Philippa writes about a Metropolitan Police campaign telling people to dial 999 if they hear domestic abuse through their walls.
It shows the shocking statistic that almost 1 in 5 murders in London are the result of domestic violence, and ends with the statement, You make the call. We’ll make it stop.
It’s an issue that has provoked discussion with my friends over the years. Many, many of us have been in this situation, hearing arguments next door escalate, and wondering what to do.
I personally have dialled 999 when things sounded like they were getting really out of hand, but it wasn’t an easy decision. When you do dial 999, you fear that you will make things worse for the woman, when the man is released, if he is taken into custody at all. You fear that the police will not take it seriously. You even fear that you may be misinterpreting the situation, despite the smashing and screaming that you really can’t mistake.
But I did dial, on more than one occasion, because I feared that that would, indeed, be the time that he would kill her. Because I could not bear to hear her suffering and terror any longer. Because I could not live with myself if I just sat there and allowed it to happen. Because she was being beaten, her furniture was being thrown, and nobody should need to tolerate that. Because I could hear her daughter crying upstairs.
I dialled 999, but even having done it I was never 100% sure it had been the right thing. If it would make him more aggressive to her later. If the police would ‘make it stop’ at all. In the end I spoke to my neighbour alone, asked her if I had done the right thing, and asked whether I should I do it again, if necessary. She was a proud woman, and said she was fine, but did eventually agree that if it sounded really bad, I should call for help.
So what about you? Have you dialled 999 in that situation? Have you wanted to, but not dared? Have you decided against it? And why? What made you call, or what made you not call?