On my way into my apartment tonight, I encountered a woman I remember seeing in my upstairs neighbor’s apartment (when I was locked out). I thought I saw blood on her nose, but because I wasn’t able to read her eyes, I figured I’d imagined it or that it was just a nosebleed. But then, I saw two of my female neighbors leave their apartment, apparently to look for her. I guess I had just missed an argument upstairs.

I’ve heard my neighbors fight before—my neighbors to the right and my neighbors right above me. I always listen for wounded crying or an escalation to the fight—because then, I’d call the cops. For the couple living to the right of me, things rarely seemed to go that far (my walls are thin, so I can usually hear most arguments from my bedroom). For the apartment above me, I’ve only been awoken once by an argument. That argument was very intense. It started around 4:30 and didn't seem to end until make-up sex (I can always hear the bed squeak) around 6. I was repeatedly awoken by the noise that night, but I didn't call the cops. I just hopelessly listened and prayed for the argument to end without physical harm to either.

My heart breaks to think about the scores of women, children and men who face emotional and physical abuse everyday. I can’t imagine how much the abuse hurts their being and how hardened and numb they become as a result—and how that affects their future relationships and sense of self.

I understand that abuse begets abuse so that the abused become the abuser and the abused continue to seek abuse. I don’t know what to think or how to feel but I know that next time I see my neighbor pass by in the stairway with apparent blood on her nose, I will stop and offer help. I doubt that she’d take it but at least she’d know that she has one more female neighbor that wants to help.

Although I don't have any standing to seriously talk about this issue, I want to send a virtual hug and say:

  • To all those who are currently in an abusive relationship, please find the strength that’s always within yourself to leave. If not that, at least share your struggles with a trusted friend who will help you find a way out.
  • To all those who have been abused in the past, don’t let the experience limit your life. Stay strong and move forward through life not forgetting but forgiving and allowing the experience to inspire your cause and drive your passion.

Here's a short list of sites that provide more information:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

U.S. Dept. of H & HS Children's Bureau: Resource list

Kidshealth.org: Resource list


As a side note, I had a great, lazy Thanksgiving. I kicked ass at Cranium and my contributions—creamed corn and 7-up/Sprite cake were both hits. I was less satisfied with both items this year. I think I overdid it with the sugar, but as long as others enjoy it, my work was done.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Be safe & be strong!

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