This morning, on my way to work, I read an article on Daily Mail about a jealous chimp named, Romeo who bit off the zookeeper’s fingers and ear because he thought he (the zookeeper) was flirting with his female partner named Juliet. According to the report, the female Chimp, Juliet, had tried to kiss zookeeper Sergey through a glass partitioning in their cage and Oga Romeo was not having it. Romeo got provoked by the whole nonsense and took his anger out on Juliet, beating her with his hands. Juliet, the love of his life and the only female he has known. Juliet is also, the young mother of his only child.
Clearly, he wanted to punish her for betraying him. And to add salt to injury, the said zookeeper, Sergei, whom Juliet had found attractive and tried to kiss, stepped in to try and break them up. Romeo on seeing him, got even more aggravated, turned on him, bit off his fingers and part of his ear then rounded it up by giving him a black eye.
After I read the article, I had several questions: 1. Why did Juliet try to kiss the Zookeeper through the glass? Was she seeking his attention? Was she trying to make Romeo jealous? And if so, why? There are just the two of them in the cage, they are all they have.
2. Why did Romeo get so agitated over something that didn’t exactly happen?
They have been in that cage for long, so definitely he knew there was a glass and the kiss was never going to really happen. Even more, why attack viciously a zookeeper who had looked after both him and Juliet for over six years?
3. Why is the zookeeper being blamed for breaking the zoo rule and going into the cage to save the Juliet from Romeo’s wrath? Should he have just stood there and watch Romeo beat her to death?
4. So, do Chimps understand the concept of kissing? do they use tongue at some point? Are they sexually adventurous as humans, as well? Ok, Maybe I’m going off tangent a little bit with my curiosity and being silly, but clearly, the story of Romeo, Juliet, and Sergei boggled my mind.
And even worse, some of the comments really bothered me. Two in particular. A person said: “don’t interfere in a domestic argument!” and another said: “Dirty Juliet! Her behavior is no different from a lot of women’s these days!” Please, how is Romeo hitting Juliet with his hands, an argument? An argument is an exchange of diverging or opposite views. It could be typically a heated or angry one, but it is always verbal and never physical. The moment it expands to the physical, it becomes domestic violence and it makes sense to intervene.
Clearly, the story of Romeo and Juliet is so similar to episodes of domestic violence witnessed in human families. I have read and heard of so many incidents over the years: husband gets unreasonably jealous then takes it out on the wife- beating her, possibly even ending her life, and people refuse to interfere or help the woman because it is not their business. They claim that they should not interfere with domestic “arguments”. Even more irritating, the man is condoned because “the wife should have known better”, “she deserves it” or worse, “he did it out of love”.
And “Dirty Juliet!” Really? The man had raised them in the last 6 years. He was of another species. Clearly, the kiss was more of an expression of affection and was not remotely sexual. What is dirty about it? It is as unreasonable as a man beating up his wife for saying “good morning” to or smiling at the Landlord. Is it enough to warrant a beating? And even if a woman has done something terrible or something “dirty” is it enough to beat her up or harm her physically. If you decide her actions are too much for you and you can’t take it, why not remove yourself out of her space and let her go? If she is confident enough to do the dirty deed to your knowledge, do really believe that hitting her will stop her?
Bottom Line: There is no justification for domestic violence. A man who genuinely loves his wife will not get unnecessarily jealous and beat her no matter what he does. A man who does that is one who is possessive and obsessed with himself, his pride and his territory. And if you observe domestic violence, witness a man beating his wife and refuse to interfere in the way that you can, you are worse than the man beating up the woman, because while he may be overtaken by his emotions and doing all the damage as a result, you are completely lucid and just being thoughtless.