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As I watched Maria’s story on the Today Show this morning, I couldn’t help but remember other stories where bystanders did just that, stand by and watch someone get hurt without helping. In Maria’s case the “bystanders” were professionals, transit workers who did call whomever for help, but who did nothing else as she was grabbed and forced back down the NY subway steps to be raped on the platform.

Maria took the case to court and this week lost in trial. Yes, the transit workers did what was in the “manual”, but no, I have to agree with Maria, they didn’t do all they could have to help, at least from the description presented via her story. She wasn’t looking for the attendant in the booth to actually leave and help, but if they could have at least used the loud speaker  to let the guy known he was spotted and help was on the way!

It was heartbreaking to listen to her story. At one point she had made it to the top of the steps, saw the attendent and thought help and the end of her terror was in sight. Unless we’ve experienced this ourselves, how can we even imagine how it felt to have hope leave as quickly as it came, as you are once again dragged down and assaulted?

There was another show on recently (can’t remember which one) that did an experiment, showing an Hispanic man being “beaten” and as the camera’s rolled we watched who did or didn’t help. Most didn’t help, but a few did (including a petite woman!), so maybe there is a ray of hope in all that “can’t believe they didn’t help” reaction.

I wish I could expect that the NY Transit Authority takes another look at their procedures, even though they won this case. And not only NY, but any and all public entities throughout the country. We can at least attempt to improve that, everyone’s personal conscious as to what they would do is up to them. Thanks Maria, for sharing your story, it took guts and did indeed make an impact.

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