Tonight, I came home to police at my lobby on level 2. I didn’t think they were coming to my place. It was already 11pm and I had just left the office. I told the Grab driver, I had a really long day. He told me to rest well.
I saw Stephanie as I stepped out of the lift.
“Ça va. Tu vas où?”
“Je vais rencontrer une amie.”
“Ok bien, je suis très fatiguée. Bonne nuit.”
I changed into my pyjamas and wanted to wash my face and I saw her in the hallway looking dazed and uncomfortable, with all her luggage and bags, trying to wake R up.
Before I knew it, there were five policemen in the house, asking to speak with them. She kept saying she had a headache. Her friend was in the house as well. We looked on helplessly. Steph almost couldn’t stand still. The police had taken D out to be questioned.
I gave Steph some medicine and I kept asking if she was alright. She refused to say anything. I kept asking. She finally pointed to her thigh, her neck and her head. He had beaten her and also broke her laptop. I brought her into my room and she started to cry. My heart broke when I saw her wounds and her tears. She should have left immediately when they broke up. How could anyone stay together in such a small room after breaking up? It was just a shit show waiting to happen. I felt so sorry at that moment. I had been working so much and coming home so late and I wish I had paid more attention or noticed something was wrong.
She started throwing up violently in the toilet. Now there were more police in the house, investigators taking their statements, asking to see Facebook conversations, asking what time I usually came home, asking if we heard anything.
Asking if she was assaulted.
She said no. She kept saying no.
Her friend and I wanted to cry.
I was so scared she might have suffered some hidden head injury that was causing the nausea.
The medics came to check her wounds and they actually did ascertain that she had some beating wounds on her.
But still she refused to say anything. She didn’t want to go to the hospital even after the medical officers recommended that option.
Reality. Under-reporting of domestic violence.
I was so upset with D. Even if he is my friend, my house mate, someone I generally get along with, there is no way in hell I’ll ever condone domestic violence. I know there were troubles but no one should be beaten up by their partners or ex partners no matter what. Unfortunately it’s all too common and way too sad.
Human beings are complex creatures and human nature is nuanced. One never meets another thinking this person is going to be an abuser of some sort. A “good” person can also be someone who’s some “bad” things in their lives. A “bad” person can also have a heart of gold that he prefers not to show. While we should develop ethics and moral compass and know which line to never cross, it is too tiring to be judgmental of everyone.
She’s left to stay with her friend now. I hope she is alright. I wish I could have done more. There is always so much more we can do, whether it’s domestic violence or mental health or anything else. Be kind to the people around us. Live and love bravely, I always say. But it’s so hard sometimes.