Posted by: Dan | October 28, 2007

5. What Would You Do?

There is a fellow in my neighbourhood that most everybody knows. He’s a cheerful fellow and he tends to make others feel cheerful as well. He busks for change in the nicer parts of downtown and always has a song, or a joke, or a witty comment at hand. Granted, he’s always hustling, but he tends to make you feel good about being hustled.

Lately, however, I have been learning more about another side that this fellow has. I’ve always suspected that he was a ‘runner’ for some of the drug dealers in the neighbourhood (the roller blades are a bit of a giveaway) and this suspicion was recently confirmed. However, the way in which that information was confirmed bothered me a great deal.

I happen to be friends with a young woman who used to be very actively addicted to crack (thank God, she now has over a year of clean time). When she was jonzing, the fellow whom I have been discussing, would often find her and lead her to his hook-ups so that she could score what she needed. However, on two occasions, instead of leading her to dealers, he led her into traps and handed her over to men who raped her and beat her.

After the first assault, she reported what had happened to the police. The police, seeing that she was addicted to crack, accused her of being a prostitute (which she was not), and told her that sometimes clients got rough (which was not what had happened to her and which, by the way, is not okay anyway), and then they asked her if she was sure that she wasn’t “asking for it.” Needless to say, the cops made her feel like a piece of shit and then took no further action. Of course, she did learn one thing: that cops only deepen the trauma, and so after the second assault she did not file a report.

Anyway, all of that leads to the situation I am in now. Because here’s the thing: this cheerful fellow, who also handed my friend over to be raped, happens to be a fellow that I see on a regular basis. In light of what I now know, how am I to respond to him (especially knowing that the police won’t be any help in this situation)? What would you do? Next time he passes you and wants to talk, or sing a song, or whatever, how do you think you, as a Christian, should respond to him?

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