Have you ever been thrown into something and have no choice but to interfere in someone else’s life and in the end you get burned, I was. It was a lesson that will stick with me for many years, and will dictate how I perceive a certain unsavory action that is a common in society.
Not long after leaving the military and acquiring my own place in middle Tennessee, I lived in a mobile home community most often referred to here in the south as a “trailer park.” This was not like most T.P.s though it was very laid back and very quite most of the time, but as usual it never fails that you have those certain individuals whom just cannot keep their problem within the boundaries of their own home.
I and my girlfriend at the time were home on a particular Friday night kicked back doing what couples do, when at the door we heard someone knocking franticly and with a purpose. As I made my way to the door I already knew who it was, our neighbor “T” (tough I am to this day uncertain as to what her real name was). The reason that I already knew who it was is simple, it was a Friday night, and it was customary for her to come to our house when her and her boyfriend Bruce had gotten into a drunken argument that almost always turned physical.
On this particular night the abuse had apparently gotten more violent than usual as she carried more evidence than usual on her face, both eyes black, and what appeared to be several large bruises around her upper arms. Of course we let her in and began the process of calling the police as to inform them of her condition and that she would need their assistance. You see this was a never ending cycle with these two, they got drunk, he got violent, she got beat, and the next day they were all over each other like two teenage kids home alone with the parents gone for the weekend.
Before the police had time to arrive at the scene to investigate what was happening here came Bruce in all his drunken glory, I confronted him at the door and would not allow him to come in, I informed him that yes “T” was there and that the police had already been contacted, I advised him to go to his house and relax and just wait. You see I did not want to get involved into something of this nature, I had been witnessed to this type of scenario many times as a child, and I knew that it was an issue that was better dealt with at home or by the courts, but never by any other third party. Also Bruce and I were acquaintances, not full blown friends, just two guys that would cook out, or have a beer together while mowing the lawn.
But Bruce in his inebriated state just did not have the will power to simply walk away, like most drunks he believed himself to poses superior negotiation skills and that he could talk his way into my home. Soon he realized that this would not be the case, so he resorted to the same tactics that worked at home, persuasion through physical means. As he tried to bully his way through the door with a push, he got pushed back, at which point he teetered over the top of my steps and took the quick way down, coming to rest at the bottom. I asked him if he were ok and he replied with a slow drawn out grown that sounded like a “yea” as he began to pick himself up as if he were going to stagger his way home.
I closed the door and waited, in less than ten minutes the police arrived and “T” went home, while I and my girlfriend went to bed, all was fine. A few days later as I came home from work I came upon a county police car sitting in my driveway, when I inquired as to what they needed, they informed me that they would like to ask me a few questions about that nights events, I complied. Apparently Bruce had reported that I had punched him and knocked him down the steps, and was in the process of filing charges against me, but that due to the circumstances I was not going to be arrested, but simply questioned.
So I answered all of their questions as best I could and they went about their way, I grabbed my dinner bucket and into house I went. Guess who was sitting in the living room with my girlfriend, “T”. As I walked in I was very polite to her for I was still unknowing to the situation “did you know Bruce was filing a warrant against me?” “What for?” She exclaimed. So I told her what the policemen had informed me, she said that Bruce had gotten out of jail for domestic violence the next day after the incident. And she also informed me that at no time had he mentioned anything as in the way of taking charges against me, thinking she would know since she had returned to him the next day, as usual. I simply went about my business for the next couple of days believing that it was just a misunderstanding on the part of the police.
Later on in the month I was served with a summons to appear in civil court, not knowing what the difference between civil and criminal was I contacted an attorney. He informed me that the state did not feel it necessary to bring charges on me at the time due to the situation and the likely hood that they would not be able to convict, but that Bruce could file a civil suit against me in an effort to collect for medical bill on injuries he sustained as a result of the fall but that he would be required to meet a certain burden of proof, which would be hard due to the fact that upon arrival of the police just minutes later his intoxication level would prove him an unreliable witness.
I decided not to worry about the matter, I talked to several “workplace lawyers” (a loose term used to describe that one certain individual who believe he has the ability to give legal advice based on an episode of Law and Order he watched even though he has no legal training, or any other training for that matter) and friends who all gave the same advice, “don’t worry” he has no case against you.
On the day of the trial I committed my first colossal mistake, which was to appear in court without a lawyer, believing that I did not need one due to the amount of the civil suit would not justify my hiring one. My second mistake believing that I had witnesses that were going to back what really happened, why? Because the second witness to testify against me was none other than “T”, yes the very woman that had come to my house that night seeking assistance.
She blatantly told a lie and twisted what had happen at my home that night to suit the lawsuit in boyfriends favor. Her testimony was that un-provoked I hit Bruce while he stood in the doorway, and that in no way was he attempting to enter my home un-welcomed. To this day I am confused as to why she did it, I truly feel that she was in fear of Bruce and did not want a repeat of that night. Regardless the trial went flawless for Bruce and he won judgment against me civilly and I was ordered to pay, which of course I did. Less than three weeks after his wining in court “T” was out on a Friday night once again searching for someone to let her in to their home so she could seek protection from Bruce. Though a funny thing occurred, apparently after hearing of the incident regarding myself, no one would offer her assistance in fear that they to might wind up in the straggle between the two lovers. I truly hope that “T” eventually got out of that situation and found a life without fear.
Now the cause for me to bring up such a tale is this, I read in our local paper here about a test which was conducted at a public park where two actors had pretended as though they were a couple engaged in a heated argument, when the woman tried to walk away the man would grab her and begin chocking her. The experiment was to determine how many passerby’s would intervene in this situation, the author of the story seemed as if he were disappointed in some matter as to the actual numbers.
Not being a man who likes to dwell on unconfirmed statistics I wont repeat the numbers that were given, but I will tell you that it was a very low number that attempted to contact the police, and less that attempted actual physical intervention. My first reaction at seeing this article was simply this, everyone who passed by knew that it was a setup scenario, why? For one most physical violence of this nature doesn’t occur in public it occurs in the home, and two when have you ever seen a woman try to walk away from an argument. Moreover try to intervene in a situation similar to this on the street and tell me if this is not the out come, the guy will bust your mouth for sticking your nose in his business, the woman will claw your eyes out for attacking her partner, the police will arrest you for assault, and the court will convict you for liability in a civil suit, if you don’t believe me then apparently you were not paying attention to the previous story I just told you.
Now I may sound like someone whom is cold to the subject of domestic violence, but I feel as though I have good reason. For many years I watched as my mother would go after my father with the aggression of a wounded mountain lion over some of the most minor things imaginable, not once did I ever see my father even attempt to lay a hand on her, even though she would have most definitely have deserved it. But bring up the issue of female on male domestic violence and it is meet with a sense of mediocrity.
I will agree though that the majority of domestic violence is committed by men and is most definitely wrong. This is the opinion I have on the subject myself, the first time a woman gets beat it is the mans fault, every time after that it is woman’s fault. A woman has extremely to many options to stay in an abusive situation, and for a woman to cry out for help then to turn and bite the hand that is extended to give her that help is not only ignorant but should be illegal, and should not be accepted by society.
I know what many will say, I was simply got caught up in a bad situation, and I was. But I learned my lesson on trying to help someone in a situation. You cannot help them until they are ready to help themselves.