Letter: Don’t sit on sidelines

Last Saturday, my plans were ruined because the police broke up the party I was going to just as I arrived. Sad and frustrated about the night’s failure, my friends and I wandered down to the Georgetown/GW shuttle bus to head home. As we waited, a visibly drunk and stumbling woman came walking down the hill accompanied by two men, one of who had his arm wrapped around her shoulders, but there was something unnatural and uncomfortable about the scene. As they drew nearer, another much older drunk man approached the girl and tried to take her arm and lead her away from the other two men. It seemed like she didn’t want to go with any of them. Finally, the older man gave up and stumbled off. I could hear the girl and two guys discussing where they were going or, rather, where she wanted to go, and there was some confusion about it. In any case, I was worried about this woman. She was drunk and seemed unaware of what was happening to her. On an impulse, I crossed into the middle of the street, where the woman and men were talking to a cab driver and simply asked, “Are you all right?”

The woman immediately responded by coming near to me and saying in a quiet voice, “These guys make me really uncomfortable.”
I said, “I know,” and suggested she walk with me. As we walked back across the street together, the two men left quickly down Wisconsin Avenue. All the while the woman kept asking me, “How did you know?”

It was scary and empowering all in the same moment. Watching the scene unfold before me made it obvious that something was not right, and my friends noted this also. But instead of watching and wondering, we did something and maybe helped that woman avoid the unthinkable. Please, please, please take a stand, even if you are unsure whether or not the situation calls for it. It is far better to have ensured someone’s safety than to have done nothing at all.

-A. Chace Wessling

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