Tears running down my cheeks
It’s 4am on a Sunday morning. I wake up to people screaming at each other and the buzzer going off again and again. I hear a girl begging a guy to leave. Not just once - I hear her repeat it seven times before I get up. I meet her in our hallway, panic in her eyes. The guy she has been seeing for a few months has been outside for an hour, trying to get in. There are twenty voice messages calling her nasty things, texts threatening to kill her and to smash up our flat. We wait two and a half hours for the police to arrive.
Him screaming outside, her laying in my lap. Tears running down her cheeks.
I have a lot of experience of domestic violence. I have been close to women who have fled from their partners, scared for their lives. I have met women who have been with men that have beaten them daily for decades. Men who have hired professional murderers for thousands of pounds to kill their former spouse because she finally had the courage to leave him. No, it’s not a movie – it’s the reality for some of us.
I am lucky not to have met a partner who inflicts domestic violence. I hesitate as I write this. Lucky? No, it is a human right to not be scared while in your own home, to not have to cover your bruises or call in sick because your partner couldn’t control their anger. But yet, I feel lucky. After all, I am the only one among my closest friends who has not had a controlling, abusive and/or violent partner. I cannot help but wonder why. Because, after all, it can happen to anyone.
Violence against women, which is the most common form of domestic violence, indicates an infected society. It is not possible to separate this phenomenon from the discrimination of women we face in our daily lives. For example, it is hardly difficult to understand why women are forced to stay in violent relationships if they are dependent on their partner’s money, due to having a lower salary.
We have to support the victims of domestic violence and punish the perpetrators. Consequences are important on an individual, societal and global level. There are no excuses for not dealing with this problem: stop cutting resources for women’s shelters. Stop blaming women for being too scared of leaving. Stop thinking there is a typical victim or a typical perpetrator. Start spreading knowledge.
It’s 11pm on a Sunday evening. I decide to leave my blinds open as I am about to go to bed. The red light that normally slips through my blinds remind me too much of what happened earlier. I would rather wake up way too early to rays of sunlight than have to think about him the first thing in the morning.
Sick of once again experienced the true colours of a ‘nice man’ being revealed. Sick of once again have witnessed a woman’s trust being destroyed. Sick of once again having my own trust destroyed. Tears running down my cheeks.
Written by Fanny.