How Can We Walk Away From This?

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The following story from the book Small Miracles is told by Greg O'Leary:

I was walking down a dimly lit street one evening when I heard muffled screams coming from behind a clump of bushes. I panicked when I realized I was hearing sounds of a terrible struggle: frantic scuffling, the tearing of fabric. Only yards from me, a woman was being attacked. Should I get involved? I was frightened for my own safety. Shouldn't I just run to the nearest phone and call the police?

The girl's cries were growing weaker. How could I walk away from this? No, I finally resolved, I could not turn my back on this unknown woman, even if it meant risking my own life. I am not a brave man, nor am I athletic. I don't know where I found the moral courage but once I had finally resolved to help the girl, I became transformed. I ran behind the bushes and pulled the assailant off the woman. We wrestled for a few minutes until the attacker jumped up and escaped. I scrambled upright and approached the girl, who was crouched behind a tree, sobbing in the darkness. I could sense her trembling shock.

Not wanting to frighten her further, I spoke from a distance. "It's OK," I said soothingly. "The man ran away. You're safe now."

There was a long pause and then I heard her words, uttered in wonder, "Dad, is that you?" And then, from behind the tree, stepped my youngest daughter Katherine.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Like Mr. O'Leary, we may stumble upon, or become aware of, a woman or child who is in danger. If we choose to turn a deaf ear toward a soul crying out for help, it is no different than walking away from our own daughter at her moment of need.

Like the man in this story, let us have the moral courage to step forward and resolve to help.

For more information on how you can help, call 472-8007.

Special thanks to Strawberry resident Darrell Floyd for sharing this story with us.

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