The other day, I was walking home from the N. I went down Ditmars and down 29th St., behind the Imaculate Conception church. I was walking behind this couple who were fighting, and one thing led to another and it got violent.
Over my earphones blasting Priscilla Ahn, I heard the man call his wife or girlfriend a “stupid whore,” a “crazy bitch,” and a “fucking cunt.” He was lashing out at her, waving his arms around, animated and angry. She had her head down, looking to the ground, and what looked to be nodding at his comments. Then, he cornered her and started punching her with a tight fist against her head and her upper body.
I didn’t know what to do. I knew what I should have done, but I froze. I stood maybe 100 yards away and watched, stunned. Luckily, a man happened to see driving by and immediately stopped his car in the middle of the quiet one way street and got out of his car. He rushed over to the sidewalk where we were and told the abuser to stop.
He said something like, “Hey, man, I’m married, I know things get hard, but don’t hit a woman.”
The abuser turned around and told him to “Get the fuck out of here, it’s none of your business.”
The man stood there, getting closer slowly as the abuser hit his partner.
The helper said, “If you want to be a real man, turn around and hit me, leave her alone!”
The abuser rushed the helper and said, “If you don’t get the fuck out of here, I’m gonna fucking kill you!”
The victim crouched down on the floor with her back against the brick-walled church. She screamed at the helper to please leave, “This isn’t your business. Sir, thank you for your concern, but I can handle this.”
The helper looked at her and said, “No, your boyfriend is beating you up, you can’t handle it, let me call the cops.”
She got up and frantically said, “No! Don’t fucking call the cops, I can take care of myself.”
I just stood there watching.
The abuser looked at me, and said, “What’s your problem?”
I looked in silence, my jaw dropped, feeling the urge to cry and to hit him at the same time.
The abuser and the helper both got closer, face to face, and the helper kept pressing him, “A real man doesn’t yell at his woman like that, A real man doesn’t hit.”
The abuser shouted back, “She’s my girl and she can take care of herself.”
The helper ran to his car to get his cell phone and said, “Hey man, I’m calling the cops to come take care of this.”
The abuser laughed and said, “If you call the cops, we’re outta here. In fact, let’s go.”
He pulled the woman’s arm and dragged her away as she turned to say thank you to the helper.
Domestic Violence happens all around us. It happens in the smallest and biggest of ways, but it always is occuring and it always victimizes somebody who should not be victimized.
I wish that I had the courage to approach the man and call him out on his bullshit, but I admit, I was afraid and I was in shock. The last time I witnessed domestic violence, a man at the Juneau airport got in the face of his female partner and screamed at her in a foreign language as travelers watched. She had her arms up, protecting her face, as if he was going to strike her. It wasn’t her first time in this vulnerable position. I shook my head and said really loud, “You’re a real man,” to the abuser. It angered me so much, I wish I would have got in there and pushed him away or called for security.
Nobody should have to endure being verbally or physically abused by anybody else. I want to challenge myself and all of my friends and everybody who believes that domestic violence is all too common to stop it when they witness it. To not be a bystander, but to take action and to possibly save someone’s life. Many times, the victim refuses to see themselves as victims, or they genuinely believe they deserve the abuse. But they don’t. Nobody does. So please, the next time you see someone verbally or physically abusing another person, stop them the way you would want someone to help you.