The Neighbors (preferable)

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.

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To read from the beginning… my story starts here.

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9 thoughts on “The Neighbors (preferable)

  1. As a survivor, who knows for certain that no one called the police when I screamed for someone to please do so, I always butt in and ask if someone is okay. Even if they are lying to me and nothing changes, it might make them feel that someone does care.
    It is so easy to feel invisible. I got to a point where having a teller smile at me actually made my month. I would find myself saying to my abuser ¨But I am human!¨ when he was terrorizing me just to keep my sanity, even if he did make fun of me for it.

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    • That’s so incredibly sad. I’m so glad you made it out. It may be hard to believe but I think there is an underlying fear he has that he really doesn’t know what I’m capable of. I’ve snapped on many occasions and I can tell in the way he acts afterwards (calm and careful) that he truly doesn’t know when the tag will be on his toe. I’ve never let myself succumb to the mind games. I thank God for that. For some reason I’ve kept my head in the game. Even though emotionally I may teeter.

      In the very beginning after some really rough patches…when I finally didn’t flinch at a hit…I think is when he knew he no longer had the upper hand (figuratively). So as much as I feared him he also feared me. Being invisible or ignored by my neighbors became almost a non-existent secondary thought.

      Thank you for reading and your comment. I appreciate when survivors reach out and share their story. xx

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  2. Great script for people wondering how they can offer support – I will certainly keep this in mind. We over here on the Internet are rooting for you and your present and future well being.

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  3. Hi, there. I want you to know that although I did not have to endure anywhere near as much abuse as you, my neighbors, at all five places (we were evicted 4 times) heard everything that went on. Never once in over 4 years did any of them call the police or approach me. Ever (with one exception). I learned later that all of them had been talking about it behind my back, and although I have no proof and never will have proof, from the conversations that made it back around to me, it was the catalyst for the first eviction. The landlords had been alerted to what was going on, and instead of talking to me, despite having a flawless record of rent and no complaints until he moved in, I was thrown to the wolves and out into the street with the man they were so concerned about in regard to his treatment of me.

    As he later signed up with multiple police departments doing drug buys and the ATF doing weapons sales, it become more and more clear to me that I was going to be thrown to the wolves whenever it was a benefit to someone else. Because he was exceptionally good at what he did (he had practice in other states before coming to NY), they were good to him and often helped him out of trouble. The message to me as an innocent was if he helped buy enough rock in the capacity of an informant, I was expendable. My safety and my life meant nothing.

    The one exception where the neighbors did call the police was in the middle of the ten hours of repeated attacks the night before I left. However, I suspect it had less to do with concern for me than it did with the fact they wanted to sleep. When the two male officers came, they stood outside in the hall more than a foot away from the door. My ex stood in between them and me. What should I have done when they asked if everything was okay, knowing all he had to do was slam the door shut and throw the dead bolt? Say “No officers, he’s beating the crap out of me?”

    The sad thing is that when a victim of domestic violence loses their life, these same people will stand around talking about how horrible it is, how much of a shame it is that they didn’t try to get help. Thank you for putting up an example of how they CAN and SHOULD respond. It IS their business.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy,

      Over this past year, you have been a strong presence for me and for other victims/survivors of Domestic Violence. I know enough of your story to say we are sisters in this fight. Although we may not have suffered the same way each time I am reminded of what you – or any of the other women AND men I have come to know thru this blog – have gone through in regards to this epidemic it a) saddens me that there are so many of us, and b) it strengthens my resolve that much more to see my journey to the end so I can eventually use my voice without hiding behind the computer and do some damage to this battle.

      As for the people that are out there minding their own business…what can I say? At some point Karma will eventually introduce itself to them. 🙂

      XO

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