I called 911 and I would do it again.
The Boy and I were goofing around walking home from the Quicky Mart, where he'd proudly gotten himself a Freezy when V, a woman who lives down the street came running towards me in her bathrobe. Frazzled, she explained that she was taking a long lovely bath when it was interrupted by smashing and a man yelling profanities at someone.
V looked in her backyard, and saw a woman cowering behind her shed, babe in arms, while a man continued to yell and scream at her. But V didn't have the street address and didn't want to leave her young daughter alone while she went to look. I did it, as I walked around to see the house, I heard yet more smashing and more name calling. As V ran up the fence to see if the woman was ok. (The Boy watched her little one for a bit.)
Address located, I called 911. They sent police.
As I walked back to my street, I came upon the woman being comforted by V. and another neighbour J. I told them I'd called the police. The woman looked scared and mortified and quickly went home.
J. explained that he knew the couple and that they are both teachers. A teacher as well J., when he saw which house it was, he decided not to call the police because he knew them. But, as if, trying to make me feel better he says "You did the right thing by calling." Which really begs the question, well, why didn't he?
Three of us witnessed this event
I told him I was only worried that after the cops left, he was going to beat this poor woman to death. J. looked at me as if I'd suddenly grown a second head. "Oh no, he wouldn't do that they're teachers you know." Right, but he would terrorize his wife to the point where she was hiding behind the shed with her baby. I said, I hoped he was right.
I was having a glass of wine with DV across the street and J. came up to me. He said again "You did the right thing. But I think he was just drunk because it was the last day of school." As if this somehow justified the behaviour. "I'm sure they're both mortified," went on... as if this is throwing things at your spouse and calling her names... chasing her out of her own house is normal behaviour.
"J., I have no regrets about calling the police. If you and your wife were having that kind of fight and she was cowering in the back yard, I'd call the cops. We need to stand up for those who are too scared to stand up for themselves. I hope that this is the wake up call they need to get their lives and their relationship under control and that it didn't lead to her getting a savage beating. I also hope the police took this seriously."
This is clearly not what J. wanted to hear. I wanted me to say "OH, he's a teacher I'm sure he's a fine upstanding citizen." Certainly there are exceptional wonderful teachers out there... but the virtue of the profession does not exempt you from normal common decency. Too many horror stories start out this way and it's time for it to stop.