He was yelling at her, “You stupid bitch! You always lie! LIE! LIE! LIE!” He slammed the car door, struggling to make his displeasure known. She was in the passenger seat of an old beat up late model sedan with out of state plates. Her head hung low with tears forming in her eyes.
He kept on going, “LIE! Why the fuck do you lie?!” He got back in to the car and the conversation was heated. The words were muffled. I could not really make them out. I knew he was angry. She was scared. He got out of the car and slammed the door, yelling at her some more as he walked away past my vehicle. Our eyes met. I stared at him and took off my sunglasses. I wanted him to see my eyes. I was angry too.
I rolled down the other window and watched him leave in my rear view mirror. I looked up to meet her eyes. They were swollen and full of tears. My internal thoughts were going a mile a minute.
I thought about the times when my mother suffered a similar fate. Her second husband would belittle here and “get rough” with her in front of us. It has been almost thirty years but I still can’t call it domestic violence. But it most certainly was violent.
Should I get involved? I wish someone had stepped in when I was younger and my mom was suffering indignity in public. Would things have been different if they had? I felt so powerless as I saw my mom’s tears. I could do nothing to stop this as a child.
I paused and let our eyes meet, trying to say I will not let anything happen to you. I twitted some thoughts. Mu mind raged on. My anger built. I wanted him to come back and piss me off. I wanted him to give me a reason, an excuse to kick his ass. I wanted to do to him what I wished I could have done to him, some thirty years ago.
The angry, yelling guy came back to the car and past my window. He startled me. He walked past me and looked in my vehicle. I thought to myself, “You do not want any of me.” He got back in to the car. She was franticly looking around the car. He set in to yelling again. I could not tell what exactly he was saying. She got more frustrated. I tried not to stare.
She was talking but it looked like pleading. He grabbed her arm by the wrist and pulled something out of her hand or hit her hand. I had enough. I got out of my vehicle and walked towards the car. He got out and went towards the school.
She was there in the car still. I asked if she was ok…no answer. I got back in to my vehicle. She grabed the keys and went towards the school after him. I grabed my bag and left to go to class. As I entered the school I passed her as she exited the building. Our eyes met and she looked down at the grond. Her eyes still swollen and her face puzzled.
I walked through the building and he approached me, “Sir, I know you were sitting in front of us. Did you see where a phone went?”
“No, “I said. “But I did see you grab her. You better be cool.”
“It’s been a tough day,” he said. He smelled very musky. He looked like it had been a while since he had showered or cleaned up. He was embarrassed by my comments and looked everywhere but at me. I stood well over a foot taller than him. I was anxious. I feared more confrontation. His face phased in and out with that of my mom’s second husband.
“I dig. You better be cool. She doesn’t need to be talk to like that.” I hope this is what I said. It was something like that. I doubt it was as cool or poised as it is here. I was shaking and far from composed.
He sort of smiled and I walked away. I was fighting with myself, “Do I contact security?” I walked to the desk and informed the woman behind the desk what had happened. I asked her to please have security swing by to check on the couple to make sure she was ok.
The woman called security and practiced anything but discretion. God and everyone within 100 feet heard her say, “We have a report of domestic violence in the parking lot! Get out there right now.” I wanted to hide. More conflict. I was embarrassed. Then I was mortified as I realized the woman that was in the car was standing right there, mortified. The man that had just been yelling at her was also standing there looking at the swollen eyes woman and then me.
The woman on the phone almost yelled n to the receiver. I tried to hide. I tried to whisper to the woman on the phone they are right there, please use discretion. I wanted to run out of there. I stood there with emotions and memories flooding in.
Then the regret arrived. Did I do the right thing? Was I overreacting? I began checking in with myself. I called my wife. I called my brother. I prayed. I tweeted. I reached out in to my world looking for assurance that I did not fuck up.
I left school without going to class. I went and talked to the professor. I was shaking. With the passing time I got real anxious. I needed to process what had happened. I wanted to go back and not get involved. I have violence, especially, violence against women.
With almost 2 hours between me and these events I am having a hard time accepting I experienced violence. This was a violent act perpetrated upon another human. I am certain I did the right thing. I am sure of my actions. I wish there would have been greater discretion in the part of the woman on the phone. I may store securities number on my phone and call directly next time.
I am further convinced of the need for men to take a stand against this kind of violence against women. I wanted to not get involved. I wanted to dismiss it as “just an argument.” I wanted to forget about it and mind my own business.
I am still feeling anxious. I will calm down. I am thankful that something moved me to get involved. If we all stepped in to pause and end this violence the women in our lives would not have to live in fear. Fear of violence that dehumanizes them. Too many women live in a state of anxiety in this world that sees then and treats them as property, objects, and anything but fully equal creatures of a creating God.
I hope she is ok. I hope she doesn’t have to feel in danger. I will pray for her and for him. Her for safety and for him the courage to not be an abuser and break this ugly cycle of violence against women.