Today, I saw an act of domestic violence. I was walking back to my car after classes when I saw a man strike his girlfriend. He grabbed her and pushed her into the back seat of a nearby car. I could scarcely believe it when I heard a fellow classmate behind me. I asked him if he saw what I saw. He did. I said, “Let’s go,” and we hurried to the car.
I knocked on the window and the man opened the door. I asked him what was going on. He said it was a personal issue. I, of course, disagreed. It was a classic case of domestic violence. The woman immediately said that she was to blame because she had first slapped him. My classmate yelled at the man to get out, and we separated them. After making sure the woman was okay, I called the police. To make this less drawn out, the police came and, because the woman had no visible injuries, let them go.
I am left wondering. What would have happened if my class had gotten out 15 minutes later at the regular time? What will the woman do now? Will she remain with him? What will the man do? Will the experience have scared him into changing? Will he simply go back to the same violence, darkness?
I feel helpless, though of course not comparably to the woman. I wish there was more I could have done for her. Could I have made her realize her worth? Could I make her realize that no man should ever put his hands on a woman? Can doing everything within your power not be enough? That is how I feel.
Yet, I was struck by the sense of humanity in this inhuman moment. I looked in the eyes of the man and I saw brokenness. Why else would someone do such a thing? I don’t deny the actions as horrible and evil, but he still stood there, a man. Those that commit evil acts are still human. They aren’t the demons we make them out to be. Again, I say that not excusing the terrible nature of his actions.
And I saw the love, misguided or not, of the woman for her boyfriend. I saw the pain of his actions towards her, the pain of losing him as well, in her eyes. I saw the determination to not let her boyfriend be taken away.
Obvious enough from my ramblings, I still need some time to process the whole ordeal. I will probably write again on the matter a bit later once I have had time to think. For now, this is sufficient.