Earlier tonight, I left my house to walk my dog up the street. I walked about half a block and saw a man walk toward me. I had a bad feeling about it and turned around and walked quickly back to the house and went inside. My wife and I left a couple of minutes later to walk the other dog together and that same man had entered our yard and was about 6 feet away on our front walk.
My wife confronted him and turned him around. Having a big dog with us helped. We watched him try and go into other yards, and he tried to come back into ours. She turned him around again, and I yelled at him to back off. Then she called the police. The man went down the sidewalk a ways and then came back. The police came fairly quickly, found the man was inebriated and sent him on his way.
We went inside and went to sleep.
It’s 3:30 in the morning. I wake to a woman screaming. “Get out of my house!” she says. He swears at her and calls her a “punk bitch” and I hear them yell. She is very afraid and panicky, from the sound of her voice. She says something about “you threw me up against the wall”. I wake up, I try to wake my wife up but she’s sound asleep.
I go upstairs and call 911 again. The officer on the line knows my name and asks for my birthdate. We’ve called before on other occasions. She has me stay on the line as the woman’s voice dies away and the man’s continues more faintly. I hear a crash. I stop hearing the woman’s voice. She asks me how long I listened before I called. I tell her right away since it sounded so extreme. I think to myself “is she going to take this less seriously because it hasn’t happened for very long”.
I tell her there is a woman fleeing a battering spouse that lives in the next building, and that a couple of weeks ago I saw her with a black eye and wondered if he’d found her. She notes this in the file. I don’t know if anyone else has called yet about this family. I feel like I might not be taken seriously, because I’ve called before. She has me stay on the line and listen for awhile as the man goes on. She tells me if they scream up again to call 911 again.
I’m sitting here at my computer, a few minutes later. I can’t get to sleep. I’m crying. Bad men still threaten women’s lives in the middle of the night, and in my neighbourhood I had to know about it regularly. I hate this neighbourhood – how can I continue to live with this?!
I hear some car noises out front and wonder if that is the police driving up or the man driving away.
I’m still worried the police have me pegged as some sort of panicky neighbour, but really, if I was screaming loudly for an angry man to leave my house with panic in my voice, I’d want someone to help. I’m worried that since this type of stuff happens so much, that people wouldn’t call.
How can I go back to sleep? We’ve talked about soundproofing our bedroom a bit so I wouldn’t be wakened when drunk people scream on the streets sometimes. It’s Friday night and a certain amount of yelling just happens in a densely populated, low income area.
This house is what we could afford, and we’ve worked hard to make it nice. The garden, particularly is coming along.
A car flares to a start and I wonder if it is the man getting away. Has he hurt the woman? Is it okay for me to have called?
I’d only called the police once in my life before I moved here, when a man was trying to break in next door at our old house, another ‘domestic dispute’. The man was trying to break down the door to get at the woman, who had moved to escape him. She eventually let him in, a few days later. Her landlord kicked her out because she kept allowing him around.
I’m hearing a little yelling again and some crashes or slamming doors or something. I call 911 again since the woman is yelling “get away from me”. Have I done the right thing?
The police dispatcher thinks the police officer has just pulled away, and is sending them back. The screaming of course stops now, and once again I second guess myself. Will the police think I am making this up?
I know you survivors out there are thinking – “she’s worried they think she’s making it up because she’s a survivor. Even when things are extreme, she’s worried they won’t take her seriously, because they didn’t.”
Yes, I make a point of calling when bad things are going on. I have to, in solidarity to that little girl, myself, that nobody called the police about. Do I call unnecessarily? I don’t think so. This stuff needs to be stopped and we pay the police to do that.
I’m trying to do my best to keep my neighbourhood and family safe. I can’t stand this happening all the time.
I don’t like laying in bed, listening to people screaming, wondering if I should call the police, if it’s bad enough to ask someone to come and make it stop.
This, as my friend Butterfly would say, is why you shouldn’t fuck kids. This is also why I am so pissed off at men. Men need to stop using their fists to get what they want. They need to stop hitting and raping women, or pimping them, something I also see in this neighbourhood from time to time, although less so than I used to. Men need to get together and stop one another from using violence against women and children to get their way. Unlike Andrea Dworkin, who wants a day’s truce, a single day where no women are raped by men, I want it to stop.
I haven’t heard sounds for about 10 minutes now, and there is a certain calm in the air that I think means whatever was going on is now over.
I realize I feel like a kid, hiding in a closet, listening to her parents fighting. I chose this picture because it is hopeful. I like to imagine this father and child opposing more than just one kind of war.