Sunday, December 10, 2006

The way the world works... and it ain't pretty, folks.

I work two jobs. During the week I'm transporting medical patients. On the weekends I work double shifts as a waitress at a local steakhouse. With a department store across the street, none of the other waitresses and I have thought twice about stopping there at the end of an evening shift to shop. We've still got our aprons on, a wallet full of one dollar bills, grabbing whatever neccessities we happen to need on any given night. It's just the normal, mundane daily post-work stuff.

We're all thinking twice now. Especially after dark and alone. Last night a gilr from work was attacked. Granted, she wasn't stopping at a store for anything. Her car had stalled, possibly out of gas. Someone stopped, and I imagine her first thought to be they were going to offer assisstance. Instead they beat her, stabbed her multiple times and stole her money. The good news is she survived. She even was able to run to several houses, pounding on the doors and begging for help. Nobody would open the door.

I remember a time when I was about 19 and living on my own. A girl I'd met stopped by and said she was depressed. She said her grandmother had died and she needed company. She asked if I would come over. I had no car, but she said there were a couple of male friends who were giving her a ride. I agreed, wanting to help a friend in need. We didn't go to her house. They took me to the apartment of one of the friends. She'd said she had to talk with one of them, and they went into another room.

I sat with this strange man in the livingroom, not quite knowing what to say. In a little while, when my friend and the second man came out of the room, it struck me that something was very wrong when she showed me the bruises on her arm. It looked as though someone had taken a mallet to her arm between the wrist and the elbow. They then began to laugh and talk about "doing acid with eye droppers". I, not having ever been exposed to drugs of any kind, became quite nervous and began to try to think of ways out of this situation. I was in a strange neighborhood and had no idea how to get back to my apartment.

My friend then took the man who had been sitting near me into the other room, while the one who had just come out sat next to me on the sofa. By this time, I was already scared. I began to panic when the man next to me started comeing on to me. I started to make excuses and stood up, saying I really had to get home. He got angry and pinned me against the wall and said, "You're not going anywhere!" I started to speak in a louder voice, hoping my friend would hear (or anyone else, for that matter) and again begged for him to let me go home.

My friend had come into the room and said. "We should just let her go, she won't say anything, she didn't even see anything." He let go of me and turned in her direction: "I'm not letting her go, she'll say something and I f___ing well know it." was the gruff, angry reply. I knew it was time to get out fast. This had been a horrible mistake. Whatever it was they were doing probably wasn't legal, and I knew I might not make it out unscathed. I made a run for the door and out into the street.

I had no idea where I was, but the three from the apartment were close behind. I ran across the street to some houses and began banging as hard as I could on a door. Nobody answered. I ran on to the next and the next, until finally a man said he wouldn't open the door, but he would call a police officer for me. I was terrified to stand out there on the porch of this home while the three who were following me were driving up and down the street looking for me.

I got out of that situation without further incident, but I was lucky. It was not so for my fellow co-worker. She escaped with her life, but will be physically and emotionally scarred for the rest of it, I'm certain.

It's not bad enough there are people in the world who would do such a thing to another human being. What infuriates me as well is the "let's not get involved" attitude taken on by so many people. It happens in the big city all the time: Someone gets mugged and everyone around them goes on about their business. This is a small-town area, and neighborly help goes right out the window when a bloody, beaten young woman is begging for help.

I despise this group of people, these selfish asses without brains enough to realize a woman could have died on their doorstep. I see these unsamaritans and nearly as bad as the attacker. They, too, endangered her life when they refused to call for help, or to even acknowledge her presence.

How many other victims have been ignored, have died or been even further mutilated because some moron couldn't bring himself to do the right thing? What if it had been them, standing outside in the freezing cold, bloody and broken?

Wake up, people! Grow some balls and get involved!

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