My friend and I were out for a late lunch the other week, and there was a woman in her thirties not ten feet away from us. She was dressed nicely, her hair and makeup were done—everything appeared to be in order. However, as she moved forward in the line, it was then that we noticed her arms. All along both arms from shoulder to elbow there were bruises in different stages of healing, with most of them being along the inner, medial aspect of her arms. This was not an accidental pattern of injury. There is no way that those bruises could have been the result of a one time fall. And if she had fallen, it’s unlikely that both arms would have been bruised so symmetrically.
My friend and I looked at each other. We both agreed that the markings had to be the result of violence. The woman walked off. She appeared to be alone but still, neither one of us said or did anything.
Here’s a few statistics I try to keep in my head:
-One in eight women will develop breast cancer.
-One in five women will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives.
-One in three women will develop ischemic heart disease.
At the time, I didn’t know what to do. I did not want to embarrass or anger her by a comment on her appearance. I also felt somewhat at a loss for words as I don’t even know the names of any of the local women’s shelters or support hotlines. It can be frustrating to deal with these types of situations, but I still should have at least said something to her. Ultimately, everyone makes their own choices in life, but at least if I had drawn her attention back to the issue, it might have been the start of a decision to change her situation.
For the rest of that day, I felt pretty bad about the situation. Although it’s becoming more of a distant memory now, my inaction still bothers me. At the same time, I know that it is pointless and ineffective to keep dwelling on the incident. But really, what kind of doctor sees someone in need, and then does nothing? I was again reminded of that afternoon when I ran across this little gem the other day: “But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help—how can God’s love be in that person?” 1 John 4: 17
The best I can do now is to determine how I could have better handled the situation. For starters, I think a simple, “Are you okay?” would have done nicely. That way if she didn’t want to talk about it, it gives her an easy exit. At the same time, hopefully it doesn’t come across as judgmental. And a little research on local shelters is definitely in order.
On a much lighter note, today I ran 3.27 miles—which is a new record for me. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to add another .25 miles as I had kind of backed off a little on my workouts this past week, but I did it!
I don't know if you can appreciate this from the picture or not, but see those shower curtain rings? Those are actually binder rings, like from an office supply store. This apartment is wacky!