Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Domestic Abuse

Yesterday I " witnessed " a particularly nasty situation of domestic abuse.
I and " another" were on the other end of a phone.
We were helpless, and heard the confrontation as if we were characters in a film.
It was horrendous to hear and I am still bothered about it.

Last week in an intirely different situation, in the supermarket checkout , I saw a man in his 60s hurry by with his right hand gripping the back of a woman's neck( I presumed her to be his wife) his left hand was holding her left hand, and they dashed down an aisle. The woman looked worried and in the second I saw them my thoughts flashed from " it's horseplay" to " what's going on?"
Funnily enough I saw both again getting into their car.
He was at the driver's side , she was standing at the passenger door, and he was pointing at her with a stern look like a dad does to a naughty child.
Ok it might of been horseplay like I said, but I felt uncomfortable enough to stand there and stare until both had driven off.

I wish now, I had called out to ask if she was ok.

54 comments:

  1. I think the whole world is losing it's mind. There is so much violence now. I thought we were supposed to be PROgressing, not regressing!

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  2. seeing things like that always make one feel slightly stunned and impotent

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  3. How horrible, it's so upsetting isn't it

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  4. Whether she was ok or not, she would have said, 'I'm fine, thanks'. This is what makes such situations so difficult. If you really think something is wrong, call the police. Even if they take no action, the report is then on the record and if there are a few of these reports, the police will judge that there is some substance to them.

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  5. I once was with a group of teens waiting for a bus when a couple walked pass, the chap was shouting and pulling the women. couple of the lads told him to leave her alone and asked her if she was OK. They both then started threatening them and shouting at us. so I don't know if you would of helped or made it worse for her.

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  6. It is a difficult decision as to whether to intervene in such a situation or not John. As Sue has said "...so much violence now." and one never can know how such a person may react when questioned by a stranger. My George worries about me knowing that I am more likely to intervene in such a situation, as she says I am no spring chicken anymore! All I can say to you John is to do as your conscious tells you but be careful my friend and be aware of the situation.

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  7. Generally she (or he) will say they're ok. Then get home and probably get a good slap for putting the 'abuser' in a situation where they may just get caught out. I used to try and never dare put my ex in any situation where it would make matters worse.
    I firmly believe that the only way to help is either ring the police (thankfully these days they seem to actually help) or firmly interfere and get the 'victim' away.
    Bless you x

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  8. There are no easy answers, all one can do is try their best. Just do be sure to take care of you; you can't help anyone else if you're in a mess.

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  9. Well I don't understand the first paragraph. Is that a separate story from the second one? At first I thought the 60-something fellow had apprehended a shoplifter but now I realise it was to do with ironing. She wouldn't have got the rough treatment if she had got the creases right.

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    1. They were seperate YP
      The more I play the second situation in my head the more I am bothered by it. Even if it was horseplay, there was certainly an element of control and dominance in the behaviour
      I wish I had said something...its unlike me because I usually do

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    2. Your instincts were telling you it wasn't safe to try to intervene just then. Not for you, and not for her.

      Maybe you could do what I've done? In a couple of instances, when my instincts told me not to get in the middle, I used my mobile to snap a pic... and then got a pic of their licence plate, if possible. Having that evidence helped when turning it over to the police.

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  10. i really think it is worth asking if the victim is ok and of course they will say that they are but it lets the abuser know that their actions have been noticed and not approved of.

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  11. How could you help the woman on the phone? It must be hard if the call is anonymous and you don't know where the caller is phoning from. With regards to the incident you saw - years ago my Mum, Dad and some locals saw a man dragging a woman down the street by her hair and she was screaming. When the people intervened she swore at them and told them leave him (the abuser) alone!

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    1. Simone, that is pure Stockhom Syndrome. They want to defend the abuser, thinking they will be safe. Sadly, it does nothing to change the scum of earth who is beating them mind

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  12. Please please please - always ask if you think something's not right - go with your instinct, your gut feeling - without putting yourself at risk.
    x

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  13. How upsetting for you and your colleague to hear the abuse. And sad to have seen the man man-handling his wife in the supermarket.

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  14. :(

    I grew up in an abusive home. it ain't pretty.

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  15. Its a tough one isnt it...be a passive bystander and allow it to happen, not being sure if its `real` or not or speak up and risk the abuser being more enraged and take it out on the victim further when they get home. Why are some people so vile eh ?

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  16. Late one night I was walking through town when I saw a man really roughing-up a young woman. I began walking toward them by crossing the road and asked the woman if she needed any help. she said, "Fuck off and mind your own business!" so I did.

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    1. I had a similar experience in Brighton. I sorted out the man, then someone looked out of an upstairs window and threatened to call the cops on me. I tried to explain that I'd just saved the girl from a vicious beating, but she refused to believe me. I was lucky not to have been thrown in jail.

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    2. Sadly (and I know this) you will often get the fuck off treatment from the victim as well because it's far worse if they don't side with the abuser. It's best to try to get car number plates and just ring 999. The police will get the victim alone and do a welfare check when they are not under so much pressure to say "everything's ok"
      It takes an average of 32 assaults before a victim will report it and 2 women are killed (yes, it's women mostly) every week by their partner or ex partner.

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  17. I'd like to note, for general information, that when a victim tells you to mind your own business, a couple of things are at play:

    1. They are trying to protect themselves from more, and worse, abuse... because they will be the ones who pay the price, fair or not.
    2. They have generally been brainwashed into thinking this is normal behaviour, and that they somehow deserve what is happening.
    3. They are deeply, deeply humiliated and ashamed.

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  18. Ultimately the abused can only help themselves. The tales here in responses show that. Intervention won't help unless the abused is willing to fight.

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    1. intervention might help the victim to understand that what is happening to them is, in fact, abuse

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  19. As a 17 year old living in London with a man twice my age I was verbally and physically abused. I dont remember knowing the expression domestic violence at the time. On two occasions when I was asked if I was alright when he was being abusive to me in public it was worse for me as soon as we were alone again because I was blamed. He would always find a way of blaming me for everything and then a beating would follow. Nowadays it seems that people call the police if the cases I type up everyday at work are anything to go by, there are so many I wonder how Norfolk police cope with all the call outs for domestic violence. I have also experienced what Tom describes above outside a pub when P asked a woman if she was alright on seeing a man shouting abuse at her and they both turned on him.

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    1. And very few women in the cases I see ever want to press charges or even a make statement. I think Jacquelineand sums it up well in her 1,2,3 because that is how I felt as a 17 year old, especially point 2.

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    2. I think we've both 'been there, done that'. Glad you were able to get away from him.

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  20. The worrying thing is that she would (as mentioned above) have said she was fine. She would probably also have been "punished" later for acting in way that made a man look at her (doesnt matter why)!
    Too much experience to believe otherwise im afraid.
    The really worrying thing is that the next generation down seem to expect to be treated that way by men and the lads see it as their right! Obviously not all but its an attitude i hear a lot from my own and friends kids :(

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  21. It makes you stop and ponder how lucky are those of us who are not in these type of situations. And they stay on our minds with worry don't they? And you feel helpless...

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  22. Hard to know what to do in a situation like that. It seems you are getting advice from opposing views....intervene....don't intervene. My advice would be that if you see it again, jot down the licence number and advise the police you have seen this behavior twice with this couple. She needs the chance to say "yes...this is happening and I want out".

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    1. This seems to be something we could all do.
      If we think intervening would make thing worst, jotting down the license number sounds the best.

      cheers, parsnip

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  23. My husband and I saw an American couple fighting in Mexico once. He hit her and it was sickening. They were at the end of a dock and we were upstairs on our balcony and by the time we could have gotten to them, she had fled.
    Sickening. Horrifying.

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  24. I don't know what I would have done. Things like that sicken me, too. Maybe i'd have enough wherewithal to jot down the licence plate number and call the police.

    In this day and age, where there are shelters for abused people to go if they need it, I don't understand why they stay. Growing up, there weren't as many options available for those wanting to flee, and women had a much harder time getting a job that paid well enough, so while I hated it, I could see why they felt trapped and had to stay where they were.

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    1. Many do now go to women's refuges and more help and information is available. However, it is usually after they have suffered years of abuse, with many small children, that they eventually turn to these places.

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    2. Many reason exist not to go to a shelter, such as being forced to leave behind a beloved pet that will then be abused and possibly killed. Sometimes shelters are full when they're needed. Rooms in shelters are usually very small. I know someone who went to a shelter. Her four children slept in the two beds. She slept on the floor. It might be difficult to get to work from a shelter. The abuser will trace the person to the shelter. Leaving the shelter starts the cycle all over if the abuser is not in jail. Restraining orders are nothing but a piece of paper.

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  25. It's a nasty and complex subject. I hope I would do the right thing if the situation called for it, but I don't know.

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  26. For those who don't understand - you have to walk a mile ...

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  27. For the older couple it could be a lifelong pattern of controlling and abusive behavior, or he could experiencing a change in behavior. Older couples are very dependent and it is very challenging to break the dependency in the relationship. Communities and families need resources to support survivors who decide that it is time for change.

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  28. It's a horrible thing to witness. I lived next door to a family that the husband would regularly beat the hell out of his wife...a well educated, kind and very smart woman. She and I became friends. I regularly called the police, pulled her out of the danger, found her safe haven. She always went back home to him. Every.single.time. It's difficult, complicated, and way beyond most individuals ability to fix. I finally moved away. I just could not stand it anymore. They're still (proudly) together after 48+ years of marriage. I hope the bastard finally got too old and doesn't have the strength to hit her any longer. No...actually, I hope he burns in hell.

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  29. Thank you, Jacquelineand (and Rachel) for the advice on what to do. I've always worried about the fallout for the victim if/when the abuse is called into question, and it's good to have a way of handling it that would not make things worse.

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  30. I've had occasion twice to call either CPA or the police because of what I've seen on physical exam. It sickens me to even read about it. I feel pretty sure that if I saw it I'd try to intervene.

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  31. Never ever excusable under any circumstances - even verbal abuse, let along physical.

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  32. Hi John, from my experience as a victim of a "dickless pratt" I think asking if she was ok would only have resulted in a worse beating at home because she "caused the scene". And to all those who say "I wouldn't do this, I would do that" - if you haven't walked in those shoes you can't say. Sorry, but cudda, wudda, shoudda don't work. I hated my ex guts, I have a job, I told all the right people, documented it and called the police but I had to get out of that god-awful marriage the "right" way, not the way they do it in movies. They say a woman is never in more danger than when she's got that restraining order in her hand, and I certainly agree with that. I can only agree with the others that said to take the registration number of the car if you can. And of course if you come into contact with an abused person, encourage them to talk and share. Then they find out that it is much more common than they might think and that there is help available.

    Glad to say my ex left me for another woman (yay me - and poor sod her), she then dumped him, he thought he was heartbroken, has now hooked up with his next potential victim and moved back to the States (and YAY ME!!!!! to that). Sorry if I sound bitter and twisted but it really, really is that bad.

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  33. I still have guilt for not reporting something that happened over 40 years ago. I knew something was wrong, but thought that I should mind my own business. In more recent times. I have called 911 on two incidents when I have heard another lady's screams. The police were there pronto and took him away. but he was back in days. She finally did divorce him after she had a child, but I will never understand why she allowed him to abuse her for so long.

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    1. Maybe she didn't have anywhere to go. Maybe she was too ashamed to ask for help.

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  34. Domestic abuse does my head in. They are the calls I find most difficult to leave behind on the crisis line. Here in Oz we lose two women to death from it each week on average - and many, many more lives are permanently damaged.
    No easy answers though. I wish there were.
    Look after yourself John. Please.

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  35. I knew I would have a cross section of comments here.
    I have thought about what I could have done
    And know I SHOULD have followed the couple for a second look......i suspect my gut feeling was right but a friend with whom I discussed this with this evening also suggested that the woman in question my have been ill or suffering from something like dementia.....
    Having said this.....i still should have followed them
    I would have ruled this out

    And yes...i should have asked her if she was alright
    Cudda, shoulda woulda

    Hey ho....
    On a brighter note.......tomorrows blog is about Winnie and George falling into the river Elwy
    Who knew bulldogs float!

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    1. It's so hard to know what to do in situations like this.

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    2. Hi John, Anna again. I hope you didn't get me wrong with the "cudda, wudda, shoulda". What I meant there is that I was always open about what was going on and so many people told me I cudda, wudda, shoulda - that is, if they were in my shoes they would have done this, would never have allowed that, etc. But it doesn't work like that. They don't know all the intricacies of walking on that thing ice, trying to prevent the next explosion or worrying that he might take it out on your kids - that's how they really get you. As for being a witness to potential abuse, I also don't know what anyone should do. I only know that in my case if someone had intervened I would really have paid for it later for having "embarrassed"him. Anna

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  36. Different scenario but I had a situation where I thought should I help yesterday and I did. I was driving over to my Mums with my boy and we were going down a pretty quiet country road. There was a van facing towards us on wrong side of road, parked at an angle next to a mangled sign, with an old bloke standing next to it. I slowed down and wound my window down a bit and asked if he was ok. He ambled over to the window and said 'not many folks would stop these days, thanks for that, I had just stopped to see if I could get that scrap metal in the back of my van !!'. I trilled'oh as long as you're ok'I'll back up and go round you then, before he had the chance to ask me to give him a hand'. My son and Mum thought it was hilarious :) x

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  37. I think your instinct NOT to intervene could possibly have been the right one, she might only have been the butt of more antagonism when they got home. But to stand and stare might have been enough to at least make the chap aware of being seen to be the atrocious twat that he was!!

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  38. It's really scary to think of what we are capable of doing to one another. I agree she probably would have said she was fine, and that's even scarier. You can't help but worry when you see something like that. And I think it happening more with seniors than ever before.

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  39. I doubt if she would have dared to tell you that something was wrong. Perhaps it would be best to write down the tag number and make of the car. Then call the police and tell them of your concern. Years ago I was driving home and saw a man shoving a young woman as they crossed the street, apparently headed for their house. I've always regretted that I didn't do anything, but I didn't know what to do.

    Love,
    Janie

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