by Elise Lockamy
“Don’t have to stay with someone/That makes you cry/ You’ll end up killing all the love you have inside…”
My song of the morning this past week has been Boyz II Men’s “Pass You By”. The song tells the story of a woman who glows and feels like life is complete after she meets this amazing man. Soon though, the glow begins to fade. He’s not who she thought he was. The relationship is not going in the direction she thought it would. The Boyz tell her she doesn’t have to stay. “You’ll end up killing all the love you have inside.”
A few months ago I was making a left onto Peachtree. As I started the turn, I noticed a woman in the passenger seat of a Range Rover at the light. Her pink skin had grown pale, her appearance withdrawn and sad. I looked away. As I finished up the turn, I glanced in her direction again and saw the car’s driver, a man who looked to be a few years her junior and twice her size, punch her in the face. He punched her.
The light changed. They continued driving.
“Oh, my God. Okay. Okay. Pull over. No, you’re in the middle of the street. Okay, make a U-turn and follow them. What’s in the trunk? All I have is a screw driver. He could beat me up too. License plate? If I get the plate, maybe I can report it. Crap. They’re already gone.”
That was it.
I did manage to report a domestic violence incident a year ago. I was trying to sleep but there was a lot of commotion outside. I heard arguing and car doors slamming. I sat up in bed, looked out the window and saw a male figure pushing a woman to the ground. He was holding her by the neck and she was whimpering. I ran to find my glasses to get a clearer view, but when I hit the light switch, it alerted the batterer and he hopped into the passenger side of a waiting vehicle and sped away.
I ran downstairs. There was litter everywhere. Clothes. Pictures. Condoms. Even a license plate. I knocked on my neighbor’s door to see if she was okay. (I had my screw driver in my hand.) She never answered.
I ran back up to my apartment, waited ten minutes, and then called the police. When they arrived, they told me that it wasn’t the first time there had been an incident with the couple downstairs. They asked, “Was he Asian?” I couldn’t tell for sure because I did not have my glasses on when I saw him. They banged on my neighbor’s door. When she answered, one officer proceeded to yell at her. “WHERE DID HE GO? WHERE IS HE? YOU TWO ARE GOING TO JAIL! YOU’RE DISTURBING PEOPLE! CLEAN THIS SHIT UP!”
I regretted calling the police. A month later, the couple moved.
I know there had to have been a time when both women had a glow, a glow of love and hope. When it began to dim, did anybody notice? Did anybody tell them that it was okay to leave? That there were better things in store if they did? What was keeping them there? I once heard a pastor say that women love to a fault. Was that it? Love?
I want to wrap this up neatly. I want to make some grand conclusion. But I can’t. Domestic violence is real. It’s not Hollywood. It’s not neat and fairy-tale like. It’s real people. Real messy situations. I just have to be armed for the next time I encounter it. A screw driver isn’t going to cut it.
If you or someone you know needs help, please see the resource below. From the #COOLIKANS. With love.
National Domestic Violence Hotline