Don’t Be a Bystander

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From the NY Times/AP (here):

The police believe as many as a dozen people watched a 15-year-old girl being beaten and gang-raped outside her high school homecoming dance but did not report it. One man is in custody in connection with the assault, but the police say as many as six others raped the girl over two hours Friday night outside Richmond High School [in California]. The victim remained hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Manuel Ortega, 19, was arrested and is being held on $800,000 bail on suspicion of rape and robbery. He is not a student at the school.

A gang rape over 2 hours with allegedly dozen people watching?  It is appalling.  “I would never stand by …” is my first reaction to this news item, but remember the story of  Kitty Genovese?  I would like to think that if I had been outside Richmond High School, I would have tried to stop the rape, but do any of us know for sure how we would act?  Would I risk my own safety to help someone else?  I hope I would not be a bystander, but I cannot be sure.  After all, don’t I — don’t all of us — stand by in the face of other injustices, wrongs, crimes?

-Bridget Crawford

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