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I actually had someone come up to me once and tell me this. What happened is that it was after dark one summer evening, and I was riding my bike. I heard someone screaming for help, and I went to see what was wrong, and she told me that she had been raped. I had nothing on me that would be of any use, I did not have a cell phone or any bus fare. The only way I thought I could help her was to flag down a bus and ask the driver to call for help. I walked with her across the bridge to find a nearby bus stop (yes, I now know that walking across a bridge with someone in that state of severe mental crisis is a bad idea). Fortunately, she had enough money for bus fare, so when the next bus came and she got on, I explained to the bus driver what had happened, and I hope the bus driver was able to help. When I got home, I called the police non-emergency line, but not surprisingly, they said they couldn't do much.
So how can a person be helpful in that situation? The idea I came up with was to use a fanny pack to make a "crisis kit." It has first aid supplies, a working cell phone, and a list of phone numbers, including mental health and sexual assault crisis lines. Are there other things that we can do? If a man encounters this situation and he is the only one who can help, how can he do so taking into account that in that moment of fear and vulnerability she has every reason to be fearful and suspicious of him?
Flag down someone with a cel phone. Call 911.
Yes, even if a major crime of violence is not still ongoing, it is a 911 call. Murder, attempted murder, rape (would that be aggravated sexual assault under current legislation), assault and battery, abduction or attempted abduction... I'm not a police officer, but I'd be inclined to add any sexual crime - including stalking and propositions - of children, thinking of that as it happened to a cousin when he was a small boy...
Sounds like you did everything you could. Did the bus driver seem to understand?
I would maybe give her my number to call if she wanted (but you being male, I can see why you might not want to do that), and let her know I would look up some numbers for her and help her in any other way I could. And encourage her to go to police and/or let a friend or other she trusts know what happened.
the worst thing my mom did after i was assaulted was call the police!!!! i never would ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What would you do instead, quizzical?
I think the best response is simply to ask the woman "What can I do to help?" That might involve calling the police, getting her to a hospital, etc.
i would ask if there was a close friend or relative the person wanted me to contact. they may not want any given specific person to know. and they've been victimized already.
if they were in a state i could ask this of them.
if not i would call emergency of course.
if in a fairly coherent state i would tell them prior to emergency getting there they were in charge of their body ALWAYS and could refuse to submitt to a rape kit examination if they felt they couldn't tolerate it.
Jas, the bus driver was a woman, and just as the bus was driving away the bus driver was calling her over to talk to her. I also forgot to mention that this "crisis kit" also contains a notepad and pen, so that I can write down important things, including giving a name and phone number if she wants to call me back.
Quizzical, she was visiting Winnipeg from a far, remote northern community, she was evidently disoriented and lost in the big city, and I got the sense that she really didn't know anybody here.
As for the suggestion that I call 911? I've listened in on many discussions here about how the police don't always respond well to sexual assault victims (especially sexual assault victims who are not white, as was the case with this young woman, and I'm pretty sure she was also drunk at the time). Plus, the interest the police specifically have in this instance begins and ends with whether or not criminal charges are going to be filed, and a sexual assault victim needs more support than that. That's why I looked for the sexual assault crisis line, because my thought is that they are well trained to deal with crisis counselling, helping the victim with the medical examination, helping deal with the police, what have you. If I could have a re-do of the situation, I would have had my cell phone on me, I would have called the sexual assault crisis line first, and let her speak to the counsellor. Of course, if she wants to press charges with the police, I have no problem with giving my contact information and telling the police everything I know about what happened.
Needless to say, if it's a smal child, I'd call 911 without question.
The only time I was in a situation like that where calling was an option, and would have mattered, I wasn't asked, and didn't call.
A woman ran up to my car in a residential street and said she needed to get away from a john who was assaulting her. I did ask if she needed any help - not if she wanted me to call the cops - but she said no, and just wanted to be dropped off at a hotel.
It didn't even occur to me until we got there that to everyone in the vicinity I probably looked like a john myself. Then I got nervous and scared.
I'm sure there are people who who don't get involved because you can never tell if situations like that might go wrong. On another occasion I almost got attacked myself when I acted on something. It was only prevented because there happened to be a cop right there.
I love the idea of the fanny pack crisis kit, but I'm not sure how much one person can do alone. This sounds like a great idea for a non-profit organization, something like Guardian Angels. Imagine women roaming every city with these crisis packs searching out rape victims to help. You would need some type of uniform so be easily identifiable so that the rape victim will feel comforted and not afraid when the volunteers approach her. I was thinking pink jackets with matching pink berets. If this takes off, then maybe we could do something for male victims, too, like blue jackets and berets.