Friday, January 05, 2007


I came home one Saturday night recently at about 2 am and heard a loud argument occurring across the hall. An hour later, I could still hear the argument occurring. Then I heard screaming and yelling on the stairs, and suddenly, outside my window, there was a woman lying in the courtyard, crying hysterically. Several people were standing over her and yelling. I heard her come sobbing upstairs again and then there was more screaming and yelling in the apartment. I didn't know what to do, so I went and opened my apartment door. A woman was holding open the door of the apartment where the screaming was coming from, and several other neighbors and the building's security officer were standing in the hallway and on the stairs. The woman holding the door open kept saying everything is fine, even though everything is not fine. Then the screaming woman stumbles toward the door and her entire face was bleeding. I didn't know what to do. I grabbed the phone and called the police. I asked the woman who picked up, in Mongolian, if she spoke English. She hung up on me. I called two more times, and she hung up on me. The last time, she said, "We don't speak English here," in English, before hanging up on me. Finally, the woman holding the door open took the beaten woman outside and they got into a car.

Physical abuse is terrifyingly common in Mongolia, but it was the first time I was an eye-witness to it. I talked to my boss about it, and she said that abuse centers are sprouting up, with housing, because most of these women stay with their husbands because they have nowhere else to go. My boss also suggested getting some pamphlets from one of these centers and discreetly slipping them to the woman when I see her in the hall.

Almost equally disturbing though, was the emergency police woman hanging up on me several times in row. What if something serious had happened to me? She didn't care. I understand that not everyone in Mongolia speaks English, but my boss said that the police have the capacity to locate calls. At the very least, she should have sent someone over to make sure I was okay. I just hope that nothing happens to me or my friends while I'm here, because it's now obvious that if anything does happen, the police are not going to help.


At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah it's a sad thing. Especially the police has a real bad reputation in Mongolia. They need to change their emergency servicend improve it.

At 7:40 PM, Blogger samraat said...


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