There was a domestic disturbance in my house. (ramble)

Longish, a bit rambling, mostly to vent and clear my head. Pardon any grammatical oddities.

There was a domestic disturbance.

I live on the bottom floor in an apartment building with 4 floors. At 5 pm this afternoon, me and my SO heard people screaming in the stairwell. We opened the door, and at the same time there was a loud crash upstairs and more loud voices - this time children, as well.

Down the stairs come two women with four children in tow. They look terrified and are crying. We usher them into our flat and lock the door. It turns out one of the women, A, lives upstairs. (We moved in not too long ago, so I hadn’t met her before) The other woman is a friend. A says her ex is up there, that he assaulted her and broke stuff. She’s bleeding from a few cuts on her arms. The kids have blood spatters on their clothes. I see him walking down the hall through the door eye: big guy, muscular. We have to tell A to be quiet so he doesn’t hear her. After a few moments, he leaves the building.

The police show up after a couple of minutes. Me and the SO take the kids into the livingroom. The kids - a toddler and two that are around eight - are eerily calm. I put stuffed toys into their hands for some reason. We don’t have kids; I’m not sure what to do with them. But we have water, strawberries and an Xbox - it seems to work.

We sit around for an hour or so. The police leaves. A and her friend are sitting in our kitchen. A is howling and crying her eyes out. She doesn’t lift a hand to take care of her kids. Whenever one of the kids go into the kitchen to talk to her, she starts crying even more, talking to her friend about how horrible it is that they have to see this.

A and her friend leave the kids with us to go pack some bags in the apartment, so they can spend the night elsewhere. Me and the SO keep talking to the kids - about anything, really, just trying to make them feel safe with us. One of them calmly remarks that she has blood on her. We go and clean her up. We talk about the rubber duck in the bath tub. She looks calmer than I feel.

A comes back. She recieves an SMS from her ex. She reads the SMS aloud to her children, loudly cursing him. The kids give her advice on what to do. Then they’re off.

I have no idea what really happened upstairs. But I can’t stop thinking about the kids, and how they were so pale, calm and reasonable. Their mother melting down in front of them, while they patiently waited for her to stop crying. Dragging them into the conflict by telling them details about her relationship with this guy. A guy who seems to like breaking stuff and assaulting women. In front of her kids. What the fuck all around.

But I suppose it was a defining moment. I always wondered what I would do in a situation like this. Now I know. I didn’t hide behind a locked door, as the rest of the people in the building did*. I feel good about that. And I hope we made a difference for the kids.

*Literally. There was the sound of doors being locked.

You done good, kid.

Don’t think the kids will forget your kindness. You showed them there are some adults who are kind, helpful and strong, even when its none of their business.

On behalf of the children, I thank you.

Me, too. Thanks for getting involved for them!

Thank you. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I feel sorry for those kids. That’s no way to grow up, and I hope that your kindness will be some consolation to them.
You should be preparing yourself for the likelihood that she probably will end up going back to him and the situation could repeat itself. Are you going to want to keep getting involved? What are you going to do if the abuser realizes that she goes to your place to hide out? You don’t know if the abuser might turn his anger on you too and it could become a dangerous situation for you too, so you may want to think about what you can do to protect yourself.

911 on quickdial. Jackass pounds on the door offering violence, slam his ass in jail. She may be afraid of him, and go back to him but if you slam his ass in jail, he is fucked. If he then offers further violence, slam hi sass in jail again. Lather, rinse repeat.

Yeah, I’ve been thinking about the possibility. I really hope the situation doesn’t repeat itself, but of course it might. Mostly worried that the woman may try to latch on to me as a confidante in the house, which I’m determined to avoid. I bumped into her today and she’s making a lot of alarm bells go off: oversharing details about her current and previous relationships, treating any replies as interruptions in her monologue. I’ve met people with that kind of personality before and ended up as their personal therapist. That’s not what any of us needs right now.

But yeah, what would I do? If she came knocking again and the same thing had happened, i.e. she’d taken the ex-boyfriend back, I’d most probably let her in but tell her it’s the last time. Otherwise we’d be enabling her to repeat the pattern ad nauseam.

If he came around - police response in the area is very prompt. I don’t live alone. I have pepper spray and multiple exit points. Going beyond that is inviting paranoia, and I’m paranoid enough as it is.

You did good. Very good.

Pepper spray may not be enough if one or the other gets nasty: do either of you have a firearm?

Thanks, Quartz. To answer your question - no, we don’t. I live in Sweden, where firearms are rare unless it’s part of a profession or hobby (hunting, target shooting etc). 700 000 people out of a population of 9 million, according to the national gun-owners association. Not as rare as I thought, but rare enough that I don’t know anyone who owns one.

it is good that you helped.

there isn’t much you can do about an adult who doesn’t leave a bad situation, just keep pointing out a good direction.

helping the kids… that is where your example and kindness will do the most.

Poor kids. It sounds like they have become desensitized to that sort of situation.

I think that you did well, and so did your neighbors. These things sort of work out.

BTW, what did the SMS say???

Good for you for doing something, and please stay safe. At the very least, you’ve reminded the woman (and hopefully showed her children) that this guy’s behavior is not the norm and unacceptable. Domestic abuse often puts people in a black hole and everyone who tries to help ican be a little glimmer of light, even if it’s only in retrospect.

Thanks everyone for the cheering on, I’m very touched. I too hope that our intervention might have done something, anything, to help.

handsomeharry - the SMS was something along the lines of “I’m sad that you had to start a fight and make me break things, I was only there to get my cat back”. Classic abuser rhetoric. I’ve no idea how you think my neighbours did well, though.

I like the way that he said that she made him break things. What a stud!:rolleyes: