A heart from petals lying on a beautiful old wooden table

Last night I was driving home from visiting a friend. A temperate night in Florida, I had the window down enjoying the fresh ocean air.

Driving along Indian River Drive, I began hearing screams and a woman’s voice. I saw a truck backed into a vacant lot, driver’s side door was open, no lights on. This is where the screaming was coming from.

I immediately picked up my phone and dialed 911. I turned my car around and drove past again, this time slower. I still heard the screaming. I flashed my bright headlights, but I was afraid to stop. That would be crazy, right?

I continued to drive back and forth past the scene with bright lights on until I saw the truck pull out and drive away. Then I turned around one more time to see which way the truck was headed – at this time I passed 2 police cars. I waved at them and pulled into another vacant lot at the corner – this one a popular parking space for fishermen, though no one was there at 11:50pm.

I told the police officers the truck just left and went that way, pointing west on Walton Road. One police car kept going, the other stopped to talk with me. I described what I had witnessed.

All I could do all night long was apologize. I know if I were a woman who was in trouble and in need of help, I would want someone to come. I was too afraid to get out of my car. I felt awful, powerless. I kept apologizing to her and praying. At least I called and waited, right? I couldn’t just drive away.

I went home, shaking, and called a couple of friends who were very supportive. I called back to police dispatch and learned that they had not found the truck and had dismissed the incident. I asked if they had checked the area to see if the woman was left behind – maybe still in the woods in need of help. They seemed rather annoyed by this, but said if I was requesting it, they would send someone out to check, so I did request it. If it were me, I would want someone to come help.

I talked to several people throughout the night. Other than my two supportive friends, all were men. I heard “we get a lot of these call” and “this happens all the time.” The tone was one of “we did what we can do, and there’s really not much we can do in these situations.” The assumption was clearly that it was a domestic violence dispute, even though it was a truck backed into a vacant lot.

I talked to a male friend – not law enforcement – whose response I found particularly hurtful to me as a representative of women, and for that matter all of humanity. “This is what women do. They are hormonal, and they throw temper tantrums. Then they use it as a weapon to hurt men. Men get in trouble when it’s the woman’s fault.” Though I found this hurtful, I recall a very dear male friend who had been in this situation.

I realize domestic violence is common, and it’s not always instigated by the male. I realize men are harmed by women in some cases, and the problems are not confined to heterosexual relationships.

I imagine if you are faced with violence regularly and you find over and over again that there is nothing you can do to make a change, it must become terribly disheartening. I believe most law enforcement officers go through what they do because they want to make their communities safer. But I guess to some extent you would have to numb out. You certainly can’t take it all to heart.

As a healer, I have met and worked with several women who have been in violent situations. Most of the ones I’ve worked with were women who were abducted – one from a parking lot when she left her 2-year-old at home with her husband while she made a quick run to the store; another abducted from the running trail while out for a jog. I worked with another woman whose home was broken into at night while she was sleeping. All of these were professional women, family women. They did not know their attackers. They were raped, beaten, and one was stabbed.

I have also worked with women in domestic violence situations. Regardless of how they got there, they truly didn’t want to be there, and they truly needed help to break free of their situations. Whether or not they are able to permanently leave at that moment doesn’t mean they aren’t getting closer to breaking free every time they call for help. It is a process, and we can’t give up, nor can they. We never know which call will be the one when they are really ready to make the leap.

In college, I lived across the street from a multigenerational family of abusers. There was regular violence, almost daily, at that house. Every time I saw a woman run out of the house with a man chasing after her, or even heard the screaming, I called the police. They knew it was me calling. I told them as long as I heard the cries and witnessed the fighting, I would continue to call – every time.

Violence has never been a part of my personal relationships – for this I am beyond grateful. But it does rattle me to my core when I hear others cry. On one level, I understand why we are here and how we each have our personal journeys and soul teachings, and why this is necessary.

Still, I hope and pray for every woman, and for every man and child, to live without violence. Until that day, whenever I hear others crying, I hope I will always call for help. God help me, as long as I see myself as a child of God who answers to a higher light, I will never not call.

Author's Bio: 

Hi! I'm Debra Graugnard of Joyfully Living Wellness. I healed myself of ulcerative colitis, fibrocystic disease and hypoglycemia - naturally and holistically – over 25 years ago, and I continue to live a cleansing healing lifestyle. I serve as a Spiritual Healing Practitioner with a Masters of Divinity in Spiritual Healing & Counseling. I offer programs and services to help others who want to heal the stress & emotions that affect their digestive dysfunction, plus offer self-care and lifestyle practices for living a healthful life.

If you want to learn more about how stress influences your digestion, download your copy of my free eBook, Unlocking Deeper Messages Behind Stress & Digestion. Visit www.unlockingdeepermessages.com