By Dwight Hobbes
A twenty-six-year old woman was raped and beaten this summer in a St. Paul apartment building hallway. Then she was raped again – by barbaric social conditions so stifling that she was ashamed, still weeks later, and therefore had not confided in her mother that the attack took place. Where she comes from, in Somalia, she's not a person who was victimized, but an object that has been ruined. A twenty-six-year old woman was raped and beaten this summer in a St. Paul apartment building hallway. Then she was raped again – by barbaric social conditions so stifling that she was ashamed, still weeks later, and therefore had not confided in her mother that the attack took place. Where she comes from, in Somalia, she's not a person who was victimized, but an object that has been ruined.
Fact is, it was conditioning that abetted the young lady's rape and assault to begin with. While she fought like hell to keep Rage Ibrahim, 25, off her, it's right there on the videotape that several folk poked their heads out the door and either watched the attack or just went back inside. It started as early as 1: 20a.m. St. Paul Police were not summoned to the scene until nearly ninety minutes later. And that wasn't in response to a rape call; it was someone reporting drunken behavior in the hallway.
Video footage shows five to ten people, men and women, looking out their doors or starting to walk down the hallway before retreating as the assault occurred. The victim knocked on a door at one point, begging anyone inside to call the cops. A man at that apartment told police that he did not open the door or look out, but that he dialed 911.
Hogwash: those calls are all recorded and archived and there's no record of his call. He's ready to lie about it, so he knows damned good and well that what he did – rather, what he didn't do – was wrong. Another piece of the footage shows one person poking her nose out into the hall probably three times. She can be nosey enough to watch, but not nosey enough to pick up the damn phone. And then there's footage of someone walking up, watching what's going on, then turning and putting up the hood of his sweatshirt as he blithely went about his business.
This clearly is not something that can be blamed on any country's culture, and seems to be a universal thing. For instance, we still remember the 1964 death of Catherine "Kitty" Genovese – a white New York City woman who was stabbed to death near her home in the Kew Gardens section of Queens, New York – while people stood around and looked on. Indeed, the circumstances of her murder and the apathy of her neighbors were reported two weeks later and prompted investigation into the so-called psychological phenomenon now known as the bystander effect or "Genovese syndrome." The Jodie Foster film The Accused, about a rape that took place in a bar, is all the more appalling in that patrons actually clapped and cheered while Foster's character was spread-eagled on a pinball machine and gang-raped. What truly turns the stomach, though, is that it was based very closely on an incident that happened in a Boston pool hall.
The objectification of females remains perhaps the most mystifying testament to man's inhumanity to woman.
Minnesota has a Good Samaritan law that makes it a petty misdemeanor not to give reasonable help to a person in danger of "grave physical harm." The bad news is that St. Paul police never did jack about pursuing charges against witnesses in this case. Supposedly the burden of proof was too high, as authorities would have to prove that witnesses knew the woman was in grave danger. If they didn't know, dammit, why the hell were they so engrossed in gawking at this man climbing all over this woman and violating her? Not much point having the law if you're not going to enforce it.
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