Stumbling into Domestic Violence

A few days ago while visiting a camp, a woman I know called out to me from across the dust some way, to call an ambulance. I went over to the house and was waved in to the verandah, where I was confronted with the picture of a woman sitting cross legged beside a sheet of tin with some burning firewood on it, whose head was smothered in old blood, hair matted together, left eye unable to open properly, both arms swollen and at least one of them looking probably fractured. She seemed close to tears – hardly surprising.

I asked what happened? Someone bin ‘it ‘er. Who? No reply. What with? Stick like this (pointed to one of the firewoods). A man was standing nearby, as though he was staying around to hear what was said, but I might be wrong about that. Some of the women were hovering as well, and it’s not my place to assume he was the culprit.

I rang the ambulance and they asked me a series of questions including about who did it, etc. I told them what I knew and also stated that I was there alone, and it wasn’t my place to be prying. That’s what police are for.

I sat with her until the ambulance arrived.  They were superb, really kind and gentle with her. She needed help getting up, due to both arms, but once she was up, she walked over to the ambulance.

I contacted some domestic violence people about her a few days later. They went to see her and took a policeman with them, but she would not speak. They attended again the following day with a female officer, and she disclosed the perpetrator who was arrested almost immediately.

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