Illustration 147365356 © Archivector – Dreamstime.com
We have new neighbours in our Belgian abode. We know them intimately even though we haven’t met them yet. And no…we are not twitching curtains and peeking through our very high and dense hedge…
In my home life, my preference is for a quiet life. Over in the coastal reaches, I know my neighbours…just enough. In fact, we are closer together (by way of meters) than we are in Belgium. We exchange pleasantries. Keep an eye out for each other, each other’s parcels, pets and parents… and, generally life proceeds at a reasonable volume and we all get along.
Can’t say the same for Mr. Angry and his wife/partner/concubine (her status varies…) who, in the land of Ned (a.k.a. Flanders) have moved in next door! Even with hermetically sealed windows, pouring rain and a fair offshore wind from Zeebrugge, we can still hear them screaming at each other. I don’t mean ‘a bit loud’. I mean blood-curdling, ear-splitting invective!!
word for word…
some words you really don’t want to hear…
Don’t get me wrong…all couples disagree. And yes, they argue. Sometimes voices are raised and frustration is expressed. That is of course part and parcel of married life, or life in general…
This is not what is happening here!
Under other circumstances, I would probably turn my stereo on max, light the fire and generally ignore what was going on with other people. Believe me, I have enough of my own shizzle to deal with. In this case, I am seriously concerned.
He is a dangerous man. She gives as good as she gets. And perhaps we should leave it there?
She is also pregnant, and already has two very small boys who are routinely screamed at by both of them…because that is how you parent, don’t you?
Half my readers will berate me for judging. The other half for not having kids of my own. Well, I may not be a biological parent…or a judge… but I am a human being. For me, this is not ok. It’s not ok whether you are a kid, or a grown up. It’s not ok on so many levels!!!
Which creates a dilemma for me…
I am concerned for the small people who have to experience this as regular life.
- No, it is not normal for you to be told you are a ‘ball-sack’ when you are three years old!
- No, it is not normal for you to be screamed at for jumping in the inflatable pool when it’s boiling hot outside.
- No, it is not normal for the adults in your life to make you feel scared, unsafe and at fault.
I am concerned for her unborn child, and for her – seriously, if alcohol affects your foetus, why would stress hormones be any different?
And yes… I am concerned that her partner/husband/ass-clown (his status varies…) will move from verbal abuse to physical abuse.
What do I do?
Here are some facts*,**:
- * Up to 36 per cent of women in Belgium have been assaulted physically or sexually.
- And although the study shows that Belgium is about average in the EU when it comes to abuse, it was at the top when it came to violence committed in the past year.
- Preliminary findings** show that more than 35% of all murders of women globally are reported to be committed by an intimate partner (husband/partner/ass-clown)
All of this troubles me. Despite advice to ‘leave it alone’ and ‘don’t get involved’.
I am resolved not to be the neighbour who ignored the silent screams.
* Source: European Agency for Fundamental Rights ** Source: World Health Organisation: Femicide