Park and C St.


We weren’t the closest people to the man beating on his wife on a street corner.  Lots of people were standing closer.  But we were the only ones to do anything.  I sprinted forward, then cast a look backwards towards Drea to let her know that if she wanted to stand back and just quietly call the cops that was ok but this was something I just had to confront.  As I glanced back, she sprinted past me.  (GAWD I love her.)

The man apparently had no problem hitting a woman in public, but as soon as we started yelling, he took off running, feebly offering over his shoulder, “she started it.”

The 9-11 operator picked right up and I began answering questions.  As soon as the woman realized what I was doing, she begged, “no cops, please.  He’s my husband.”

I said, pulling my mouth away from the phone, “Honey, he just can’t do that to you.”

She replied, “yes, he can.”

My heart just shattered as she ran off, maybe to rejoin him.  Another woman, who had been standing there the whole time only now asked if everything was ok.  I wanted to scornfully tell her how she was too late,  but as I watched the sobbing wife run away, I realized that maybe we were all too late.

6 responses »

  1. That is… wow.
    My heart hurts so much for people in situations like that. I can’t even imagine being in the position where you’d just accept that as if it were a normal part of your life.

  2. When I used to prosecute wife beaters (very satisfying), we would have the wives come in all the time to drop charges. When you refused, they’d lie to exonerate their husbands. Depressing, but little to do about it.

    When I once remarked on that to a longer-serving, more jaded colleague, she said, “don’t worry, she’ll be back.”

    And she was.

  3. I’m not sure why I want to add a lighthearted comment on a post which made me cry when I read it last night because it is not unusual and it is heartbreaking, but I’m going to.
    Last year one of my students, 9 months pregnant came in to sign up for classes with brusies on her face from “falling down the stairs” (and I had other reason to believe her boyfriend was a jerk). I did what she wanted me to– help her continue her education and asked to make sure that she was getting adequate medical attention, but didn’t pursue “the stairs” any further (and she’s pregnant again and it makes me heartsick).
    So yesterday I fell off the bottom stair (actually missed it completely) and probably broke my little toe. I had an OB appointment and didn’t ask the doctor about it– because I didn’t want to sound like a 8 1/2 months pregnant victum making lame excuses for domestic violence the way my student sounded to me. It really didn’t occur to me until much later that my doctor could probably distinguish between my husband and a wife beater, if nothing else because I’m having a hard time invisioning how one could beat someone and the only sign being a broken little toe.

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