Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I can't even start to think how he justfies this.

The other day I saw something deeply disturbing. It was made all the more disturbing by its innocuous timing and location. It could have been anyone, on any street.

It's an image - or more than an image, a sound - that I haven't yet managed to push out of my mind. Nor do I want to: it somehow feels like it would be wrong to forget.

Walking on a road that was busy, but not so busy that individuals could blend into a crowd, my friends and I heard a woman let out a scream. At first we thought nothing of it - perhaps it was a scene on the television, or perhaps a cat yelping. Then we heard it again and turned our heads in the direction it was coming from.

Just as we found the source of the screams, we saw a man in the driver's seat of a white sedan land another blow on the maquiaged coiffed woman in the front seat. Two little boys, on either side of five years old, stood in the back seat watching. They were quiet and calm and didn't seem to think anything was out of the ordinary. The windows of the car were down so we had flawless audio of the scene.

The couple argued a bit more and the woman then turned her head straight ahead and tilted down. After a moment of silence they burst out in argument again and another arm swung at her. At this point, my friends and I were blatantly staring while we discussed what we could do to help the women. I kept whispering, "I wish she'd just get out of the car." But of course she wouldn't leave the kids. When the husband noticed he had an audience he drove off... but he only drove down a couple hundred metres and we followed them to where the scene continued.

Four construction workers were goofing around, fake-fighting, right in front of the car. How do you start to juxtapose four men slamming each other against the floor in jest, with a man beating his wife in a car, right in front of them? The construction workers acted as if they didn't notice. Perhaps they were too absorbed in themselves to notice.

We walked up and my marvelously gutsy friend knocked on the woman's window and then opened her door, asking if she was ok and if she wanted to get out. She shook her head no and turned her eyes down. The husband said everything is fine and we shouldn't worry. My friend angrily told him off for being a wife beater. The couple's two sons stood there watching. The car sped off and I saw that the back window was decorated wtih the sticker of a university in the U.S.A.

I don't want to forget because it says something terrible about society when men get away with domestic violence on the streets of a populated area . I wanted, desperately wanted, him to take it inside. Which is likely what he did after we confronted him. But once they are inside, there's not even the faint hope of help for the woman. I know it happens behind closed doors, and I hate that fact. But I really don't want to see it. But maybe it's better if see it, so I don't forget.

Please, don't forget. Perhaps if we tell stories like this and remind each other that there is never, ever, ever a justification for a man to beat his wife, just maybe that can be a first tiny baby step to stopping it from happening.


patty said...

i came to your blog by way of imperfect prose... i think you came to me, first(thank-you!)... and then i started to look around... thought it curious, your blogger info, wondered, if you can't tell where you're from, what do you do. i saw sociology in one of your tags, and here is where i ended. moving post. sad commentary. huge issue in so many nations. in others, right out in the open.. but here, in the US, behind closed doors. and, so, continues as if it doesn't happen. stay safe, whereever you are, where ever you are from... :)

Kati patrianoceu said...

Hi Patty, It's good to meet you on here. I'm enjoying the imperfect prose - it's a lot of beauty and heart to experience over the weekend. I unfortunately am limited in how much I say about my life in public venues, but the countries listed in the tags to the right would be the list of countries I've lived in since I started the blog 4 years ago! I work for an international NGO doing humanitarian work. A strange life with lots of interesting/exotic experiences which I feel too easily distance me from a 'normal' world. But I can't stop writing, it's what keeps me sane! I did really enjoy your blog, too, by the way.

About this issue, the best response I got was that we just need to be committed to talking about it. Not letting people forget and not letting people who do such things get away with it unnoticed. I wish there were more, but at least that's a start.

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