Good old-fashioned domestic violence

Warning: this post contains foul language.

Last Saturday I met up with some friends for a relaxing afternoon swimming. As we pulled up to the apartment complex I saw two people who looked like they were arguing in the guest parking lot. They were probably in their mid-to-late twenties; she was petite and blond and he was of average height with dark hair. As we waited for traffic to clear so we could turn into the parking lot – my brother was driving – it looked like she was trying to walk away and he would pull her back by the arm.

We turned into the parking spot and opened the car doors, letting in the loud, expletive-filled argument. I couldn’t even tell what they were fighting about, it had gotten so angry. She took off her flip-flops and threw them at him, then turned to go again. He laughed and said, “What the fuck, you’re going to fucking leave barefoot? Fucking stupid.”

She approached him again and they continued shouting, up in each other’s faces, their arms up in the air threatening to start shoving. My brother was unloading things from his car as I stared at them, wondering what I would do if it turned violent. There were a few people standing on their apartment balcony watching too.

Then the guy punched her in the face. One of the other onlookers said, “Oh no he didn’t!” in amused surprise. Yes, yes he did. It didn’t look very hard – she didn’t stagger or reel back from it – but it was definitely a closed hand hitting her jaw. She exploded, “You fucking asshole! You fucking get the hell out of here you piece of shit, I fucking hate you!” She pummeled her fists at his chest while he tried to hold her wrists to keep her from hitting him. He flung her away and stalked off to a car.

She followed, still screaming. “You fucking ain’t taking my car, you fucker! Fuck you, get out of my car!” He got in the drivers seat, shouting his own profanities back at her while she started hitting the car as he slowly backed out. Then she got in the passengers seat and they drove off together. I don’t know if she got her flip-flops back or not.

We told our friends about it as soon as we got to their apartment and we were divided about what the appropriate thing for an onlooker to do in a situation like that. My brother said that if it had gotten really violent, like if one of them threw the other to the ground and started kicking in heads, he would have intervened. If a weapon was drawn I would have called the police. But how much is really my business? If they want to fight and then drive off together, why should I get involved, especially when the violence and vitriol seemed mutual?

May 26, 2007. Words.

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