Writing 40 - Cora Agatucci
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  Erica Marthaller, "A Cry for Help"  Winter 2001

Erica Marthaller
WR 40, Dr. Agatucci
Final Draft: Essay #1
1 March 2001

A Cry for Help

No matter what the outcome, we decent, compassionate people should never close our eyes and ears to the crying out of another.  Not wanting to get involved is not a reason to ignore the screaming of a scared woman.  We should all step up to the plate and do our part, however big or small that part may be.  To turn the other cheek is to accept the abuse.  Therefore, as a society in whole, it is time to have a no tolerance policy on domestic abuse.  A story of why this is true stays fresh in my thoughts.

It was 11:45 p.m. on the cold February night that I will never forget.  I had just put my daughter to bed when I heard a commotion in the building next door.  It started with doors slamming and muffled voices I could not make out.  I tried to go to sleep; I hoped nothing would become of the noise that was starting to wake my daughter.  I had enough going on in my life and hoped I wouldn't need to be a part of whatever was going on.

Thirty minutes passed, the noise started up again, and I could hear a child crying.  The footsteps and voices became louder than before.  My heart began to race a bit, but I still didn't want to get involved in a family feud.  I decided the right thing to do was to call and see if everything was OK.  I dialed the number and waited for someone to answer.  Eve, the woman who lived next door, said that her daughter and John were fighting.  She said everything was fine and that she would make them leave.  I said all right and hung up hoping that would be the end of that.

It was now 1:30 a.m. and loud screams came from what seemed to be a very afraid woman.  She began to bang on my wall, which put my daughter into tears.  I felt strong anxiety and was afraid of what would happen next.  That is when one sentence made my decision crystal clear.  I over a man threaten to kill the woman who was seconds before beating on my wall for help.  I called the police and explained all that I had heard.  I was quite relieved when the police showed up minutes later.  Within the minutes it took the police to arrive, the out of control man had left.  The police checked the house out and made sure all was safe.  The woman said that he had left and that everything was under control.  I felt as if I had done my part and fell to sleep with a clear conscience.  I wasn't prepared for what would happen hours later.

At noon that same day, I found out that the woman who had cried out for help hours earlier, lay lifeless in her boyfriend's bed.  After the police had left, she decided to walk over to the house of the same man that had threatened her life.  I may never know for sure, but I believe that she just wanted to make everything OK.  I think that he had brainwashed her into believing he loved her.  If she had taken his threat seriously, maybe she would still be with us.  Now her young child is left without a mother.

I did what was right and I called for help.  But somewhere in all the good that I was trying to do, a life was still lost.  I can't help feeling a little frustrated.  It is time to make domestic abuse unacceptable; maybe then women will stop going back.  "One Strike and You're Out" should be the only policy when it comes to abuse.  This is where we. as a society, should stand arm in arm and not tolerate any form of abuse.  We should never close our eyes like the women who are being abused so often do.  We may not always be able to save the life of a scared woman, but if we do nothing can we live with the guilt of having kept quiet?  We must always remember that it is never acceptable to let another physically or verbally abuse you.

Erica Marthaller, 2001

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