Saturday, November 05, 2005

Neighbours fight (again!) - called 911 this time

So, in case you're wondering why I'm blogging at this ungodly hour, it's because I can't get back to sleep. I was woken up about an hour ago -- again! -- by the neighbours next door. I live in an attached townhouse and these 20-something kids who moved in next door are generally quiet... except when they fight.

This time I woke up again to screams of him calling her names that will not be reapeated here, and her screaming, "No! Please stop! Leave me alone!" and crying -- uncontrollably crying. This is usually followed by thumping, banging, running and more thumping.

This is the third time in a month I've woken up to these sounds. This time I thought, "Right, enough is enough." And I called 911.

After I called the police, the screaming escalated. For the first time, I actually heard her scream, "Help me! Somebody, please.... help me."

I just thought, "Hang on, honey... Help is on the way."

The police came and all went silent. The police knocked and knocked on the door and finally I went out and said to them, "Don't go. Theyr'e in there. They just got quiet when you arrived."

It took the police half an hour to get inside, but they did.

I was saddened, but not terribly surprised, when the police came back after a few minutes to say that there no blood and everything appeared to be fine. Her life is not in danger.

All I could think was ... maybe not this time.


H. Stallard said...

I see this all the time. Here in Virginia our hands are tied unless there are some kind of marks on one of the two or we actually witness the assualt ourself. Then the primary aggressor has to go to jail.

But what I really don't understand is the female who keeps taking him back after he has beat the living h*ll out of her. We answered one call (where we had been several times before) and could hear her screaming for help as we got out of the cruiser. We kicked the door to get in. He was straddled her on the floor hitting her with both fists. We pulled him off her (bouncing him off 3 walls in the process) cuffed him and put him in the cruiser. We had to help her up off the floor. Holding her ripped clothes together she went out to the cruiser and told him "I love you, I'll come and get you out of jail as soon as I call someone to take me".

And I don't know the number of times we have gone to court only to have the charges dismissed because she wouldn't testify against him.

madcapmum said...

Oh, I've had the same thing happen, only there was actually blood on the wall, so the police were able to do something. But yes, the craziness of some people's lives defies belief.

Good on you for calling, though. I hope there isn't a next time (though there always is...)

ipodmomma said...

wow... that's some night... glad you called the cops, at least you know you've done all you can...

it is really truly amazing what people will accept... I can't fathom tht kind of disfunctionality. well, what I can't fathom is why the courts don't have stricter penalties for abusers.

but then there is a lot I don't understand...

was he arrested?

again, wow... I hope you'll be able to get some sleep tonight!


Sarah Elaine said...

He was not arrested. As I understand it, there was no proof that there was any physical violence and they said it was just a verbal fight.

What do I know? Maybe it was. Maybe all the thumping was a big pillow fight. (Yeah, right.)

My house mate did notice that the officer who knocked on my door had a bullet-proof vest on.

I guess the questions of why people don't leave are complex ones... tied up with deeply-rooted emotions. I won't even begin to try to explain it... probably because I can't!

As for sleep, yes... I hope there is some in my future tonight, too.

The whole thing left me very unsettled, I must say.

On a happy note, finally the roads are good enough for that outdoor run, so I'll be outside beating the pavement with my running shoes today, getting out all the grumpiness that I feel right now!

Thanks for the support...

H. Stallard said...

Don't ever hesitate to call 911 when you think they are fighting. You never know when that call will be the one that saves her life even if the police don't arrest him.

Bast said...

Good for you for calling. This is a complex problem, and one that I have come to understand much more deeply as I've worked in the area for almost 5 years now. Women don't leave for a variety of reasons. Some of them aren't economically independent and would end up on the street if they did. Some won't leave because of their kids - as long as he's beating on her and not the kids, she thinks she's protecting them. It's when he starts with the kids that she calls the police. And then there is the tricky issue of love - many women still love the person - they just want the violent behaviour to stop. In the higher socio-economic levels (yes, it happens there too) it's often embarrassment and shame that keeps them with an abuser.

What I don't understand is why they didn't charge him - my understanding is that the Calgary Police operate on a zero tolerance policy and have to charge. Perhaps because it didn't involve physical violence, but please ... And was there a social worker who was there too? They often work in teams now. There needs to be some sort of follow-up for that couple. The shelters have outreach programs and crisis lines. Calgary is doing good things in this area, but it's still too pervasive in our society.

Sarah Elaine said...

No social worker, as far as I saw. Mind you, it was about 5:00 a.m.

All has been ominously quiet since that night...