You are known in your locality as a helpful, practical and resourceful person. People consult you whenever they have a tricky problem, confident that, not only will you find a solution, you will also help them implement that solution.
One evening, a young lady, a school teacher who lives alone in the apartment above yours, telephones you and requests you to visit her house at any time convenient to you to discuss a personal and extremely private matter. She requests you not to tell anybody that she has contacted you. You meet her an hour later.
She informs you that she was raped that afternoon in her house. She refuses to disclose the identity of the person who raped her, saying she doesn’t want to make a police complaint since that would involve a lot of unpleasant publicity. She only wants you to help her by making arrangements for a medical examination, and follow-up treatment if necessary, by any good, known gynaecologist who can be relied upon to keep the matter in strict confidence.
You immediately telephone a gynaecologist known to you, who agrees to see the young lady immediately at her clinic. You offer to drive the young lady to the clinic in your car. She agrees.
During the drive to the clinic, you gently counsel the young lady that she should report the matter to the police. You explain that the fact that most rapists are not punished in any way gives them and other men a clear signal that they can rape with impunity. You assure her that lifetime concealment of the identity of rape victims is legally mandatory and offer to get a friend, who is a senior lawyer who has handled many such cases, to represent her. She says that she needs some time to think over the matter.
After completing the medical examination, the gynaecologist privately tells you that it is clearly a case of rape, definitely not consensual sex. She advises the young lady to file a police complaint. She also assures her that there will be no publicity. The young lady agrees to file a police complaint, provided your lawyer friend agrees to represent her.
You immediately telephone the lawyer, who agrees to see the young lady immediately at her office.
On the way to the lawyer’s office, the young lady informs you that she had been raped by your brother who lives in the apartment above hers.
Which of the following are you most likely to do?
a. Tell the young lady that she should meet the lawyer and file the police complaint, and assure her that you will continue to support her.
b. Tell the young lady that she should meet the lawyer and file the police complaint, explain that it would be delicate for you to be involved in this matter, and remain neutral from then on.
c. Tell the young lady that she should meet the lawyer and file the police complaint, explain that it would be delicate for you to be involved in this matter, and then actively assist your brother to get good legal help.
d. Request the young lady not to meet the lawyer and not to file the police complaint, and assure her that you will get your brother to make amends in the form of a generous cash settlement.
Please do not send me your answer. Please keep the answer to yourself.
If your honest answer is ‘a’ or ‘b’, good! If your honest answer is ‘c’ or ‘d’, ask yourself why you changed your mind.
Comments are welcome!
Other posts on Humanism and Sexual Harassment:
If a girl is being sexually harassed …
Thwarting sexual harassers, Reducing sexual harassment