About Me

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Douglas, Alaska, United States
I have lived in Alaska since 1978, having come to Juneau as a Jesuit Volunteer. I fell in love with Alaska and now live on Douglas Island with my husband and two dogs.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What Would You Have Done?

Today I went to Alaskan Dames and Gents, our local (wonderful) consignment store to drop off a bunch of clothes that are now too big for me (!).

While I was putting my items on hangars and steaming them, there was a couple across the room talking.  He was putting together a table, I guess to try to sell it.  She had a laundry basket of clothes.  She was looking at the consignment form and said that she was really stressed out.  He asked what she was doing. She said she couldn't figure the form out.  He said: "That's because you're stupid."  She leaned on the table he was working on, and he raised his voice and said: "Don't touch that!  Don't touch anything!".  "I'm not!", she said.  "Go do your clothes or something", he said.  She said: "I don't want to - I'm too stressed out."  He said: "That's because you're lazy.  When we get home, I'm gonna kick your ass."

Another woman who was hanging up clothes came over and said to the woman, "Can I help you with anything?"  The man said: "You mean with the table?"  The other woman said: "No, I was asking her if I could help with the clothes."  The man said: "Do you work here?"  and she said: "No, but if she needs help, I can give her a hand."  He said: "Well, if you don't work here, she doesn't want your help."

The young woman took her basket of clothes outside, and the man finished the table and left.

I observed this, and was tempted to intervene, but the other woman did it first and was rebuffed.  I was worried about inflaming the situation more by intervening as well.

I have been thinking about that young woman all afternoon and evening.  I have been praying for her, for her safety, and for a conversion of heart for the young man who was so angry and bullying.

Alaska has the highest rate of domestic violence and sexual assault per capita in the United States.  There is a new program initiated by our Governor, Sean Parnell, called Alaska Men Choose Respect.  It is a program designed to raise awareness and prevention through education.

Please support programs in your community to raise awareness and to prevent domestic violence.  Please let your friends know that real men choose respect.  Please do what you can to help women break the cycle of domestic violence.  Please pray for the victims.  Please pray for the offenders.  Please do what you can to end violence against women.

I didn't do enough today.  I wish I had.

What would you have done?

                 iStock_000005556613Small (2)-01

                                     Image: Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault


  1. Oh Paula... that makes me sad, it is heartbreaking. I will keep them - and you - in my prayers.

    I'm sure you have turned this over in your mind and heart many times, it is always hard to know what to do, when to intervene. And you witnessed the intervention of that other woman... and its sad result.

    God bless you Paula and prayers for that woman and her husband. God help us all.

  2. That's a tough one because I wouldn't want to worsen the situation either. I didn't know that about Alaska. Prayers are helpful. I wish more women had the option to leave those situations.

  3. My heart is breaking. A man who says things like that in public wouldn't care anything about what you had to say and perhaps your words would cause her to get even a bigger 'ass kicking'....I am furious as I am typing this...Only prayer can help this situation, which I will be doing for them and for you too after having your heart and mind assaulted by this sad event. I really do believe that, unfortunately, there is nothing that you could have done that would have helped. xo

  4. So heartbreaking. One suggestion I learned in school that has been shown to work, is to carry cards with information about local shelters and other services available to women in abusive situations. It is best if they are business card size so they can be easily hidden. If you can somehow just hand it to her without his noticing, then at least she knows how to get help. You can leave them in public restrooms or other places that women may go. It seems kind of weak, but you are right, intervening can make it much worse for the victim and can put you at risk too.

  5. I would have called the police. He has threatened her publicly with physical violence.

    Please don't think I think you did something wrong, or neglected to do right.

    It's just my personality is such I would have gone outside with my cell and called 911. I have done this when I have overheard parents say things to kids at supermarkets like 'I am going to smack your face."

  6. Oh that is such a hard call...I don't know what I would of done.
    Your prayers and thoughtfulness are heartfelt...
    Just wanted to thank you for visiting me the other day and for the note on the Easter bread. I am going to try it...hopefully all will turn out and i can post my results on my blog. Hugs to you.....you are a very kind soul! xoxoxox


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