When you suspect a domestic violence incident

This is what happened last night and I thought I’d share because it might help someone who’s in a similar situation to mine.

Last night around 1am, I heard some terribly loud banging noises (as if some furniture fell over) and angry foot steps from the upstairs neighbors (we live in an apartment) followed by screaming voice of a woman. It was so loud that even my dog got up and started whining, and it continued for about 5 minutes. My husband and I looked at each other and wondered if we should go check on them to see if everything is ok, but decided not to because a) we might be overreacting to something that might be so innocent and b) if it was abuse then it might get worse if the abuser is made aware that they are attracting attention. I thought about calling 911 but as someone who’s never dealt with cops outside of speeding tickets, it was such a big deal and thought that it would be embarrassing if it turned out to be nothing concerning. So we went back to sleep.

However, this morning I took my dog out for a walk and realized that I made a huge mistake not calling 911. I saw blood stains everywhere in the stairway of the apartment complex. I grabbed my phone quickly and called the local non emergency police number to report what I’d heard/seen. They told me that someone actually made a call and they had already come over as of last night. They said that the abuser is still on the run and to report if I do see him (it’s a shame that I don’t know what any of my neighbors look like because we just never run into each other.) Also, the officer told me that I must call 911 immediately if I ever hear something like this again and they’d rather it be a silly mistake of the caller than actual DV incidents going unreported, because most often these cases do go unreported and unnoticed.

Yes I feel so ashamed for only being concerned about my self image (embarrassing myself to the cops) last night. I’m glad someone else was brave enough to make the call and that the woman is safe for the time being. I also know better now and know how to act when I do suspect a potential abuse like this.

So, if you ever run into a situation like this and you’re like me, never been involved with cops and hesitant to take an action, don’t be scared. Your 911 call could save someone’s life. There is nothing embarrassing even if it turns out to be a false alarm. I live in a big city where there’s no sense of community where you live, but this incident made me realize that I am in fact part of a community and I could always watch out for my neighbors even if I don’t know their faces. Stay safe everyone and Happy New Years!