Last night I was riding home at around midnight, with a couple of friends.
On Parliament St, we passed a girl walking down the sidewalk. She was crying loudly, and was topless. Holding her arms across her breasts.
We stopped, and the female friend riding with us approached her to see if she was okay. Her face was puffy and starting to bruise, she’d been beaten up. I quickly gave her my t-shirt, which she took with a shy ‘thank you’. She told us that her boyfriend had beaten her up, and she was headed back home to him. We offered to call the police or an ambulance, but she turned us down. One of my friends offered to pay for her to take a cab to somewhere safe, somewhere not with the boyfriend. She refused, still crying, and wandered off into the night.
The female friend was concerned, wanting to follow her, but the other male friend and I suggested that it was wasted effort. We started to ride away, our friend suddenly annoyed with us for not forcing her to accept help.
A block later, we passed a police station. My friend ran inside to file a report. As we waited for her, the beaten-up girl walked past. An officer saw her and stopped her. The girl told him what happened, and an ambulance was called. We all made statements for a half hour or so, then went on our way home.
Apparently the boyfriend will be charged with assault regardless of whether she wants it enforced. Unfortunately I doubt it will make any difference to either of them. Probably completely futile.
I felt a bit silly, giving up a brand-new $50 t-shirt to her, but what can you do? I imagine the shame of being forced to walk topless must have been awful. So I’m glad I did it – hopefully it’s one bright point in her life at the moment, and shows that we’re not all assholes.