I was biking home tonight with some friends at about 2 AM when we passed a young girl under a bridge in a somewhat deserted area of a rougher part of town. She was crying and had blood all over her face, neck, and shirt. We were biking pretty fast so at first we went right by her but then when we realized what we just biked past we went back. Being vague about the details here, it was a younger girl, under 16, minority, who’s relative had beaten her up several minutes before we found her (we know this because the girl told us right when we found her). The girl was from a couple hundred miles away, visiting. The relative was in sight down the path a little way, walking toward us, and the girl was scared that she was going to get beaten again. There were three of us not-so-small guys and there didn’t seem to be any weapons involved so we stayed between them while we called the police. The relative kept saying “It’s a family thing, stay out of it” to us, and insisting that they girl go home. Eventually the relative just ran off 5 minutes before the police arrived (nice – beat the crap out of her and then run off and leave her with strangers in that part of town at 2 AM). My life just isn’t this dramatic so the whole situation felt strange and foreign.
I have no idea what it is like to be the victim, the suspect, or the police in that situation. Must be really hard for all three (tiresome for the police as well, which was the impression I got from them). On a lot of levels I’m happy to be ignorant of those perspectives, but ignorance never feels that good. I do wish I understood more.