This morning I was woken up to the sounds of violence, the intensity of which has made me feel a mixture of sadness, anger (at the perpetrator), frustration and I have a sick sensation sitting in the pit of my stomach.
We have been living in this house now for nearly 11 months and the overall atmosphere in our hem is usually a happy one. Sure, there are the occasional marital rows (usually brought on when the husband has been drinking too much) and there have been general arguments, the sounds of which have resonated up and down this alley. We all live very close here and raised voices don’t go unnoticed.
However, this morning the man in the house almost directly across from ours was beating his daughter. The daughter appears to be approximately 13 years of age and these beatings have been happening from time to time ever since we moved into this house. This morning though, the front doors of the house opposite were wide open and the volume of what was happening inside was very loud. When you consider that the front door of their house is about 4 metres from our front door you will understand that we shared the whole experience.
I have no idea what it is that this girl does to enrage her father so, but whatever it is I don’t believe that ANY human being has the right to beat another human being in any fashion, let alone in a manner which is full of such unbridled anger and violence. It started with the raised voice of the father in a tone that I have come to know. Then there was the sounds of something hard hitting flesh and the wails of the girl that quickly turned to screams. The angry volume of the father became louder and more aggressive and the cries and screams of the daughter became likewise. All the while this was accompanied by the sounds of the daughter being beaten repeatedly. My estimation is that this went on for at least 20 minutes.
At one stage I contemplated going over there and saying something. I imagined that I would ask the father if he had enough balls to come out of his house and try beating up on me instead of his defenceless daughter. I went to our front door and stood there for a while full of my own rage, both at this man and at my own impotence. I knew that, realistically there was nothing that I could do. As I looked over towards their house I noticed that the mother had got herself back near the front door behind the family motorbikes and was watching warily as the beating took place.
Neighbours walked past the house with downcast eyes and I could see most of them glance hurriedly towards the sounds of the violence and then maybe up towards me very briefly as they walked by. Here, you do not interfere in another man’s family business. If I had done something as I contemplated, I would have been the one in the wrong. As a foreigner that could have gone very badly for me. If I took a complaint to the police there would be no action, particularly from a foreigner against a local resident.
I don’t have any happy snaps to accompany this article.