was out and about in downtown Phoenix the other morning, enjoying the beautiful weather as I was headed to a meeting. As I was walking, I noticed a couple walking slowly, and at some moments even stopping. Now, yes, I agree this was not questionable behavior but for some reason it caught my attention. Maybe I was drawn to the couple, because seconds earlier, I noticed the woman walking alone while the man briskly approached.
Of course, I was walking with headphones in my ear blasting my daily praise and worship playlist. But as I got closer to the couple, I turned off my music. Don’t go and jump to conclusions, I am not a stalker nor am I a nosey (noosy, if you’re from back east) person, but I began to get concerned.
At this point, I was coming up on a metro station (it’s Phoenix’s rail line) so I began to linger, since I had all this extra time. No, I didn’t, but you’ll soon understand where I am going with this.
I immediately became concerned. I began to witness this young woman, who appeared to be in her early 20’s, exhibit a fear that was so familiar. This man was yelling. Now this wasn’t a yell like if you were to call out the name of your friend that you see across the street, but the yell that was loud enough for others to hear but with a hard and forceful ‘speaking out loud’ tone. I couldn’t really hear ‘what’ he was saying, but I could tell she was uncomfortable.
Boy did I recognize this behavior. It is that behavior that says,
‘I hope no one notices him yelling at me’;
‘I wish I could just walk away’;
‘he won’t stop talking’;
‘I really want to cry’;
‘I don’t know what he’ll do next’;
‘I feel so hurt’;
‘Please leave me alone’.
Of course, by now there are a few others who have noticed this couple. A few men are watching with a hard but cautious stand. A few women witnessing with a, ‘I am so sorry for her’ posture. But me, I am standing with both, but thinking I wish I had kick ass fighting skills because I would go ask her if she is ok or if she needs some help.
But here is where I must be transparent…I really wasn’t thinking of helping her. Yes, if I were able to approach them, and somehow help her get away from him today, yeah, I would be helping her. But that wasn’t what was going through my mind. What I was really thinking, was that I wanted to kick his ass. LIKE REALLY kick his ass.
Ha, I know that basics of fighting. But geesh I haven’t fought since elementary school. And then it wasn’t to win, it was simply to keep my butt from getting beat up. And I would have never ever thought of fighting a boy/man. However, when I was in school, if there was ever a fight required with a boy, I had plenty of cousins who were boys that I could call. Heck, I had some cousins who are girls that could probably take on a boy fight. But today, I wish I had all those skills myself.
As I peeked over at this couple-the girl occasionally getting up from the seat and walking away, but to only return to the seat after he raised his voice-I couldn’t stop thinking about how badly he needed his ass whooped. What kind of man feels empowered by intimidating a woman? (I asked myself this all the time when I was experiencing it) So, because I don’t have these ‘kick ass’ fighting skills, I knew it was only a limited number of things I could do. So, as I stood there, while repeating in my head over and over, ‘you better not hit her’, I knew all I could do was go find help if things started to change.
So as many of us peered over at the couple, we did so doing nothing but watching. Soon the couple got onto the rail, other walked on as well, and I turned and walked away. I felt powerless because I didn’t do anything. I was one of those people we often talk about when we read these stories in the paper or on the internet, that get criticized for standing by and letting a woman get victimized. BUT WHAT WAS I TO DO? What could I have done? I thought about grabbing that police officer that walked the opposite direction. But I feared for a more serious reaction later by the man towards the women if the police would be unable to intervene.
I can only hope that I, we gave this young woman some comfort, as we stood there watching, in knowing that we would intervene if things got worse. I pray she finds a way out of this relationship, safely. I also pray that my presence was served properly by God’s divine to intervene in something that could have been different in my absence.
Certainly, know if you are reading this and you are experiencing a relationship of victimization and/or abuse of any kind, there are a lot of us waiting to help in any way we can, as well there are resources. Please seek help. You can start by dialing 211 from your cell for local resources. I am praying for all of you.
But I continue to ask myself, “what would I have done if I did have these ‘kick ass’ fighting skills. Would I have intervened during his ‘raised voice’ talks with this young woman, or would I have still stood by watching and waiting for the big moment? And my internal thoughts are, I would have at least had the confidence to stop and ask her if she was OK and if she needed any help. This way should that bully of a man responded with aggression or a physical response, I could have responded accordingly…. I would have pulled out a can of ‘whoop ass’.