Responding to bumps in the night

Published 10:43 am Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One night last month my husband and I were awakened at 2 a.m. by loud noises coming from the apartment next door.

One wall is all that separates our headboard from our neighbor’s home, where we could clearly hear a loud argument between the couple.

We laid awake as the husband yelled at the wife, and I cringed at the hatred in his voice.

Then we heard the first bang as something or someone was slammed into the wall. “Please stop, you’re hurting me,” we heard the woman say, followed by another wall-shaking bang. We immediately called the Hoover Police.

October is domestic violence awareness month, and for the first time I truly appreciate the benefits of awareness.

Everyone has heard of domestic violence, but it often seems like an abstract concept, something that doesn’t happen to people you know.

However, statistics show one in four women will be victims of abuse in their lifetimes. If that doesn’t include you, it might include someone you know or live next door to.

We have called 911 twice now because of our neighbor’s abuse and each time the Hoover Police have responded quickly and efficiently. I can’t help but think what would happen if we weren’t around to report it, though.

Surely our other neighbors can hear the fights just as clearly, yet the police don’t arrive until we make our call.

Reporting abuse isn’t always easy. Some may feel it’s intruding in someone else’s marriage, in someone else’s home. However, something inside of me responds every time I hear my neighbor being hurt, something I can’t ignore.

Domestic violence is a crime, even if it happens behind closed doors. I know I wouldn’t ignore any other crime if I witnessed it happening, so why should domestic violence be any different?

I hope this month you’ll consider how you would respond if you heard something other than ghosts and ghouls go bump in the night. The decision might just save someone’s life.