No More Standing By


A couple of months back, I was dancing at a club in Montreal. I was having a lot of fun that night. That was before I arrived at the club and witnessed a horrible act of violence/sexual assault. I had arrived to the club around 12 a.m., and had been dancing for about an hour, when suddenly a couple of people stopped. I was wondering why, and soon enough, the most despicable act took place. A man lifted a woman in the air, as you would see on one of those wrestling shows in arenas. He lifted her with all his force, and threw her to the ground!

For about thirty seconds, the woman was on the ground, paralyzed, and nobody was doing anything to help her. As a matter of fact, the attacker’s friends, were laughing, kicking her without shame. I was so shocked, all I could do was look at this scene in confusion. I couldn’t believe I was seeing such an atrocious act, taking place here in Montreal. When reflecting on this event, I always feel guilt, and wish I had done something to help this poor woman. Especially after hearing the beginning of the story, that resulted in the attack being done. The attacker was sexually harassing the woman the entire night, and she kept rejecting his requests to dance with him. That is when he forced himself on the woman. Soon after he was pushed back. He decided to react with violence.

I don’t let myself stand around when violence is taking place anymore. This event woke me up and I have already lived through two occasions to practice non-violence. The first time was two months ago, when two kids were fighting on the bus. Everybody was watching them hurt each other, and I stood up and separated them. A month earlier, a drunk girl was begging her friends to delete a picture of her they had uploaded to social media. They stubbornly made fun of her and played a game of cat and mouse, making their friend run around trying to catch the phone. I was walking by, so I stopped to talk to her friends, and convince them what they were doing was wrong. They listened to my suggestions and even apologized to their friend.

N.B. The name of the club was omitted, and the original title of this story modified in accordance with IHH’s commitment to protect the identities of individuals and private establishments.