Screams and Violence Above Me

Domestic Violence

Today I heard screaming, loud, terrified, screaming, coming from my neighbor’s apartment. The wails were piecing, but not more so, than the baby’s screams, or the sounds of objects being flung to the floor.

I grabbed a broom and banged on the cement ceiling, hoping it would stop what I feared was happening.

It did not.

Instinct made me run, barefoot, in pajamas, without heed to my own well being, up the stairs. I banged on the walls as I ran. I feared for the lives of the woman and child. The door opened immediately. A man, wearing a black coat and hat, popped his head out as I asked if everything was alright.

“Yes, everything is fine.”, he said, in an irritated voice before slamming the door shut.

I didn’t believe him.

The women’s wails and baby’s cries from inside gave another story. I could not understand her. She does not speak English. Yet the words were not important, the fear was.  It was fear that caused me to run back down the stairs. It resonated within my soul and called me to action. I could not stand by and let those cries go unanswered.

I called the police.

This is not the first time it has occurred or the first time I have called for help.

I know it won’t be the last.

May God keep her till she finds the courage to leave.

NOTE: I’m writing this post as the Police interrogate the animal man in the apartment above me. They arrived within 5 minutes of my calling. I know I did the right thing, yet a part of me still fears that this will only make it worse for the woman and child. I pray I am wrong.

What would you have done? Would you have called?

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About the Author

Migdalia Rivera, also known as Ms. Latina in social media, is a single Latina mother of a teen, tween and 2 Australian Shepherds. When not blogging, or chasing after her energetic bunch, she connects influential bloggers with brands and PR agencies via her blogger network, Stiletto Media.

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{ 30 comments… add one }

  • Melissa March 1, 2011, 2:59 pm

    I would have done the same thing! I might have beat him with the stick while I was at it too!!It may have been risky, but it was the best thing to do. To help a woman, and helpless child, is not a choice but a compulsion. It is proof of our humanity, dignity and connection to God.
    I knew a NJ housewife who would hear the screams of her neighbor almost nightly as her firefighter husband beat her and thier children screamed in terror. She said she never would call the cops for fear he would know it was her and retribute. I could NOT belive the cowardice this woman wore so boldly! When I told this stupid woman that the calls can be anonymous, she made some other excuse about it not being her business. I never socialized with her after that and prayed for the mother next door.
    I have a cousin that was/is a victim of domestic violence. I have stared down her tormentor and he feared me. I have called the cops and made my presence known. In the end, it is up to my cousin to accept or repel his treatment. That was the lesson that took me a while to learn. But if she ever needed me for anything, I would always be a phone call away.

    Congrats to you and my prayers for that woman and the very innocent child.

  • Ms. Latina March 1, 2011, 3:01 pm

    @Melissa It saddens me when I hear that others know and do nothing. What if it was their mother, sister, friend? Wouldn’t they want someone to step in and help them? What about her children, what are they learning when they see that no one steps in? It’s not our words but our actions that speak. Ultimately, I hope and pray she, herself, is never placed in a similar situation, with neighbors who look the other way.
    Ms. Latina recently posted..Screams and Violence Above Me

  • Rachel March 1, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Oh my. I certainly would have called. You did the right thing. You did something she could not do, and that is call out for help. You were her voice. It did not matter what language she spoke, you spoke. I hope the police can guide her in the right direction and keep her and her baby safe. How scary…
    Rachel recently posted..An Education Gives You Wings

  • Janine March 1, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Ms. Latina,
    There is no doubt in my mind that you did the right thing. It’s imperative that we women reach out and take care of each other. I would have done the exact same thing as you did and I am so proud to call you my Go Red sister. Keep up your dedication to women everywhere and I will do likewise!! ~Janine~
    Janine recently posted..8th Annual Detroit Metro “Go Red For Women” Luncheon was Incredible!

  • Trecia Garcia March 1, 2011, 3:13 pm

    You did the right thing. I would have done the same thing. You would have been so mad at yourself if something terrible happen and you did nothing. One day she will get the courage to leave.

  • Ms. Latina March 1, 2011, 3:22 pm

    Thank you @Rachel @Janine and @Trecia! Its quiet upstairs now but the doorman told me they are still questioning him. I just hope and pray this puts fear in him!

  • Maybelline @ Naturalmente Mamá March 1, 2011, 3:29 pm

    OMG! how scary! I think you did the right thing! I would’ve called myself. I just hope that the woman realizes that nobody has to live in fear and if someone that says loves you is capable of inflict pain, then I don’t think is love..
    Maybelline @ Naturalmente Mamá recently posted..The Great Cloth diaper change

  • Lexi March 1, 2011, 3:30 pm

    May she have the courage and the support to get help and get out.

  • Alicia March 1, 2011, 3:37 pm

    Oh my gosh..don’t doubt for a second that you didn’t do the right thing. Yes, ultimately it will be up to her to leave him, but at least you helped push that in the right direction. That’s so scary, and you should be proud of how brave you were to run up there and bang on the door!!! You go, girl!
    Alicia recently posted..This Does Not Taste Right!

  • Laura March 1, 2011, 5:30 pm

    Your definitely did the right thing. Your courage probably saved that woman’s life, and maybe even helped her realize that what was happening was not okay. It always saddens me when people just stand by and let things happen, because it was none of their business, or because they convince themselves it’s not as severe as they think. Just like some people posted before me, I don’t think I could handle the feeling of “I could have done something” bare on me. Thank you for your courage and swift thinking.
    Laura recently posted..Music Tuesday-At the Drive In

  • Alicia @Mommy Delicious March 1, 2011, 7:56 pm

    Oh my gosh. That is so so sad. I too, pray that she has the strength and courage to leave. This may not be the last time, but at least she’ll know that someone cared enough to help her in her time of need. Know that you did the right thing… someone has to do something to help the victims. Someone has to take a stand.
    Alicia @Mommy Delicious recently posted..Celebrities and Target Celebrate Read Across America

  • Linda March 1, 2011, 8:02 pm

    You definitely did the right thing. Now, if only the poor woman can wake up and leave this man.

  • kcrojas March 1, 2011, 8:42 pm

    We are our sisters keepers. It’s more than brave that you could support a women during such a time of need. Too many women don’t get the help they need – god bless you both!

  • Julie Diaz Asper March 1, 2011, 10:29 pm

    I am so glad you were there to help that woman and her child. You give new meaning to being a good neighbor. I hope she leaves and that she gets help. You gave her an important chance. One group that can help her locally is They help domestic abusive victims. You so did the right and brave thing!

  • OfeliaNJ March 2, 2011, 12:29 am

    I think you did the right thing. It says something that he opened the door and acted annoyed that you would interrupt what was happening.

    In my own experience, getting help for a person is not always difficult. The issue is, whether the person in need is able to do their part – testifying or cooperating with authorities. Depending on this woman’s language barrier and personal history, she may be reluctant or scared of police or others getting involved.

    I’ll keep this woman and especially her child in my prayers. They should be able to enjoy their home and relax. It’s a basic human right.
    OfeliaNJ recently posted..Sorry – Wordfilled Wednesday

  • Carolyn G March 2, 2011, 12:14 pm

    You did the right thing. I would have done the same. Let’s hope the bast*#d gets tossed in jail where he belongs.
    Carolyn G recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Yes- I am immature

  • Tiffany Overall March 2, 2011, 12:16 pm

    I would have and have done the same thing except for the fact that my friend called me while it happened and could not get away. Of course she is still with him to this day and we do not talk much but what else is there to do! The one time someone does not call, will be too late. Thanks for doing your part!

  • Sabrina March 2, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Please don’t second guess yourself as you absoulutely did the right thing. I would have done the exact same thing. Too often we ignore the screams and cries of others. Clearly she is not emtionally or physically ready to walk away…glad you were there to intervene on her behalf.

  • Sunshyn V March 2, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Its terrible to be in such a situation and not be able to do anything to help. You did do the right thing – really its the only thing you could have done which had any chance of doing any good.

  • Tracy Robertson March 2, 2011, 4:28 pm

    OMG, you did the right thing, no question about it! But now that he has this call in on him, next time you should probably call the police right away rather than go up there.

  • Andrea March 2, 2011, 6:49 pm

    You did the right thing. Stay safe and I hope she somehow can come out of this and she and the child can be safe, as well. He deserves to be questioned and then some and there has to be a way to have him removed from that home if he is causing a risk to that woman and child. :( Well done, Mama.
    Andrea recently posted..PYHO- Whats on my mind

  • alissa apel March 2, 2011, 6:57 pm

    I would have done the same thing, but would have called the cops right away. Now he knows it was you that called more then likely. I wouldn’t want him hurting you!
    alissa apel recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Micas Art

  • Run DMT March 2, 2011, 9:12 pm

    How scary and sad! That poor woman! You did right by calling the police. I pray for her and her child’s safety.
    Run DMT recently posted..In Honor of Dr Suess’s Birthday

  • Blanca Stella March 2, 2011, 9:54 pm

    You did the right thing, and I applaud you for your courage. A coward is a petty fearful loathful soul. Hopefully the woman can SEE the “sign” and the angel( you…yes …you!) that came to help her see the light. Unfortunately, most women in these types of situations keep on perpetuating this vicious cycle of abuse. You did a great service, because if this time it didn’t work for the woman to break free, please be sure that what you did, she will remember.
    Blanca Stella recently posted..Inspiración Por Mi Hijo Al Cumplir Los 18 Años

  • Maria Ortiz-Cintron March 3, 2011, 2:19 pm

    YES! You did the right thing! No Doubt.

  • Eileen March 3, 2011, 7:29 pm

    I have recently read that for the most part, two things drive our lives: FEAR and LOVE. For many women in abusive situations they thrive on both. It is sad that the fear of leaving, the fear of losing love, the fear of being sought out and threatened (most often not for their lives but that of children) and even the fear of others knowing and the shame that comes with this not only makes them stay in a bad situation, but also to PROTECT the very person who tortures them. I lived in this situation as a child and for a while as an adult. I was one of the lucky ones who had enough information and support to know there was help out there. Others are isolated and know no way out.
    You were right to call, to bring this out in the open. Because even if she doesnt have the courage to speak up or to run, you have now opened this situation up and is on record that this has happened. Seriously, I would not go up to confront an enraged man but surely would call for help. Too many times others hide and do say it’s none of their business…and that is how a woman or children may end up in tomorrow’s obituaries. Ignorance is NOT bliss…it is a shame and should be a crime to watch or listen to someone being abused without intervening at least by calling for help.
    You are right…fear can be interpreted through any language, as can love. Thank God you had the love of humanity enough to DO something.

  • Yakini March 4, 2011, 9:37 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes. I absolutely would have called too! You did the right thing. I will be praying for that woman and her sweet baby.
    Yakini recently posted..Great Life- Boring Blog

  • Shar March 8, 2011, 11:37 am

    Yes – Yes – you did the right thing!!!! You cannot just sit back and hope it goes away. I think it is much better to be proactive in these types of situations not only for the sake of the wife but for the safety and well-being of the children.

  • Heather Lynne March 14, 2011, 4:50 pm

    wow. I do not know what I would have done, but I do think that you did the right thing & I am proud of you for it!

  • rebecca shockley December 28, 2012, 10:41 am

    I have called for my neighbor’s as well and it stop’s it temporarily, but I know if someone receives too many calls from the police, they could be evicted. So I say, someone should visit him quietly and secretly and make him immobile. Visit her and try to tell her your there for her, this might make her more secure in her attempts to leave. You did the right thing!!!

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