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Old 08-10-2008, 08:22 AM   #1
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So worried about my neighbor

Hello, I live in a small rural town. My next door neighbor is a police officer here in town. He is married and and they have 2 little girls. Their house is right behind ours, we kinda share the back yard area which belongs to the town. Anyway, I and also my son and my husband all believe that he is abusive to his family, especially his wife and oldest daughter. We can hear him verbally abusing her when we are in our yard. He uses really bad profanity and he drives too fast when he leaves their house, he slams the doors hard enough in the house that we can hear it. He kicked the door on the back of their house hard enough to dent it. I am scared to report him because of the way police officers take care of each other and I know he would find out who did it if I called. In a town as small as I live in (less than 1000 people) I know he would find out. I don't know if I could live with myself if anything happened to that family. I haven't even dared to speak to any of the neighbors about it because I don't know who I could trust. I hope someone can tell me what to do. Thank you.

 
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:16 AM   #2
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Re: So worried about my neighbor

I have some questions.

How long have you been living there?

When you came to live in this house, was his family already living next door? I mean, who came first to this place?

Does he greet you and your family? What kind of relationship do you and your family have with his family? Are you on talking terms at least?

Basically I wouldn't do anything, as long as he is not being abusive towards me and my family. Think about the possibility that this situation may not last long, and your interference may be pointless. But I understand that you are concerned about it: something bad may happen and then you may feel guilty about having taken no action.

Anyway, I think it is better to wait longer before doing anything. I sense this is something new for you, that is, you haven't been witnessing it for a very long time. Wait until you have a better understanding of what is going on there or until someone else gives you a sign or asks for help.

Last edited by pendulum; 08-10-2008 at 09:17 AM.

 
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:57 AM   #3
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Re: So worried about my neighbor

I really don't know what to say because this is such a hard situation. I agree though that right now, maybe you should just leave it be. The wife is not incapable of leaving, and chances are that if you report him, she won't press charges anyway and she'll just take him back. That would leave you in a big mess for no reason. I know it's hard to turn a blind eye though...

Just as a little side note- I was actually just reading the other day about how many police officers are abusive to their families. Either because they have so much stress that they take it home and don't know how to deal, or because part of the reason they become police officers in the first place is because they're controlling and on a power trip. It's a scary thing how many police officers are really horrible people and in their profession simply for the power of it.

 
Old 08-10-2008, 10:28 AM   #4
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Re: So worried about my neighbor

that's especially tough because it's a small town, where i live a cop just got convicted, after holding his wife hostage with a gun, and a standoff with swat... it's not uncommon as you would think though.

 
Old 08-10-2008, 10:33 AM   #5
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Re: So worried about my neighbor

Hello again, To answer a couple of questions, I have lived in my home about 4 years now. They have lived there a little over 8 months. I took it upon myself about an hour ago to talk to the lady who lives the next house over from them. She is also very concerned as she says she saw him use physical violence on his wife by pulling her very roughly out of their pickup truck. She also believes he has what she called suppressed rage. (She is a nurse) I will try to take a wait and see approach and go from there. The children are young, about 4 and 6. The wife used to work, now she is a stay at home mommy. My husband talks to him once in a while when they are outside. I have no problems talking with all my other neighbors but he does act pretty unfriendly. Only speaks when spoken to, never opens a conversation. His wife acts what I first thought to be shyness, now I wonder if it is fear. We have (other neighbors and myself) have asked her for coffee or to have the children play together. But she always has an excuse. So anyway, thank you to you all who answered my questions. I will keep updates as things happen or hopefully do not happen.

 
Old 08-10-2008, 10:44 AM   #6
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Re: So worried about my neighbor

She definately seems to be acting out of fear instead of shyness. He has her so beat down mentally that I'm sure she thinks he is the only one who loves her and he has her convinced that you (as a neighborhood) thinks she's worthless so she stays away.

I agree that you should try to stay out of it, especially as it is a new situation. Perhaps you could try instead to befriend her? Are you similar in age? Do you have children as well? Maybe I'm wrong in my thinking because you could just be opening your family up to a world of hurt by doing that. I don't know.

It must be such an awful situation to witness. Having been in an abusive marriage I can totally relate to this. That's why I'm thinking maybe if she feels there is just one person she can talk to and trust that could help her. But I do understand the whole "small town" thing too. Where I live we have 1600 people so you do tend to get to know everyone.

 
Old 08-10-2008, 11:14 AM   #7
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Re: So worried about my neighbor

Hi, My children are much older than hers, and both boys. I will try again to make contact with her. She is a real good mommy and spends alot of time (when he is not home) in the backyard with her little ones. They are so cute, I think the oldest one will start school this year. I think she may be 5 or 6 did not go to school last year. So maybe she is younger than I thought. It is real odd, having a neighbor living this close and not even know the ages of their children. Or their names for sure. I have never to my knowledge heard either parent call the children by their name. Oh one thing I did not mention, when any of us neighbors come out to our own yards near theirs when they are out with the kids, they immediately go inside. They have never stayed outside with their kids when anyone else is outside also. Every once in a while when my husband is doing yard work, they stay outside but if it any social type thing, in they go.

 
Old 08-10-2008, 11:17 AM   #8
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Re: So worried about my neighbor

This is indeed a very tough situation. On the one hand, you don't wnat to bring trouble to your family, but on the other hand, what if he kills her, or worse yet, what if he's an annihilator waiting to happen, and one day he kills her and the kids and then himself? You'll have to live knowing you knew about it and did nothing to stop it.

Abusers start with mental abuse. They separate their victims from all friends and family and isolate them so no one can help or "interfere." And then they set to work on convincing their victim that no one else loves them, no one else cares about them, and if they ever dared to try to escape, he will find her and bring her back and the abuse will be 10 fold. She may also stay away from people to hide bruises and cuts.

I think if it were me, I'd call the state troopers and ask generically what their policy is in this kind of situation, where a municipal or county officer is breaking the law but the other officers in his department would protect him and harrass anyone who tries to help her. I might also just tell her, if I see her on the street or across the yards or something, and he's not around, just pointedly ask if she's ok, and tell her if she ever needs anything, to let me know.

 
Old 08-10-2008, 01:49 PM   #9
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Re: So worried about my neighbor

Since I also live in a small town with a very close knit police department, I know that it's true he would find out if you talked to someone. It's also true that you cannot help or report someone doing this if his wife doesn't want help or is unwilling to do anything against her husband.

If you called you would take a chance that she would never be willing or be allowed to be-friend you. Like HappyMom I suggest you talk to her, force your friendship on her a bit and see how far she runs...maybe you can break the ice. If she feels like she has someone she can trust you have a better chance of getting her to open up to you.

Keep in mind also no one has seen him physically hit her. Pulling her roughly from the truck doesn't qualify. It isn't unlawful to use profanity with your wife, so it may even be possible there are no laws broken at all. Keep your eyes and ears open, and try getting closer to her.

Mileena

 
Old 08-11-2008, 03:43 AM   #10
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Re: So worried about my neighbor

I would like ot know why you think the oldest child is abused too? You had mentioned it earlier?

I was wondering if you could send an anonymous letter to child protective services? In the idea that the wife may not leave him or at least file and charges against him...maybe this would be the correct route to take.

I know for fact that in many circumstances one parent is forced to leave the other if there proves to be any sort of abuse involving the kids. If the children were interviewed and it was found that he was abusive...they would tell the wife that she had to care for them without him or she loses the kids too. This could be their way out w/o anyone getting hurt.

 
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