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Author Topic: Overheard troubling exchange on bus
skiesofgreen
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*Trigger warning for abusive language/possible description of sexual assault*

I was bussing to work yesterday when I heard a girl sitting behind me say (rather forcefully) "and then I get fucked in doggy" and burst out into tears. At first I thought she was on the phone with someone because the crying continued for a minute or so uninterrupted and I was about to turn around and ask if she was ok when I heard her boyfriend suddenly start talking and say "whatever, you've been fucked like that before" to which I hear her say "I don't want it" between a lot of sobs.

At that point the conversation became muffled and the next thing I heard was her apologising over and over again for what sounded like the argument that led to her being raped by her boyfriend.

The conversation got increasingly disturbing when he started trying to isolate her from her family.

The whole time I was listening I really wanted to say something but I had no idea what to say. For some reason the fact that the boyfriend was there with her just made me freeze up. I didn't know if asking her if she was ok would just escalate the situation and I've got to admit that I feel incredibly guilty for not speaking up.

When I saw her get off the bus I almost went after her and I really wish I had because she ended up not following her boyfriend but instead just stood there crying when the bus pulled away.

I wish at the very least I'd had a the sense to write down some help lines to hand to her. Or something. I don't even know if that would have made a difference. But I can't help but feel terrible that I just heard this happen and did nothing.

I think I feel particularly bad because I feel so much like I was her five year ago. I was in that relationship, I was the girl crying on the bus. I just wish I had done something.

I'm not sure what I hope to achieve by posting this but I feel like I need to air it. Maybe some advice on how you'd handle this situation? Is there a safe way to intervene (and I mean safe for the girl as much as for myself)? I'm not sure how to get over the guilt of not doing anything but I'm also not sure what I could have/should have done or if my doing anything would actually have helped.

[ 08-29-2013, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: skiesofgreen ]

Posts: 243 | From: British Columbia, Canada | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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You know, while I very much appreciate -- as I always do with you, skiesofgreen -- your care for others, I'd say that with a situation like this, where you're just overhearing, and this person isn't inviting you into their conversation, or asking for help, I think it's probably most respectful to leave it be.

The lone exception I'd make to that is if you tried to make eye contact, and she met your gaze, and you got some indication she wanted outside help in that situation.

So, I agree, it doesn't sound like there really was anything you could have respectfully done here.

If it helps, I'd bear in mind that right now, there is SO much information on sexual assault and abusive relationships online, in community centers, even in some schools. If this is something she wanted help with, she could probably find that via a simple internet search. And, if this is something she's ready for help with, chances are awfully good she will find a way to get that help.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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skiesofgreen
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I was thinking that myself in retrospect after I wrote this up (something about putting in words kind of put it in perspective). Your right that it probably wouldn't be my place to step in.

In retrospect maybe the feeling of needing to do something is really linked more to making myself feel better than doing what was actually best in that situation. Or comes from connecting the situation to closely to myself? It's hard to separate yourself out when you hear something that speaks to your own traumas I suppose.

At the same time, I still feel bad about it? Or shaken up? Maybe that's a better term. (I'm being incredibly eloquent I know). It hurts to see people who are so clearly hurting and know there's nothing you can do about it.

Posts: 243 | From: British Columbia, Canada | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I completely understand.

Perhaps, for right now, the best person to focus on who you CAN help is yourself? In other words, what can you do right now to take care of you in this per the feelings it's left you with?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 67932 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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