greeted me, and I explained that I was reporting a potential domestic abuse. No, I have no idea where the incident happened. No, I can't see anything. No, I don't know if the victim was a person or an animal.

I felt impotent.

As I am typing this, I can remember the feeling of my heart dropping into my stomach. Dread. Anger. Helplessness. These are not pleasant feelings. There was nothing more I could do.

When the other two ladies returned, we began our match. We were about 1/2 way through the 4th game, when we noticed the LAPD helicopter circling above our heads. This is the officer they sent?

I couldn't tell for certain if this helicopter was there because of my call or not, so I decided to err on the side of helpfulness. I stuck both of my arms out in front of me, I bent over at my waist, and I kicked out one of my legs behind me to point the helicopter in the direction I heard the YELPS come from.

I doubt this was helpful, but we all got a good laugh out of my charades.

The helicopter circled above us a few more times before flying away. That's it?! Nope. A couple of games later we heard police sirens.

And rather than feeling happy that the police were acting so quickly to a phone tip, I was hoping that this poor excuse of a human being didn't have children. I was afraid the police would find this jerk, discover that he had been beating the family pet, and now, the children would wail as their beloved pet was removed from the home. What happens then? Aren't pets considered property? Would this jerk lay into one of his children now that the pet was gone?

These are the things I think of when I decide to intervene on something I have so little information on. I think it is a reflection of the state of our system that I have so little confidence in it. I don't think the system would actually be better for the victim or victims in this case than if they stayed in an abusive home. How sad is that?

I probably don't need to worry though.

I doubt they found the guy.


Anonymous said... we are all hanging and wondering what it was and what happened! Prayer going out.... Mom

Don said...

The unknown is unsettling, unresolved and forever haunting.

You did what was right. Your action had some chance, no matter how remote, of changing an evil. Not taking action would have meant no chance of change.

Keep it up, Batwoman. We need people with your attitude.

Michele said...

This really reminded me of an incident that happened when I was teaching, in the late '80s. One of my 9 year old students had a bruise on her arm. I asked if she had fallen, no my mother beat me.

By law, that must be reported. So I told my principal, and she said not to worry, she would handle it. She called Social Services, they were out there pronto. That day. Mom was a foster mom, which I didn't know. The next day, I had conferences, with that mother. To make this shorter, I didn't want to meet her alone. Principal said not to worry, nothing would happen, but it did. The special ed. teacher said she would come and have a joint conference when the mom was there. The mom physically threatened me, to keep out of her business when it came to disciplining her child or "you'll be next." It was a terrible experience, but I covered myself by calling S. Services and letting them know. I never saw the mom again. I'd do it again, but this time I would speak up. It was a very frightening experience, but kids are involved here. You know you do the right thing, but it takes a lot to do it.

Don was right, you have to do what you do. Congratulations!