Two years ago, my friend's daughter was molested.
I was at the birthday party where much of this occurred. I met this man. I met his wife. I met his children. I didn't get any sort of creepy vibe off of him. Not a single internal alarm bell sounded. He was nice and normal and there with his own children who seemed perfectly nice and normal as well.
And he molested a little girl.
At the child's birthday party I was attending with my son.
Intellectually I understand that I did nothing wrong in this situation. We were at a little boy's birthday party. I didn't KNOW that those little girls needed to be protected. I didn't know they needed to be rescued.
If I had known, I would have done something.
Of course I would have.
Anyone would have.
Everyone stepped in and did the right thing and this bad person is in jail and this sweet girl is being supported by her friends and family and is growing up to be good and strong and brave.
But I still feel guilty.
For being there and not doing anything.
I was there and I didn't do anything and I can't believe this thing happened to this person I love.
In August, a very bad thing happened to my best friend.
I didn't do anything wrong.
Intellectually, I understand that.
Just as I positively understand that SHE didn't do anything wrong.
The person who did something wrong was the man who raped her.
But I was there. I was there and I met that bartender and I told her I thought he was cute and I left her alone with him and nothing about him seemed off and I was never for a second worried about her until it was way to late to be worried.
I sat down in a booth to call a friend and fifteen minutes later she was covered in blood and white as a ghost.
And I know I didn't do anything WRONG.
I know that.
But I was there and I didn't do anything and I can't believe this thing happened to this person I love.
Everything you learn about bad guys leaves you with the expectation that you'll be able to tell who they are.
Something about them won't add up.
They'll leave you feeling creepy.
They'll LOOK like bad guys.
They'll ACT like bad guys.
The bad guys don't always look or act like bad guys.
I have been riddled by anxiety.
I'm mad at that man and then I'm so ANGRY at our society and I'm mad at the detective who asked me, during my interview, "Does she do this often?"
And I was dumbstruck.
"Do what? Get raped?"
Fuck you, detective guy.
I'm really scared.
And then over all of that I feel stupid because I have no business feeling that anxious and mad and scared when I'm sitting here whole and my friends are sitting next to me broken.
Bad things can happen right in front of you and not only did you not do anything to stop it, you didn't KNOW that anything needed to be done.
I didn't know that anything needed to be done and I know that's not my fault and I know I didn't do anything wrong but that is absolutely terrifying.