I made the mistake of calling the Police


Photo by Newham London, adapted by Sefulu Ono Aso to Samoa by insertion of local emergency phone number. 995.

Three nights ago I heard my neighbour getting beaten up by her husband. They fight often, so sometimes I can’t tell if it’s the pots and pans being thrown in a fit of rage or the wife being beaten up, but two nights ago it was very obvious it was the blows to her body that I heard. It was about 12am when I went to fetch a glass of water in the kitchen, and I heard her scream : “If this life did not belong to God, I would be dead because of what youre doing to me.” That’s when I knew it was serious. So I called the Police. This is how the call went, translated, word for word.

I ring 22222.

Five rings, a Police man answers.

Police: Talofa Police Station

Me: Hi, can you put me through to the Domestic Violence Unit.

Police: Ok, hold on.

Phone rings, 5 times.

Domestic Violence Unit Officer picks up: Hello.

Me: Hi, i’m calling to report an incident in my area.

DV Officer: Who is this?

Me: Does it matter who I am? Anyway it’s Sina and I am calling from V**** to report my neighbour is being beaten up by her husband.

DV Officer: Where are you calling from?

Me: I’m calling from the road opposite M** Supermarket, but the road the incident is taking place is the one down from mine, so our house is behind the house of the couple.

DV Officer: Oh so you are on the road that the A**** (Cabinet Minister) lives on.

Me: Yes.

DV Officer: That’s the same road that a Police Officer lives on too. (He names the guy here)

Me: Yes, I know him.

DV Officer: So are you sure it’s not the Police officer beating up his wife? Because he does that you know. (Then laughs)

Me: Look I know these things happen but the guy next door has been at it for an hour and as we speak it is still happening, I need to know that you are going to send someone over to check it out and to save the poor woman.

DV Officer: Well I don’t know where it is, so if we send someone we will call you again.

Me: What do you mean IF you will send someone?

DV Officer: Well it’s pretty late at night, we don’t have a car and well these things happen, theyre probably just sorting something out that she did.

Me: Look I’m really sorry I had to bother you so late at night, but I would feel really bad if I hear tomorrow that the woman is dead and I didn’t call to tell you.

DV Officer: Ok go to sleep now.

The END!

I mean where do I even begin to describe how utterly disgraceful this conversation was. But here is an attempt:

1. He did not promise he was going to send someone. He did not ask for specific directions to the place and he most certainly did not express any sympathy whatsoever with what was happening.

2. So let me get this straight, you are informing me that one of your own is also a wife beater? and that if it was him it’s OK?

3. What if I was the victim and I had ten seconds on the phone to tell him that I was being beaten up?

Dear Australia, kindly withdraw all the funds you have invested in the DV unit because it’s a waste of your tax payers dollars!