Community Education at the mall
At a department store I was involved in a 30 minute fortuitous discussion on the seriousness of sexual assault and stalking. While in the store I heard a woman screaming “Leave me alone!, You’re embarrassing me!, Please go!, and It’s over!” I turned to my right and saw three security guards pulling and pushing a twenty something year old male out the doors of the store as the woman continued screaming at him. The security guards stood outside the store preventing the male from re-entering as the male shouted threats of injury and cursed at them. The woman stood alone for several minutes in the store. I approached her and ask if there is anything I can do to help. As she proceeded to talk, 6 other people gathered around. The woman indicated that she and this male had been dating for several months, she wanted to discontinue the relationship, but he wanted to continue dating and get engaged to be married.
I informed her that I worked at CALCASA, what CALCASA does and that I could give her several telephone numbers of local crisis centers that could provide services (e.g. advocacy, emergency protective orders). The young woman indicated that she did not need that type of help; after all she has not been raped or battered. Then she proceeded to describe what he has done:
- One night he drove her to an isolated area in the county and would not drive back to the city until she had sex with him.
- He got drunk at a night club, pushed her to the ground and pulled her by her ankles out of the club across the parking lot and into his vehicle.
- He sits outside of her house, college classes and job for several hours a day watching her.
Once the woman disclosed this information; there began a intense discussion by the 6 customers regarding what she should do. I was shocked that no one blamed the young lady. The group placed the blame at the feet of the guy. The discussion covered reporting to law enforcement, safety planning, her well-being and a super duper “butt kicking” of the guy. The young lady did not make a report when law enforcement arrived. One customer indicated that she came to the store for a sale but left with information to provide to her students; she teaches 11th grade English.