It was about a month and a half ago that I began collecting cases of physical violence as they were reported in the media. In each case the attackers and the attacked knew one another. Often they were related or lived in the same household. I’m not at all sure that I managed to get all the cases. In fact, I’m sure that I didn’t because there were days when I simply didn’t have time to go through the news from the section entitled “bulvár” in Hírkereső, an online news search engine, which also includes police news.
The first case happened on November 13. A thirty-year-old father grabbed a butcher knife and attacked his two daughters, ages 4 and 6, and then used the knife on himself. They ended up in the hospital but survived.
On the very same day HVG reported somewhat belatedly that a teacher in Fonyód, a resort town at Lake Balaton, severely beat up his elderly parents on October 3o. Currently he is in pre-trial detention.
A day later a mother found her dead daughter in the box in which bedding is stored under the sofa. It turned out that the twenty-four-year-old woman was killed by her girlfriend. On the same day I found an item on a site from Heves County which reported an earlier crime, committed back in March. A verbal encounter between a man and a woman who lived under the same roof ended with the woman grabbing a piece of broken window glass and stabbing the man in his abdomen. His condition was critical when he arrived at the hospital, but he survived.
On November 13 a man knifed his female friend and her girlfriend. One of them died on the spot. The next day they found the body of a man who had been missing since October 25 in the canal near Kalocsa. The man’s former girlfriend with the help of her father and her new boyfriend killed him and threw his body in the water.
On November 17 the police found the bodies of a couple in their fifties in Debrecen whose quarrel ended with the man killing his wife and committing suicide. The week before the police finally arrested a man who on December 25, 2012 beat up his wife, dragged her to a nearby railroad line, and placed her body on the rails with a box of medication. Her body was found before the train arrived, but she died of her injuries.
Lake Balaton was a dangerous place in November. In the first case a child called the police because he was afraid for his mother’s safety. By the time the police tracked down the address, the woman had been beaten to a pulp by her husband. She asked the police to keep her husband in temporary custody. On the same day in Karcag “an aggressive man was taken into custody” because he attacked members of his family.
For a week no domestic abuse was reported, but when it came it was an ugly one. For years a man and a woman kept their three children in unimaginable circumstances. The regularly beat them, starved them, and made them eat their own feces. Their teachers knew about the case, even reported it to the authorities, but it took three years for the police to take action.
On November 26 it was reported that a sixty-year-old woman from Gyula died of injuries inflicted by her son. She didn’t even make it to the hospital. Meanwhile in Szeged three siblings starved their mother for months and refused her medical care. She died due to neglect and malnutrition. Two days later in Fertőrákos the police tried to quiet a man who threatened to blow up his house. Prior to this outburst he beat up his wife who left him earlier.
On November 28 a forty-year-old man in Gyula beat and subsequently strangled his sixty-year-old mother. On November 29 HVG reported an earlier crime. In December 2012 a fifty-four-year-old woman strangled her drunk partner in Budapest’s District XVIII. Subsequently she cut off his extremities which she hid in a plastic bag which then was placed in a garbage container. His body ended up in the box under the sofa.
There was a quarrel in Decs between a twenty-four-old woman and a thirty-four-year old man. The woman escaped and hid in the courtyard of a house, but he followed her. A young man came to her rescue. He ended up with serious injuries inflicted with a shovel. On December 2 a man from Kazincbarcika received a jail sentence of twenty years; he beat his lover to death in June 2011.
The next news came from Szekszárd. It was about a couple who had been living together for thirteen years. They both drank too much. On July 12 the man went off to work early and apparently drank throughout the day. When he got home he demanded dinner, which she refused to prepare. Then came a 13 cm long knife. He inflicted a life threatening wound. The woman had to be operated on.
A day later, on December 3, the police arrested a man who had escaped to Romania after he killed his former girlfriend. He originally came from Romania but was a Hungarian citizen. The crime was committed in Debrecen. Meanwhile in Kecskemét a man locked up his partner in the apartment, beat her, and forced her to have sex with other men. The woman escaped, the man was arrested.
On December 5, a thirty-nine-year-old man from Csobád in Borsod County knifed his visiting sister. The victim was taken to the hospital in a life-threatening condition. On the same day it was discovered that a woman who gave birth to a premature baby and found herself pregnant again became so depressed and agitated that she threw the baby around and shook her so violently that she inflicted permanent brain damage.
Meanwhile in Paks a forty-one-year-old man who had a history of violence against his wife was after her again, although she had moved out of their house and moved in with his sister. He followed her with two knives in hand. He turned against his wife and sister-in-law. Both received serious injuries. According to the Hungarian Criminal Code, he might receive a minimum of ten or a maximum of twenty years in jail.
On December 7 a father in Füzesabony attacked his six-year-old son who died of his wounds. He then turned against himself, but he made only a couple of superficial cuts. A man in Pécs killed his divorced wife. He used a 15 cm. knife with which he stabbed her 106 times. She died on the spot.
In Tolna County a family gathering ended up in a quarrel between father and son. The father attacked the son with a hammer, which the son managed to get and eventually used against the father. Both ended up in the hospital, the father in serious condition.
On December 23 a Bács-Kiskun online site reported an older case according to which a man from Izsák strangled his eighty-four-year-old mother on August 7. On the same day in Nikla, Somogy County, a thirty-one-year-old woman was so severely beaten by her partner that she died on the spot. The partner escaped but later gave himself up. A day later I read about a man from Győr who after he was released from prison terrorized his wife, threatened to kill her, their four-year-old daughter, and his stepson. He wouldn’t let her out of the house, took away her telephone so she couldn’t call for assistance, beat the children, and the wife. Eventually the case ended up with the police. The last piece of news is from Christmas Eve. Hír24 reported about a man who brutally beat his wife and sewed up her mouth.
I’m pretty sure I missed several equally horrendous stories. Hungarian society is becoming increasingly violent. I read a couple of days ago that a bus driver who enforces the rule that passengers can enter the bus only through the front door receives incredible verbal abuse from people who either have no valid tickets or refuse to buy one or who are simply angry that they have restricted entrance. People have screamed at him: “I will kill you!” Or “I wish you weren’t born!” Or “You should drop dead!”
But what can we expect from people of a country where the president of the parliament, László Kövér, said yesterday on Echo TV: “… the very fact that there is a growth called Ferenc Gyurcsány in politics, about which one must speak only because it is such a scandal that he is still with us. His presence is a purulent wound on the body of democracy.” Shall I say more?