“Sandy” asks a question that comes up often:
“I often hear yelling and sounds from my next door neighbor’s house. Although we aren’t very close, we do chat, I’m concerned that she may need help. How is it best to do that without bringing on more trouble?”
This is a touchy situation and one that merits some consideration. All I can do is put myself in your shoes. I see there being two options.
One is that you could casually talk to your neighbor if you see her (I assume this is a woman) and say something like, “How are you?” See how she responds. If she seems willing to chat and make some small talk then that’s good. You then can decide if you want to ask her if everything is okay since you heard some loud noises coming from the house. If she seems fearful or withdrawn, I would not force the conversation. She could be fearful of talking to you because it would make her alleged abuser angry.
I would caution you not to do this if the person you think is the abuser is present. You would not want the alleged abuser taking out any aggressions on her because of your inquires.
The second option, and the safer one in my book, is to call the police and report the noises, shouting, and throwing of things as they are occurring. You have the option to report it without giving your name. The police will better be able to determine what is going on when they respond to the home. You cannot hold yourself responsible for what an abuser decides to do if the police arrive.
I would also never tell your neighbor that you are the one that made the call. You do not want to possibly become the focus of the alleged abuser’s irritation. Just remember, it is better to report the incident and be wrong than not say anything and be right.
I am happy to answer questions from teens or adults.
Feel free to submit a question; email to: [email protected] and put “HWT Question” in the subject line. You may remain anonymous.
“It’s About Your Teen”
Susie Kroll specializes in speaking about Teen Dating Violence and Healthy & Safe Dating. She conducts workshops, keynotes, trainings, and seminars on issues specifically related to teens and their relationships. To schedule Susie for your next event, contact ImaginePublicity, 843.808.0859, [email protected]