Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Domestic Violence: Would You Stop It?

Recently, a video went viral and it's of a couple fighting... a man was beating up his girlfriend (at times quite relentlessly) for about 10 minutes. He's also seen taking off his shirt during the tirade he unleashed on his poor girlfriend. The link is here. It's challenging watching the video without your blood pressure rising.

This video took me back to something I witnessed last Christmas in Oxford Street London.

I was by the Nike store waiting for a friend and saw a guy pushing his (I suspect) girlfriend out of the shop. He started pushing and shoving her. He also slapped her and she was visibly upset. People stood by and just looked. The guy lashed out at other people for looking or standing there. They did nothing in response.

I was so close while everything was unfolding.

After the pushing, shoving and verbal abuse, he and his girlfriend walked off together. No one went to comfort the girl, although I wanted to. I wanted to say so many things. I was simply shocked but also very afraid. If he could do that to her, he would probably do it to me too if I called him out.

I told people this story and they always asked me 'why didn't you do anything?'. I didn't do anything because when it happens in front of you it is real.

People like to reiterate that they would step in, that they would hit the guy over the head and save the girl but when it happens right in front of you, it's a different story.

All of this reminds me of the domestic violence experiments they did on What Would You Do? A lot of adults only stepped in when others would step in.

Since that dreadful event, I have constantly asked myself, 'maybe if I stepped in others would step in too? Maybe I should have comforted her? Maybe I should have called the police or followed them home?'.

I know people would tell me not to burden myself with these thoughts but I am completely against domestic violence. I always say something about it... I always say how wrong and disgusting it is when men or women do it to their partners and anyone else for that matter. But the moment this happened in front of me, I was lost for words... I had nothing to say and I am doing nothing. I regret it. I could have stopped this from happening to her again. I could have made sure this didn't happen to someone else. I could have saved her life from the tears and the pain.

What bothers me also is that adult people were standing around doing nothing either. Men were standing around doing nothing. Women were standing around and not comforting.

Maybe they had the same fears as me? Maybe they were shocked too? Maybe they felt that they should have done this in private and not out in the streets...

If you saw domestic violence out in the streets, would you stop it?

Domestic violence help in the UK:

Women's Aid