Charles Ramsey, the man who rushed to a woman he heard screaming for help, is a hero. Ramsey is full of personality and gave an unintentionally entertaining interview, but he is definitely a hero for taking action when he saw a woman needing help.
Believe it or not, getting involved isn’t an easy thing to do. In many rough neighborhoods there is a street code to mind your own business. You may have heard the phrase “snitches get stitches.” It can be dangerous to intervene in a domestic dispute or any disturbance you see on the street. We all like to think that as good people we would naturally jump right in to help a person. I know from experience that sometimes fear is hard to overcome. I believe that I’m a good, caring and law-abiding person. But several years ago when I should have helped, I was too afraid to do the right thing.
I lived in an apartment where the walls were thin. A couple lived above me. When they first moved in they were very lovey dovey. It was cute. He was a army man and she a Chinese woman who barely spoke English. Increasingly, he began to lose his temper and yell at her more often. Their arguments happened more often. One night, they were arguing heavily. Usually she didn’t say much, but this time she kept saying she wanted to go back to China because he wasn’t treating her right. That’s when I heard a huge thud. And more thuds and her crying and pleading with him to stop hitting, hurting her.
I knew I should call the police. I had the phone in my hand. But, I didn’t call. I knew the way the apartment was situated that the only person who could hear what was happening was me. I was a petite young woman, living alone. I was afraid that I would become a target of this violent man, too. As much as I wanted to help this woman, self preservation and fear overruled human decency. Later, I tried to find opportunities to slip her a 211 card from the United Way to give her a way to get help. Because of the language barrier, I could only pray she would understand what to do. For several weeks he didn’t leave her alone and my opportunity to slip her the information never came. One day I came home from work and they had quickly packed up and moved.
I still regret that I didn’t help someone so desperately in need. That’s why I admire Charles Ramsey. He rose to the occasion and ultimately saved three women and a child. He was a blessing and I hope he is blessed in return.
There have been so many awful cases of women dying because of domestic violence in North Carolina recently and probably so many more that haven’t reached the news. Here are ways to help:
- InterAct of Wake County
- 211 (United Way information and referral service)