Monday, September 14, 2009

The Struggle Continues

Posted by: Ben Siegel

Yesterday, an act of domestic violence occurred. This particular event - linked by the same mentality, action and effect as the hundreds of thousands of individual acts of domestic violence that happen every day across the world - was unique in that I personally witnessed it. At least the tail-end of it.

I heard a loud argument coming from the lobby of my building. Kids from the neighborhood sometimes hang out there, so I didn't expect anything out of the ordinary. However, after a minute of listening to the content of the argument, I knew this to be a different event. Before I checked it out, I yelled downstairs "Shut up or I'm calling the cops." After all, I've lived in New York City most of my life.

When I went downstairs and saw two young women and one young man exchanging words, I was able to make out that the young man had evidently struck one of the young women. From what I gathered, this was a lover's quarrel that went sour. With my own eyes, I saw the man push the woman's face and begin to walk away. Before he left my sight, I yelled out my standard New Yorker exclamation of disgust: "Hey, what the hell?"

The guy came back to say to me, "My man, mind your own business."

My response: "I live here. This is my business. And I just saw you domestically abuse that woman. That's a crime."

At that moment, I went back to my apartment and called the police. Four officers, all of whom were male, arrived on the scene around five minutes later. I told them what I saw and they went to go speak to the young woman who had been victimized in order to get her side of the story.

I don't know, as of yet, whether she filled an official police report or if the culprit was arrested.

Vigilance is but one of the many weapons in a feminist's arsenal. My choice to use war imagery to described the fight against the oppression of women is no casual aside; we are fighting a battle against intolerance, aggression, crime and sheer inhumanity. We cannot afford to let our guard down. I felt obligated my neighbor and my neighborhood to do everything in my power to stand against a dangerous tide of sexism and sexist violence.

I decided to share this story for two reasons. The first is for my own catharsis. The second is to illustrate exactly why we fight.

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