I saw a woman beating a younger woman on the street in front of UBCP today. I intervened when woman 1 started kicking woman 2 while ripping her phone, money & wallet away from her. Woman 1 then marched away, dragging her young daughter by the hand.
After ensuring the young woman was physically okay, albeit an emotional wreck, she told me woman 1 was her mother, and mom was angry because the young woman of 17 had made a mistake on her student visa application for attending University in the states (a repairable mistake, it turns out). So she beat her on the street and then abandoned her child.
I’m writing about it for a few reasons.
First, it was upsetting…and sharing sometimes helps (although I’m not writing in order to elicit any sort of pat on the back or rah-rah, to be clear).
Second, as soon as I stepped in, half a dozen other people who’d been watching, also stepped in…which is great, but when you see someone in physical danger, I encourage you to be the first. You don’t need to put yourself physically between two people, but letting your voice be heard loud and clear will make a difference.
Third, statistically I must know someone who beats their children….so the next time you feel yourself welling with rage or so frustrated that you consider beating your child as an option, I beg you to just pause for a few seconds and think about the potential consequences. I know that sounds new agey and hard to swallow in the moment of pure reaction, but I beg you, just take a breath and think.
After she refused any money or a ride home, I hugged this young woman close as she cried, and assured her that as she moves out into the world she will find people who greet her with kindness and are not as quick to anger as what she was currently experiencing. I promised her that one day she’d look back and feel relieved to no longer be subjected to such rage. She gave me a beautiful, wide smile through her tears. It was a pretty profound experience.