Madeline Tesolin - You Will Not Regret Helping
For the past while, I've been writing, but not uploading…writing about writers block and writing about nothingness.
Until today, today, I have something to write about.
Around 9pm, I was leaving the library, walking out to a so called “community” area. While walking around waiting for my ride, I noticed a bit of frantic movement in a small group of people. This area is filled with all kinds; couples, old people, young people, families and some other students like me. I noticed one girl amongst a group of maybe 5 boys, being hit over the head and being pushed and shoved and grabbed. 2-3 of those boys do nothing but walk a few feet behind. One however, hardly sheltering her but at least (and I mean the very least) walking her away from him. I continued observing while walking and at that point I realized I'm going absolutely no where but their direction.
By the time I was a few feet away, I realized, I wasn't the only one a few feet away and I definitely was not the only one who witnessed this poor girl get attacked. So I approached the group; the girl sitting on a bench, standing next to her was the violent boy, a “friend” sitting beside her and the 2-3 stranglers kinda just walking around (you suck by the way). Immediately I ask, “Are you okay?”. The majority of the answer came from the group while she remained silent, not yet raising her head and clutching her finger with her hand (which was red and she was missing a few fake nails). So, I asked a different question, “What happened?”. Well, doesn't the violent boy try to answer again, but I make eye contact with the girl and she says, “I’m fine, it’s okay”. I figured, she's uncomfortable, and opening up to a stranger is scary and she is probably going to be around these boys again…I’m not getting any answers here.
Story or no story, time to give the violent one a piece of mind. I go through the typical “you cannot hit women” but I continue to press that it is not okay to harm anyone, and no matter what, violence WILL NEVER solve a problem. He looked at me for the first two words of my sentence, after that, he turns, head down and refuses to make eye contact. I continue, I say that the reason he wont look me in the eye is guilt, and embarrassment and that he should feel both those things and never lay a finger on anyone again. I wanted to get the girl alone but she was not willing. After a few comments, he says it…”she hit me first”. So I ask, “what made her hit you?”. I look at her, for a sign of relief, for a sign that maybe she feel like she can win, and the corners of her lips pulled up, and his face dropped yet again and it was silent. I wasn't getting very far with this interaction, so I started to step away, down the steps filled of strangers and towards the road. He shouts out to me “Thanks, thanks a lot” and some smart remarks. What do I see while I look over my shoulder? He’s angry at her again, she gets up to try and HUG HIM, to COMFORT him, I now feel sick. He refuses her, pushing her back onto the bench, as if she did anything wrong, as if he deserves sympathy because he is embarrassed that I approached him, that he got caught. He would take it out on her, because he made a scene and I intervened. So, she put herself and her feelings and her side of the story away, simply because he's angry again.
They started walking to a more secluded area, for those who know Mississauga well, they walked towards the semi circle stage by the washrooms at celebration square. I knew it wasn't finished. Refusing to leave without some answers, I walked over. The only one who was visible was one friend, who seemed to not want trouble and who seemed the most approachable. I asked him if I could talk to him. The violent boy started getting rowdy, he tried pushing him until this young man calmed him down and got him to walk away. So I asked, is the violent boy and the girl together? They are, they're in grade 12 and are from TLKSS. I asked more questions, is he always violent? Is this normal? Is she okay?…etc. He says he doesn't know them too well, but they don't usually fight (this guy was siting on the fence and very cautious). He tried to defend the violent boy. Like this, “Its exams and end of the year, there is just some drama right now between them, they're stressed out and going to different schools”. While I listened and for a second tried to understand, I realized that those factors had nothing to do with hitting her. Those are factors of life yes, but that is no excuse and in no way a justification to hurt someone. I told him that. He was very repetitive and didn't help me out much more than that, the girl stayed hidden and the boy with the yellow shirt, the violent boy, was watching.
I left it with this, I told the young boy that if it happened again, he has to do something, that he needs to say something and intervene. I told him what happened was not acceptable and that I hope that the couple goes separate ways.
I am still very unsettled. I am unsettled by the unwilling amount of adults who did nothing, the unwilling amount of other women who did nothing and the amount of unwilling youth who did nothing, the bystanders and the “friends”. I am personally and emotionally connected to such issues however, seeing something like this, should make EVERYONE jump in. I’m disappointed that nothing else was done and I’m disappointed at the lack of safety that girl must have felt in a community environment. All I’m saying is that no one should be a bystander. Stop being too afraid to be another victim and start being someones hero. You can save, impact and change a life forever, by simply acknowledging something, by saying something, by intervening. By standing there doing nothing, what makes you sick to see will only be seen more.