Continuing on the topic of The Neighbors, I completely understand that stepping into a situation that you are unsure of is not easy. Especially when it comes to something as scary as Domestic Violence. It’s not easy from a woman’s perspective – fearing if the man is actually violent he could try to attack her too. As I’m sure it’s not easy from a man’s perspective – being equally concerned that if the man in question is violent what could the repercussion be for interfering.
That being said, I take it with a grain of salt that no one has ever stepped in on my behalf. It’s one of those things that would probably have to be acted upon without thought, in the spur of the moment, if you happened upon the situation going on before your very eyes.
Somewhere deep inside me, I imagine there are hurt feelings. Do my neighbors not suspect? Do they not care? Does everyone just care about what goes on in their own home? Enough that they wouldn’t even attempt to offer a kind word? From one woman to another?
I guess my emotional state has hardened over the years because, honestly, at this point in time, I don’t really care. I’ve been on my own for a very long time. On my own – out of my parents home – and on my own in a marriage that I’ve had to survive on a daily basis. The lack of care from my neighbors stemming from 1988 is the least of my concerns. However, in writing my story from a different perspective, this would have been a nice conversation…
Female Neighbor 1: I think I’m going to approach her and speak to her. Let her know if she needs to talk, I’d listen.
Female Neighbor 2: That’s a good idea. If you want I’ll do it with you, so she’ll know there are more than one of us she could turn to.
Female Neighbor 1: (Talking to me) Can we talk to you for a minute? I’ve actually been wanting to speak to you about this for a while but didn’t know how to. Please hear us out.
Female Neighbor 2: (Talking to me) We are concerned for your safety. I’m sure you know most of the block can hear you guys arguing. It sounds like he gets pretty angry. A lot.
Female Neighbor 1: We don’t want to assume what is going on in your home. We just want you to know if you ever need to talk we are totally here for you. Anytime.
Female Neighbor 2: I’ve heard some of the things your husband says and it frightens me. Even if you’re not scared, I’m scared for you. It’s not right.
Female Neighbor 1: Please don’t take it the wrong way, but if you are ever in real danger, you can knock on my door. You and your kids.
Female Neighbor 2: Even if it’s just arguing, I can’t imagine how you can listen to that day after day.
Female Neighbor 1: Let your kids know where I live.
Female Neighbor 2: Me too. This way if there is serious danger and you can’t get out maybe one of them can ring our doorbell.
Female Neighbor 1: I’m sure you were not expecting this conversation on your way to wherever you are going. I’m sorry if we upset you.
Female Neighbor 2: As women we need to stick together and help one another. We’d be wrong if we just stood by and said nothing.
Female Neighbor 1: If we’re out of line, I apologize.
Female Neighbor 2: Same here. I’d rather be wrong and say something than to be right and say nothing.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I’m not really sure what my reaction to this type of conversation would have been. I guess it depends on what time in my life it would have taken place. Now that I’m older and wiser, it would be a kind offering to have had this said to me.
I’m sure that someone somewhere at some point in time has said some portion of this conversation to a person who truly needed it. To those people I say…thank you. I guarantee it was appreciated.
To read from the beginning… my story starts here.