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February 17, 2010

Shock and Awe at the Mall of America

The adventures of the stay at home mom continued today with a day at the Mall of America with two friends and our babies! It was a day filled with cuteness, excitement, and an unexpected turn...

We kicked off the fun by meeting in front of Lego Land. After a brief stop at Caribou Coffee (I sincerely apologize to all of you who don't live in an area with a Caribou... you don't know what you're missing) we were ready to go!
We strolled around to several stores, including Gymboree, Bath & Body Works, and Carters. For those of you wondering, I didn't buy the entire Carters store, although it was tempting thanks to their stunning sales prices. I instead limited myself to purchasing a toy for Nathaniel's carseat and a hat for him to wear on our upcoming camping trip this summer.

After grabbing a bite to eat at Chipotle and feeding our hungry babies, we stopped in at Aeropostle and headed to Old Navy.

What occurred as we were about to leave Old Navy was the most shocking part of our day. Our group was standing near the door, talking and taking a few pictures when we suddenly heard screams. Initially, I thought that there was a child who was misbehaving, but there was no child to be seen. As the screams continued, we all began looking for the source of the commotion as it sounded like the noise was coming from behind a wall. Without warning, we heard a woman's voice yelling for help and we realized that the cries were coming from the next store.
We ran out of Old Navy and into the neighboring store, Underground Station. As we dashed into the store, a male employee stuck his head out of the back room and told us that everything was fine.

Something didn't seem right with the situation so after making sure that Nathaniel was safely in the care of one of my friends, two of us ran into the back room where we saw a young woman, completely disheveled, whose face was covered in blood. She was bleeding from her nose, a cut above her upper lip, and her mouth as she held a shirt to her face to mop up the blood.

[I am interrupting this story to announce that Nathaniel just projectile-vomited all over the bed, including a direct hit on my keyboard. So if I start typing jibberish, it means that my computer is dying thanks in no small part to spit-up.]

Back to my story, the store employee was completely indifferent to the injured woman who was sobbing and obviously frightened. When I asked her what had happened, she told me that the employee was her boyfriend and he had been hitting her.

We stayed with her until the police arrived, at which point they talked to both the woman and her boyfriend. The police also questioned us as to what we had heard, but they didn't take a formal statement from any of us. In the end, one of the officers took the woman home and the employee was allowed to stay and continue his shift.

I would tell you all in no uncertain terms what I truly think of this employee and of men in general who raise their hands against women, but then this blog would have to be filed under my "filter free" category and I do try to refrain from using four letter words. What I can tell you is that I firmly believe that beating another person is never appropriate and I can't even begin to fathom what made this man think that beating his girlfriend was acceptable, let alone doing it at work.

Many of you know that I am not the kind of person to sit back and watch life on the sidelines, as it simply isn't in my personality. Instead, I face situations head-on and when I am upset about something, I take action. Watching this woman's frightened reaction to her boyfriend and seeing him receive no consequences for his actions genuinely bothered me. No one should be allowed to beat a woman without facing some manner of repercussions.

When I got home, my first priority was finding the customer service phone number to Underground Station and I made it a point to call and tell them exactly what happened. Tomorrow during business hours, I fully intend on calling again to find out who owns this particular store so I can discuss this matter with them personally, since I'm sure they don't want their store supporting this kind of behavior.

My phone calls may do no good whatsoever. I can't control if this woman decides to stay with her boyfriend. I can't control whether or not this man learns his lesson. There is very little in this situation that I can control, but the one thing that I have the power to impact is who learns about this incident. I can tell their customer service line, the district manager, and even the store owner. The knowledge itself may do no good, but my hope is that there will be some consequences for the situation that took place and, God willing, this man will learn that his actions are not considered acceptable by any standard.

After reflecting on the events of the day, I sat down on my couch with Nathaniel. I looked him in the eye and flat-out told him that he can never, under any circumstances, raise his hand against a woman. Thankfully, I know that he will learn that using violence in a relationship is neither healthy or acceptable, since he has his daddy to look at as an example of how a man should treat a woman.

I know that Jonathan would never raise his hand against me and I am so grateful for this fact, but I am reminded tonight that not everyone is in this same situation. With that in mind, if any of you are experiencing violence in a relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

1 comment:

  1. Disgusting excuse for a human, IMO. That just really makes my blood boil, but kudos to you and your friend for taking action! There are so many people out there today that will stand by and let things happen and think, "That's not my problem", but what if it was and no one was considerate enough to help?