Speeding bus

Would You Walk Out in Front of a Bus?

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Dealing with antisocial behaviour in housing is an incredibly difficult matter. As I have written about previously, I have been living with someone who exhibits dangerous behaviour and shows no regard for the law or for other people. I have been trying to get help within the housing system to find alternative accommodation, but the response I often get is that people aren’t willing to accept my understanding of the situation, which is that my neighbour poses a threat to my physical and mental health.

I have felt at danger of being assaulted, for reasons related to my neighbour’s past and recent behaviour, but I won’t go into details here. A support worker responded to my concerns by questioning my understanding that I’m in danger. I explained some of the things my neighbour has done that demonstrate his recent dangerous behaviour, and his history of dangerous behaviour while I’ve been living in the property, but I was asked, “has he actually threatened or assaulted you?” While I understand the reason behind this question on one level — I suppose the authorities can’t arrest or evict someone for an act or crime they haven’t committed — on the other hand, what it seems to suggest is that they are waiting for something serious to happen (like an assault) before they can take action.

The analogy that I thought of today is that it’s a bit like making the argument that someone should walk out in front of a bus. This feels akin to what the housing services are telling me to do when they suggest I should return to my accommodation because there has not been a serious incident. Walking in front of a bus seems dangerous. It might not be dangerous — the bus driver might swerve out of the way, a gust of wind might blow the person to safety, or a tree might fall in front of the bus and halt it just as the person approaches. So it could be argued that you can’t say for certain that walking out in front of a bus is dangerous. You could say the bus hasn’t hurt anyone, or threatened anyone, so it can’t be demonstrated to be a dangerous bus.

But you still wouldn’t walk out in front of a bus, right? You feel a very real threat to your safety, so your instinct is to not put yourself into that dangerous situation, if at all possible. It’s not something you want to test out by trial and error, because you are convinced that the bus is a potentially dangerous vehicle, and that stepping out in front of it would likely cause you serious harm.

I feel that the neighbour that I live with is the equivalent of a potentially dangerous vehicle. But while it’s difficult to prove a bus is dangerous, it’s also difficult to prove a human being is dangerous. So what do you do? Well, you trust your sense of what is safe and what is not. You don’t walk in front of a bus if it’s racing towards you quickly, and you don’t live in a home with someone who has been exhibiting dangerous behaviour.

The housing association has a complaints procedure. They have tried to encourage me to pursue an antisocial behaviour complaint against my neighbour. But to continue with my bus analogy, this is a bit like telling the person to walk in front of the bus and ask the driver to put on the brakes. Not only will the driver not be able to hear (similarly, my neighbour doesn’t listen to requests to change his behaviour), it actually creates more danger of harm — my neighbour would likely be even more unkind to me if he found out I had pursued an antisocial behaviour complaint, as he is intent on doing things that cause me mental, and potentially physical distress. If I were to pursue a complaint against him, and the housing association spoke with him, it would obviously make my living in the property more unsafe rather than safer.

What I explained to someone yesterday was that when people feel they are above the law, and are willing to lie to everyone in order to protect themselves (as my neighbour does), there’s very little that can be done to take action against them. As I’ve heard my neighbour lying repeatedly both to me and others, I’m convinced that he would lie at an antisocial behaviour meeting, or even in a court room. So what do you do when someone is aggressively dangerous, and feels they are above the law, and are determined to hide the truth?

Well, that’s why the existence of God, and God’s plan for justice, are so important. I can have peace of mind in relation to the fact that while it’s highly possible my neighbour will escape justice during this life, he will certainly not escape the justice of God, which I wholeheartedly believe is coming in the form of a Day of Judgement following the resurrection of the dead at a time known only to God, as testified to in both the Bible and the Qur’an.

There is much more that I could say about this situation, and perhaps the bus analogy isn’t perfect in every respect. Part of me wants to go into more depth to explain to you exactly what my neighbour has been doing in all its grizzly detail. But God knows absolutely everything everyone does, and keeps a record of it, and that’s the main thing.

I’m hoping to find alternative accommodation somewhere that feels much safer, but I’m waiting for people to get back to me and it’s taking some time. In the meantime, I’m staying in the cheapest hotels I can find, but I’m deep into my overdraft and will only be able to stay in hotels for two more nights before I will be forced into the decision of either sleeping on the street or returning to the danger of the flat.

I hate to ask for help, but I will quietly mention my donations page, should anyone reading this find themselves in a financially fortunate position and be willing to help me out. Sorry for the unusually long article and thank you for reading. God is absolutely awesome and my faith in Him has never been stronger.

2 comments

  1. “what it seems to suggest is that they are waiting for something serious to happen (like an assault) before they can take action.”

    I keep coming back to this post because my enraged by your situation. Unequivocally the authorities are waiting for something serious to happen. As a high school student, I had a dear friend who lived in an awful home situation. Another friend and I sounded the alarm, screaming at the top of our lungs for the adults to help. No teacher, guidance counselor, nor our parents stepped in. It was always “his caseworker is aware.” And he was arrested facing serious three years after we started warning people. And that is when he was removed from his home and got resources. The problem, he aged out of eligibility for resources within months because he turned 18. Therefore, he was back in an untenable situation. The charges dropped; however, the arrest and time he spent in jail waiting had already damaged his future. No one should ever feel unsafe, especially when sounding the alarm—praying for you in North Carolina (USA).

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    1. Dear Elizabeth, thank you so much for your compassionate comment. I’m sorry that your friend has such testing circumstances. I fear there are a lot of people in such situations — this is truly a difficult world in which we live. Thank you praying for me from North Carolina and I wish you God’s blessings — thanks again for your kindness!

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