Turning a Blind Eye: Who is Really Responsible for Metro Rape?
Oh no, Metro… I am so ashamed! Yes, at WMATA! Yes, at Washington, D.C.! Yes, at a community that permitted it to happen!
And of myself — for the unknowing role that I as a citizen, rider and native Washingtonian, played in this.
On Monday, May 23, a man pulled a knife on a woman riding Metro, forced her to the back of the car and sexually assaulted her. The attacker, John Hicks, was arrested that day. And you see, I believe if any of us turned a blind eye as it happened, all of us are guilty of the Blind Eye that enables society to breed these predators and the apathy that permits non-intervention. Such depraved indifference is amoral and appalling, if not illegal.
My lame (and it is that) excuse is that I was too busy observing nitpicky or picayune misbehavior committed by riders and WMATA personnel, e.g., messy mealing and mutts, bathroom barriers, bossy board members, pathetic parenting, and poop and pee (see photos) to realize that the absence of Metro Transit Police (MTP) would precede a RAPE?!
This young lady possibly someone’s wife, mother, sister, aunt or cousin—and most assuredly someone’s daughter—trusted us for her safety. All of us. Without knowing the details (I was not an eyewitness and if I were I’d never tell it), I believe all of us have failed to honor that trust. We have bred a culture of ignorance, irrational selfishness and nonchalance. We know nothing about our neighbors, behave as though they don’t matter unless they are helpful to us, and otherwise couldn’t care less.
“It’s okay if you get hit by a bus as long as you don’t splatter up my Ferragamo’s.”
When a rapist feels it is safe to force a victim past potential intervention and comfortably carries out the act in the presence of others, we—not he—have gone too far. Our society created him, enabled him. We have to correct ourselves.
To quote Edmund Burke, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
What do we do?
It starts with dialogue. The opening question: can you comfortably relax with your daughter or loved one on a Metro train or elsewhere in this community?
If the answer is yes, there’s no need for discussion. If the answer is no. The question that follows is “What are we going to do to fix it?”
Please wake up the humane in your humanity! Rally some unity in your community! Muster up some love for yourself and show it by strengthening your neighbors. Stand by each other in times of need.
Stand up! We have been sitting by quietly much too long.