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How much is Abuse Worth to You? November 2, 2006

Posted by earthlingconcerned in Uncategorized.
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There is and should always be little reason to doubt that abuse of any kind is a bad thing. Whether it’s physical, sexual or substance abuse, it should be avoided at all costs. I am thankful that my life has been relatively free from all of the above. But this entry is about something that I was recently made part of. Something that made me think about scale, of social standings and the general disorder of things. Here is my story.

I was waiting for the same street car that always takes me to work, listening to the same music, breathing the same air, when someone new came my way. It was a lady, unkempt and tired looking. My first instinct was to believe that she was homeless and would subsequently ask me for money. abuse.JPGShe did. Her voice was shaky and on the verge of tears when she did, “My boyfriend just beat me, do you have any money so I can get on the GO train to get home?” I looked at her as she pointed to her partially swollen eye. I noticed scratches on her hands and realized I couldn’t simply ignore this call for help. So I quickly thought about what I had in my pocket. I had $33.00 in my wallet. This was enough money for her to get anywhere she wanted and then some. I looked down the street for my own street car, as if an answer lay therein, before reaching into my pockets. “I can give you $3.00,” I said this and gave her the money before continuing, “you should tell the police about this.” She replied, “I’m too scared that he’ll hit me again, thank you.” Then walked away from whence she came.

So what made this strangers suffering worth $3.00 to me? I’m not quite sure I can answer the question completely but I know I had to have some money for lunch, I knew I had to have some money for more TTC tokens, but most of all, I just wasn’t sure who she was. In the same way that I often hesitate to give money to those on the streets because of a social order imprinted into my psyche that there’s a chance the money will be used for drugs, or alcohol, or any number of other vices that keep the cycle of neglect going. But shouldn’t this have been different? There were physical and emotional signs of abuse found in her appeal. $3.00 was about half of what she needed for the ticket home if she was being honest. I am part of the world and the world is a part of me. I have a fairly good understanding of the suffering that takes place on this planet on a daily basis but know that if I become to preoccupied with it, it will tear me apart. The horrible nature of my own self is this, I have to remain ignorant of many of these things. I can’t save the world with the wave of my wand in the same way that Rome wasn’t built in a day. So there I was, on my way to work, doing my own thing, when I was confronted with a potential victim of physical abuse and I responded. Why $3.00? Subconsciously, I must have known that when I stepped foot on that street car, I would never have to see her again.

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Comments»

1. Cameron - November 8, 2006

Hey T-bag,

That’s a rough situation. I think the reason you hesitated to give her more than $3.00 is because the limits people are willing to go to support their habits. For instance, if she was a serious substance abuser, she may have given herself the black eye because she knows it’s an effective way to extract money from people.

And, of course, there is what you said. You’ll never see her again. You’re not responsible for her. But at the same time, if that were you in that desperate situation, you would hope someone would help you, even if they’re not required to. And if she’s telling the truth, there is the issue of empathy. She has just been beaten up by someone she probably trusted. That’s a terrible situation to be in. One I can’t even imagine.


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