She sat shivering. Constantly checking whether her skirt was covering her breasts, pulling it with trembling hands up again and again. Silently she mouthed a prayer thanking God that she had worn a long skirt that day.
Outside the sun shone but no sunlight shone through the window. It was blocked by the people staring in.
She closed her eyes trying to shut out the eyes.
“You okay?” he snapped, in Pidgin Papua New Guinea’s second language, before slapping the file down on the table between them. She looked up at him. He threw down a black t-shirt and motioned for her to put it on before he pulled back a chair and plonked down. She pulled the t-shirt over her head. Then reached under it and carefully worked her skirt back down until she felt the waistband back around her waist. Once again she wrapped her arms around her body.
“You’re lucky, they only hit you, cut you and ripped your clothes’ off. Other women have been in far worse situations,” he said while looking at the people staring in. “What were you doing walking alone in the first place? You should KNOW better. What did you expect when you put yourself in that sort of position?” he asked.
“I… was walking to work,” she explained.
“Well next time go with someone,” he retorted. “How many?” he asked tapping his pen against the table as he looked at the ‘Domestic Violence is a Crime’ poster on the light blue cement wall.
“Three,” she said quietly while reaching to her back. She pulled out the shirt stop it sticking to her back.
“What, SPEAK UP, what is wrong with you?” he snapped.
“Three,” she tried again this time louder.
“What weapons did they have?”, he asked.
“A rifle, bush knife and a kitchen knife,” she told him closing her eyes feeling faint. “They ca…me out from the overgrown grass on the vacant plot on the other side of the Highway and…. called me to wait for them, so I ran across the umm..Highway to get to the other side,” she carried on, not stopping.
“That’s WHY they hit you and cut you, you should have listened to them,” he scolded her.
“I thought……that. If..if I got to the other side of the..the road then I could follow the iron fence and try to make it to the residential…housing area which is just before the warehouse where I worked but..they reached me before I got there..” she looked at him, bending up and down trying to make eye contact.
He kept shaking his head.
“Is there someone you want to call to pick you up or do you want us to drop you off at the hospital to get those cuts look at?” he asked looking at her for the second time since he walked through the door.
“I want to call…” she said.
“Use the phone on the table,” he said while pushing out the chair to stand up.
She gulped before saying, “ex..excuse me sir.”
He turned and glared. “Yesssss,” he ground slowly out.
“Did…. ummmm…did you get them and don..don’t you want to hear the rest of the story?,” she asked steeling herself not to look away.
“No vehicle, besides they probably already ran away…and you should be thankful nothing bad happened, did they rape you?” he growled.
She shook her head. He turned and left.
She sat staring at the doorway after he left, before turning and looking at the people staring in. Only three remained.
“Shame, shame on you,” she spat out. Two left, one stayed put, a grin spreading on his face. They stared at each other until he turned his head.
“Bitch,” he mumbled as he walked away.
Minutes later she heard Rose’s voice asking where she was. Rose burst in the room. She came to a dead stop.
“Let’s just go home,” she said, struggling to keep her voice in check.
Rose nodded, “Oh my god your cut, your arms are cut,” she said blinking rapidly trying to stop the tears from escaping.
“Rose, pleassse…,” she pleaded.
Nodding again Rose helped her up and they made their way out the door and down the corridor to the front desk where her interviewer sat talking to another officer who glanced at them.
“Are you okay?,” the officer asked coming out and attempting to take her other arm before realizing it had blood soaked strips of cloth tied around them.
“Sandy,” she blurted out.
“What?,” Rose asked her confused.
“My name is Sandy,” she said again, louder almost screeching. “My name is Sandy, you didn’t even ask my name to put on your report,” Sandy said. “So I am telling you… it’s Sandy and I’ll get my husband to check if you are looking for them,” she screeched at the interviewer whose lip curled and twitched as he stared at her.
Then Sandy saw her husband tearing in, his face scrunched in anger. The tears she had held back so long fell free.
“I’ll be back,” her husband told the officer, who was now asking the interviewer for the Sandy’s file, before gently steering her to the car.
“Thankful, he said, I should be thankful,” Rose heard Sandy say over and over again as she tried to hold Sandy trying to stop her shivering. Sandy jerked back. Rose pulled her arm away then realized her inner arm was covered with blood.
“My arms, legs and my back hurt,” Sandy moaned as her husband maneuvered the car out of the police station car park. At the end of the driveway, he stopped.
“Hospital?” he asked no one in particular, staring at his wife’s black eyes, split swollen lips and bruised cheeks through the rear view mirror.
“Quickly,” Rose said watching her sister-in-law talking to herself.
I know its not a poem. Bear with me please, am down with Malaria.
Police brutality has been bugging me for a while but I don’t have the brain power to sit and write a poem so I pulled out this from my pile.
Links at the bottom
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Presents Preliminary Findings on His Mission to Papua New Guinea
my brother has been on the wrong side of the law..he likes his booze and hangs with the wrong crowd. One christmas years ago, the police had thought my brother was withholding information. They thought he knew which young men had held up a group of gamblers and made away with their winnings.
Its very professional how they investigate. They pick up any drunk young man they find. After all where else would a young man get money to drink. It still happens today.
So they took him and a friend of his into custody and decided to question him with the help of a 3X2 timber. They broke his legs, “incase he ran” and beat him into a coma. I still to this day do not know what he went through during the night he spent in their custody. My mother searched the streets all night for her son going from house to house until she found out he was in custody. His friend they cut with a razor blades both were rushed to hospital in comas. Both managed to survive.
My brother changed after that. He hated the police with a passion and would help young men running from the police. Nothing we could do could stop this. It eventually ended up with him serving several years for Assessory.
The story above is based on a experience I had where I was attacked several years ago while walking to work. I was not cut up but beaten..all the words are what was said to me. I added the knife wounds because I know of people who have been in that situation. The police are supposed to our friends but after the incident…
If you also notice in my poems I use neighbours as saviors often because more then likely they are your best bet until the police turn up.
Yes they have brushed up their tatics alot. But still the public’s old fears remain and the recent news haven’t been helpful. I write this with hesitation knowing a lot of my extending family are in our police force.
So I see the other side. The long hours, understaffed, minimun wages, and they work around very tight budget restraints, and no mental health assessments after shooting etc.. but still…isn’t that what you signed up for to be our friends, our protecters.
If you have the time please tell me how to improve my short stories. Honesty welcome.