IT WAS too early for bed and I was just about to watch another episode of House of Cards when I heard thumping, like kicking a wall, somewhere just beyond my lounge room.
I heard it a few times over a few minutes before I turned to my partner with a curious look on my face.
“Is that one of the kids?” I asked, before muting the television, but it was not.
The silence in my house revealed the thumping was accompanied by thunderous shouting, and it was coming from my new neighbour’s place.
They moved in 16 days ago, and I first got a sense of foreboding on their second night. Their angry shouts permeated the walls as they fought their way up and down the floors of the old wooden house. His rage was palpable and explosive, cursing and screaming.
Was that sound throwing things? Hitting things? I could not quite discern the crashes and thuds. I didn’t hear a second voice and I decided to mind my own business.
We went away for a fortnight but on our return the cloud of rage descended upon our quiet, suburban, family neighbourhood once more. Now, my ear was pressed to the laundry window, where I listened to the furniture being hurled with as much force as the profanities.
Each shout, thump and thud made my eyes blink. I knew I should call the police, but I was paralysed. My feet were rooted to the laundry tiles and my mind skittered back to the time when it was me living in a relationship similar to this.
A time where my boyfriend’s rage was unpredictable, and violent. A time where I lost sight of what love is, and accepted something so much less.
Adrenaline shot through my veins and I began to shake uncontrollably. I remembered the times when the police would come to my house during a domestic dispute, or a concerned passer by would ask if I was OK if we were in public. I remembered the taste of hot terror. I remembered the shame I felt.
In time, the vicious symphony quieted next door and only shuffling remained. I went to bed, my partner wrapping me in his arm to quell my shaking and I attempted sleep.
An ambulance came some time in the night. I know not why, I just saw it out the window and cast a million aspersions in my head before once more trying to sleep. At 6am, the vicious screams and thuds began again and I knew I could mind my own business no longer.
I am the only neighbour who would hear. The other side is a building site, and across the road is a row of double brick, double-glazed fortresses that would lock out the sounds of the usually peaceful street. I knew it would be obvious that I called the police so I waited until the kids were at school, called my local police station and filed a report.
This is absolutely the best course of action, says the President of the Police Association, Scott Weber. In fact, I should have done it sooner.
“You should contact 000 straight away. Stay on the line and give as much information as possible. Police will never disclose who made the call, especially in a situation as sensitive as domestic violence, but if you are concerned you can remain anonymous when you ring emergency,” says Weber.
If you are concerned that there is someone aggressive, threatening or violent in your neighbourhood, ensure the safety of your family by taking precautions, and never approach the person during a dispute.
“The first thing is to make sure that you have adequate security at your own premises, but also you and your family have contact details for police and contact them straight away if you have any issues,” says Weber.
Domestic violence is not only when people are beating each other. Domestic violence is classified as any behaviour that may be deemed as threatening, intimidating, or harassment of any kind.
If you are feeling worried or frightened about what you are seeing or hearing you don’t need to wait for it to escalate before calling for help, even if you’re not certain that someone is in danger.
“It’s important to be vigilant. It’s more important that the situation gets checked out because you could save a life. If it turns out to not be too serious, or it’s a loud party or children playing up, the police are also trained in how to deal with that situation too. It’s more important to check on the welfare of people,” Weber insists.
The police came and chatted to my neighbours and the real estate has issued a warning. Apparently they have given their word it will not happen again, and for now I must give them the benefit of the doubt.
Obviously, I care for the welfare of the lady who lives with this man, but deep down my biggest fear is that my children will hear this awful violence and be terrified to discover it’s normal for some people to settle disputes with loved ones with vile words and furious fists.
This article was written by Chole Sawtell and has been copied from here.
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