The man staggered into the tiny room that they shared, bringing with him the distinct smell of cheap liquor, mixed with sweat and hate. He saw her stir from her sleep, in the little light that that the five watts bulb permitted, and had to narrow his severely dilated eyes to look at her better. The odour must have hit her nostrils, because her brows crinkled a bit. She opened an eye and saw his familiar silhouette against the wall, and turned her back to him, mumbling something incoherent.
His head, befuddled by alcohol, was allowing even the most insignificant emotion balloon until it burst. Her indifference spawned spite; the insult threw him into action, filling him with an incontrollable desire to teach her a lesson.
He crossed the room in one stride, and kicked her hard on her back. Her yell was caught in her throat, as he stamped her face, hurling abuse after abuse at her. Tears sprouted in her eyes, as she curled into a ball, sobbing loudly. Her cry only seemed to incite him more. He dragged her outside, for better light and space, and kept kicking her, not willing to stop until he stamped the life out of her. Battered and bruised, she opened her eyes a fraction, and saw through her fingers, men and women looking at the scene from their windows and balconies. ‘Somebody will stop him’ she told herself, tasting blood from a broken tooth. That was the same thought she had when she heard something break within her, and could not feel the pain any more. ‘Somebody stop him’ she begged within her head, as the women dragged their men into the safety of their homes, unwilling to be embroiled in a domestic fight, or get involved in a brawl with a drunk man. She saw blood as her head slammed into a pillar, and she saw a crowd gather. ‘Too late’ she thought, as the darkness enveloped her…’Nobody stopped him’ as her life eased its way out of her body.
Author’s note: Every other night I hear a man beat his wife up in the apartment I live in. Every morning I watch her go about her work with bruises all over her body. Why do we hesitate to raise our voice against violence? Psychology calls this the Bystander Effect, and the world has lost many innocent lives because of this- the most famous being Kitty Genovese. A packed bus is every harasser’s preying ground, and I was a victim once. As I yelled my lungs out, and as the creep slunk away, I looked around the bus. Not one man would meet my eye. Not one man would say a word. I wish no ill, but would we stand and watch as our friend or sister gets beaten up? Question it, please. It will not kill you.